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Vardar-Ulu, Didem



Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Wellesley College

106 Central Street

Wellesley, MA 02481


My Biology Scholars Research Project 


Title: What should the prerequisites for an introductory interdisciplinary course be?

Investigating the relative importance of competence in analytical reasoning skills and prior biology and chemistry knowledge in student achievement in an introductory biochemistry course.

 Why do I care? Please visit my Context, problem page.              

What is the focus of your investigation?

Under this educational research project, I would like to take on a systematic analysis of the students' existing course work (consisting of all educational assignments, tests, surveys, interviews, etc. that are already a part of the lecture and/or lab component of the course) and their prior preparation as dictated by the current prerequisites for the courses to determine the relative importance of competence in analytical reasoning skills (including both informal and formal logic) and prior biology and chemistry knowledge in student achievement in both of the introductory biochemistry courses (CHEM222 and CHEM221/328) offered by the Chemistry Department in Wellesley College.  This investigation is designed as the first phase of a comprehensive study in developing more effective interdisciplinary courses across the science curriculum.  The two immediate expected outcomes for this investigation are:

1) An objective assessment of the validity of the current prerequisites for the courses under investigation with possible suggestions for reconsideration.

2) A preliminary analysis of the correlations between skills (both content and reasoning) that students come in with to the courses and the skills (both content and reasoning) that they leave the course with within the existing teaching and learning style employed in the course.  


What resources/references have you found helpful?

Please visit my Bibliography page.       

What is your approach and/or what evidence will you gather?

Please visit my Findings, methods page to see how my project is unraveling.

What results have emerged ?

Please visit my Discussion page for more detailed analysis and thoughts on the emerging data and please feel free to share any of your thoughts and comments.

What information may be found in your Appendices?

Please visit my Appendices page for additional material.  


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