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Vision and Change Teacher-Recommended Collection: Beginning The Process of Science

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Description Collection Description
This collection will provide valuable resources to assist in having students complete undergraduate research projects. When students complete authentic research in the classroom they complete the CURE (classroom undergraduate survey of research experiences). The collection then begins with a peer feedback for students working in small groups. This will help the students realize the expectations of working in a group on the onset of the project and how they will be evaluated. Then the students learn about ethics in research. The next group of resources helps students read the literature. Then the students will be introduced to the process of peer-review. The students will learn what reviewers are looking for and how to peer-review. They will use the materials related to peer-review to understand expectations on the onset of completing the project.

How were the items in this collection used?
This collection introduces the process of science to students beginning with how to search for primary literature, how to read scientific literature, and how to peer-review the work of other students. This collection assisted me in feeling more comfortable in implementing undergraduate research in their courses. The collection helped my students beginning the process of science.

Who used this collection?
I used this collection in an undergraduate (300-level) course in Economic Botany (majors only). In the course students complete an authentic undergraduate research project. There were 20 students in the course. This could be done in multiple biology subjects.

Which of the V&C Core Concepts does this collection address?
Information Flow, Exchange, and Storage ('The growth and behavior of organisms are activated through the expression of genetic information in context.')
Depending on the project the students work on each concept could be included as a focus.

Which of the V&C Core Competencies and Disciplinary Practices does this collection address?
Ability to Apply the Process of Science ('Biology is evidence based and grounded in the formal practices of observation, experimentation, and hypothesis testing.')
This collection addresses the process of science including (1) group work, (2) literature review, (3) how to read literature, (4) peer-review process of science

Ability to Use Modeling and Simulation ('Biology focuses on the study of complex systems.')
The resources include many different science disciplines including biology & chemistry.

Ability to Understand the Relationship between Science and Society ('Biology is conducted in a societal context.')
Discussions of ethics and peer-review bring in a societal context of the process of science.

Please enter suggestions for colleagues.
I know it is a daunting task to have students engage in the process of science. There are many obstacles which make undergraduate classroom research experiences very time consuming. However, here is a collection of resources that might assist. I really value the peer-feedback resources, so students know that they will be held accountable for slacking by other group members. I attach a grading value to this as an incentive to be a productive group member. I’ve also including resources for specific literature searches, which can be adapted to your discipline, and how to read scientific literature. The students also need a lot of help with their writing. They will turn in very incomplete drafts to me, but if they know that their peers will be reading it and evaluating it, they work harder. So even before they write, I introduce them to the process of peer-review. They are thinking about what the reviewer is looking for before they write the first draft. The students will probably forget much of what I teach them, but hopefully this will help them understand the process of science. Another benefit would be for them to know to find and read scientific literature and advance their writing skills.

Type of Resource Annotated Collection
Format Multiple Formats
Sunshine Brosi, Frostburg State University
Grade/Age Levels Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14)
Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16)
Learning Time 2-3 hours
Language English
Type of Review Reviewed by Partner Organization

Resources in Collection
Click on any teaching resource's title for detailed information.
Web Site Links
CURE: Classroom Undergraduate Research Experiences Survey
This resource assist with pre- and post-module implementation for faculty members exposing undergraduates to authentic research experiences. From the website "The Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey grew out of a creative collaboration of faculty from Grinnell College, Hope College, Harvey Mudd College, and Wellesley College, funded by HHMI. The CURE may be used as a pretest-posttest or posttest-only survey to measure student experiences in "research-like" or other science courses."


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This collection contains quite a few resources I plan to use in the upcoming academic year. I teach a 400 level Micro class in which students design and carry out their own small research project. I will very likely use quite a few of these resources the next time I teach this class, especially the ethics article. Resources like the interactive website on reading primary literature and the article on teaching peer review systems will be used for my 100 and 200 level courses. 

—Terri Holzen, Mount Mary University

This collection provides an overview of the collaborative process through which primary research is communicated, by introducing peer reviewed literature.   The structure of a primary research article is introduced through a step by step on-line format, with a quiz following to assess understanding.   This would be an effective accompaniment to the introduction of reading primary research articles, especially for introductory level biology courses.   Resources explain the process of reviewing primary research and are especially useful for explaining how to go about reviewing someone else's work, whether research proposal or lab report.

—Christina Wilson-Bowers, Southwestern University

I was hoping to use the collection to improve student understanding of the process of science in an introductory biology course for majors.  Students conduct three research projects during the semester, culminating in a written research paper that is peer-reviewed prior to submission.  I find some of the resources in the collection to be quite helpful, including the peer feedback and how to read primary literature resources.  The other resources seem to be better-suited for higher level courses and/or more substantive research projects.

—Terry Derting, Murray State University

This collection has a nice combination of resources to aid a class research project. There are resources on how to read primary literature, how to reciew a paper as well as giving ethics and giving feedback to the research group. I am looking forward to using these resources in my undergraduate Biomechanics lab that has a research project on human subjects. 

—Lara Madison, Chadron State College

I use this collection to improve the success of independent group research conducted in my introductory human anatomy and physiology course. Students design a small research project to be conducted in Human A&P II; the proposed project is presented as a grant application to The Physiological Society, the research conducted, and the report written according to the Guide to Authors of a physiological journal of their choice.  Their peers review the "submitted" grant proposal and manuscript.  Resources in this collection inform assessment of student evaluation of their peers contribution to group work, their reflections on ethical conduct during the conduct and review of research, the use of primary literature when writing a scientific paper, and the process by which manuscript reviews are allocated.

—Andrea Phillott, FLAME University