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Lopatto, D. (2004). Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE):First findings. Cell Biology Education, 3, 270–277.

Research Question: This study tests the “hypothesis that undergraduate research enhances the educational experience of science undergraduates, attracts and retains talented students to careers in science, and acts as a pathway for minority students into science careers.”

Assessment/relevance: This article is one of most cited articles supporting the inclusion of research activities in undergraduate science courses. The SURE survey has been used to assess the impact of the Genomics Education Partnership, a collaborative project that I’ve been involved with for the last three years.  In addition, I’d like to use the survey questions to develop a rubric for my study to assess the student experience of the authentic research projects.  The SURE questions are: Understanding of the research process, Readiness for more demanding research, Understanding how scientists work on real problems, Learning lab techniques, Learning to work independently, Skill in the interpretation of results, Ability to analyze data, Understanding how knowledge is constructed, Becoming part of the learning community, Ability to integrate theory and practice, Understanding primary literature, Assertions require supporting evidence, Understanding science, Understanding how scientists think, Self-confidence, Clarification of a career path, Skill in oral presentation, Skill in science writing, Learning ethical conduct.


Tanner, K. D. (2010). Order Matters: Using the 5E model toalign teaching with how people learn. CBE—Life Sciences Education 9, 159–164.

Research question: This article argues for the implementation of a learning cycle, specifically the 5E Model, in science course instruction.

Assessment/relevance:  I teach [or attempt to] my courses using the 5E Model, and this reference concisely states what it is and how it can be implemented. “Bybee and his BSCS colleagues described the 5E model as a “direct descendant of the Atkin and Karplus learning cycle” and suggested the following expanded sequence of key elements of an effective lesson: 1. Engagement 2. Exploration 3. Explanation 4. Elaboration 5. Evaluation. The 5E model is based on both a conceptual change model of learning and a constructivist view of learning. The former asserts that for conceptual learning and enduring understanding to occur, the learner must become aware of and dissatisfied with their prior ideas about a topic, become receptive to new ideas, and then integrate new information encountered in a classroom into their existing conceptual framework (Posner et al., 1982).


Thiry, H. & Laursen, S. L. (2009).  Student outcomes from undergraduate research: An

evaluation of three academic year and summer undergraduate research programs in

the life sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, 2007-2008.

Research Question: This report presents an evaluation of the undergraduate research experiences at the University of Colorado.  The study questions were: 1. What gains do students make from their research experiences? 2. Are students satisfied with their research experience, and with the training and support provided by their programs? 3. What critical elements of the research experience can be identified from interview responses (e.g. authenticity of experience, mentoring, etc.), and how do these contribute to student gains? 4. For each of these questions, can any differences in the UR experience and its outcomes be discerned for different student groups (if numbers permit): experienced vs. inexperienced UR participants, male vs. female participants, and white vs. minority participants? 5. What can be suggested for further refinement of the program itself, and for further evaluation studies?”

Assessment/relevance:  The impact of an undergraduate research experience on minority students is relevant to my study since I teach at a Hispanic Serving Institution.  The undergraduate research experience is this study is a summer internship. This report supports the work by Lopatto about the positive impact of research experiences, and suggests that the medium of the research experience [summer workshop vs. imbedded in a course] doesn’t affects the gains of students knowledge, but does suggest that an internship format can be a negative experience if the mentor is not receptive/supportive of the student.


Study Design

Brownell, S. E., Kloser, M, J., Fukami, T., & Shavelson, R. (2012).  Undergraduate biology lab courses: comparing the impact of traditionally based “cookbook” and authentic research-based courses on student lab experiences.  Journal of College Science Teaching, 41, 36-45.

Research question: This article clearly states its research question in a side bar: “This study compares a cookbook-type laboratory course to a research based undergraduate biology laboratory course at a Research 1 institution.”  This study provides a different perspective than most current evaluations as it investigates a course that is intentionally designed to incorporate hallmarks of authentic biological research.”  

Assessment/relevance: I selected this source  because clearly states the Study Design: This study used mixed methods including student surveys, classroom observations, and student interviews to determine the impact of the two lab conditions on students’ affect toward authentic biological research. As a thorough qualitative analysis of interviews and observations is beyond the scope of this paper, the results present only the pre- and post-course survey data.” Methods are categorized: Course content and organization, Course teaching teams.


Methods for data collection and analysis, and interpretation of the results:

Smith, M. K., & Knight, J. K. (2012). Using the Genetics Concept Assessment to document persistent conceptual difficulties in undergraduate genetics courses. Genetics, 191, 21–32.

Research question: This article argues for the use of the Genetics Concept Assessment rubric as a means to “probe common conceptual difficulties among genetics students.”

Assessment/relevance: Michael Smith is one of the leading researchers in studying genetics misconceptions in students taking genetics courses.  He was one of the authors who developed the Genetics Concept Assessment.  I knew about the rubric, and this paper caused me to change my project to “Do genomics research projects promote student understanding of genetics concepts?”   The full GCA can be obtained by emailing SMK.


Wu, J. (2009). Linking assessment questions to a research article to stimulate self-directed learning and develop high-order cognitive skills in an undergraduate module of molecular

Genetics.  CBE—Life Sciences Education 8, 283–290.

Research Question: This study presents results fromanovel method for open-book

continuous assessment (CA)... The aim was to encourage students to learn beyond the textbook by challenging students with questions linked to a research article. Research articles closelyrelated to lecture contents were selected and released to students before the CA for perusal. CA questions were set at three different levels to assess conceptual understanding, application, and synthesis.”

Assessment/relevance: I selected this article for both its assessment results and as a model for developing a study design, data collection and assessment.  I want to integrate research articles in the authentic research projects, and this study provides guidance on how to develop questions: “Questions were set at three levels, namely, conceptual understanding, applications, and synthesis, which required different cognitive skills to answer. The question at level 1 was straightforward, testing students’ scientific literacy and conceptual understanding. The question at level 2 was focused on the students’ ability to link their prior knowledge or textbook information to a current developing area, testing their ability to correlate different components with one another and understand scientific reasoning. The question at level 3 was linked to daily life. Students had to integrate their existing knowledge and apply the information in a creative way.” The study also provides a scoring rubric for the student performance, and an “alignment of assessment questions with desired learning outcomes.”  The author’s presentation of data is a very useful guide.




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