Document Type

Conference Paper


This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, 2018.


This paper reports analysis of phenomenological interviews conducted with eight women studying engineering, all Arabic speakers and practicing Muslims, and all from the countries of Oman and Kuwait. Data were collected as part of a larger study of women’s experiences learning engineering in institutions of higher education in Poland, Portugal, and Ireland. The eight women contributing data for the analysis for this paper were all enrolled on engineering degree programs in Dublin, Ireland, where they studied together. The larger study involves conducting longitudinal data via interviews with 47 women around Europe to understand what their undergraduate experiences in STEM have been like. Analysis of the first round of interviews (n=47) collected from women in Poland (n=12), Portugal (n=11), and Ireland (n=24) indicated that women from the Middle East (n=8) were having a different experiences than the other women. The latter group included women born in the country where they enrolled for higher education (n=32) as well as international students who had experienced the secondary school system in the country where they later registered for higher education (n=6). Table 1 provides information about all participants. The eight participants whose interviews were analysed for this study are shown in boldface.

Table 1: Participants in overall sample (participants in this study designated in bold) Interview location Studying in home country International with schooling in host country International without schooling in host country Total Number Ireland 10 6 8 24 Poland 12 0 0 12 Portugal 10 0 1 11 Total 32 6 9 47 For this paper, we explore experiences described by women from the Middle East. We collected their first interviews, reviewed them, and considered the content using interpretive phenomenological methods. Then we designed this study and conducted follow-up interviews with them during their third year of study. We use these interviews to report here. Alongside the activity of analysing and reporting findings of that subset of data, we continued collecting interviews with them during their (current) fourth year.