ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology


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Rybarczyk, Brian, Incorporating primary literature into science learning.  Pp159-.  Handbook of College Science Teaching, Joel J. Mintzes, William H. Leonard - 2006 

  • This article is a valuable resource for several reasons.  First, it described some of the challenges that face students when they use primary literature.  I could identify with some of these challenges but others were new to me.  Second, the authors present some criteria for selecting articles for the classroom which I found useful in my searches for useful articles.  Third, the authors described several techniques for incorporating readings into the curriculum so that the reading assignments appear to be part of the course and not a "caboose" on the syllabus.  Finally the authors advised that an instructor should "gradually incorporate aspects of literature into a course rather that forcing students to read an entire article at once"  and in this way reduce or  prevent frustration. 


Weintraub, Jory.  Teaching students to evaluate the accuracy of science information on the internet.  Handbook of College Science Teaching, Joel J. Mintzes, William H. Leonard - 2006  (p261-). 

  • This article documents that students preferentially use the internet as an information source and then discusses the problem of accuracy on the internet.  The authors then describe a strategy for teaching students to evaluate the quality of information gathered from the internet.


Berzonsky, Wm a  and Katherine Richardson.  Referencing Science: Teaching undergraduates to identify validate and utilize peer reviewed online literature.  J of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Education 37:8- (2008) 



Choe,SW and Drennan, PM.  Analyzing scientific literature using a JIGSAW group activity. J Coll Sci Teaching 30(5):328-330. 


§  This article presents a strategy where students work in groups to prepare and present a part of a journal article.  The group combines efforts to write summary of the article and then all class groups exchange members/information in typical Jigsaw strategy.  There is no assessment data in this article. 


Regassa LB and Morrison-Shelter A (2009). Student learning in a project-based molecular biology course"J Coll Sci Teaching : July: 58-67. 

This article examined how a project-based molecular biology course enhanced learning.  The teaching strategy per se did not interest me but I thought that the study was well designed and could be a good model for classroom research.  The authors used pre/post testing to measure learning gains, verified retention on exam questions, analyzed writing samples for synthesis knowledge and assessed gains in student confidence by surveying them at the beginning and end of the course.  This sounded like a fairly sophisticated and complex study to me but the reason that I like the article is that the authors described how they did everything and gave detailed rubrics for assessing synthesis knowledge, writing samples, application of knowledge and student confidence.


Tang BL and Gan YH (2004).  Preparing the senior or graduating student for graduate research.  Bioch and Molec Biol Educ 33(4):277-280.  

§  This article presents several strategies that acquaint  the graduate student with the format of the scientific literature and get them to think critically about experimental design. 


Pechenik, JA and Tashiro, JS (1992).  The graphing detective: an exercise in critical reading, experimental dewsign, & data analysis. American Biology Teacher, 54(7):432-35 Oct 1992 

§  This article presents a strategy for introducing the student to the data formats in journal articles and teaches them how to read and interpret data in tables and graphs.  It was a good model for this activity.  There was not assessment of learning presented in this article. 


McElroy, A R. and McNaughton, FC (1979).  A project-based approach to the use of biological literature. J Biol Educ 13(1):52-57.   

§  This was a longitudinal study that taught students to use library efficiently, search for articles effectively, and read articles productively.  The goal of the strategy was to change work habits and attitudes of students with regard to the scientific literature.  The authors assessed the success of the strategy 2 years later by surveying students for frequency of use of school library, frequency of use of others libraries, confidence in ability to research topic in literature, …etc


Pall, M.  (2000). The value of scientific peer reviewed literature in a general education science course The Am Biol Teacher 62(4):256-258.

§  This article describes a strategy where students write a term paper comparing an article in peer-reviewed literature with popular article on same subject


Roecker, L (2007). Introducing student to the scientific literature J Chem. Educ 84(8):1380-1384.

§  This article describes a strategy where students answer questions to 4 pre-selected articles in Qualitative analysis course. 


Engel, N. Stekolschik G, Mendive F, Barzarni S. (1996) Students bibliographic research:competition enhances results Biochem Educ 24(3)143-  

§  This article reports a strategy where students work in groups of 5-7 to do literature searches, select appropriate papers, extract information and elaborate questions for term paper over the course of a semester


Chisman, JK. (1996) Introducing college students to scientific literature and library J Coll Sci Teaching 28(1):39-42.   

§  This article describes a strategy where students wrote 3-5 papers describing how scientific research did or did not follow scientific method.   The instructor paired chapters from popular science books with articles from peer-reviewed literature


Ordamn A.  Scientific literature and literacy. A Course of Practical Skills for Undergraduate Science Majors.   J. Chem Educ. 73(8): 753 

§  This article describes course where students learn scientific writing, speaking, literature searching , career planning and other skills.  There was not assessment of learning objectives presented in this article. 

Peer reviewed journal literature ( 

§  This website has a nice table of criteria that that a student could use to discriminate between primary sources, secondary sources and "other" sources.   


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