Research projects in lab courses

Organizing idea

We have created authentic science research experiences within introductory courses. Instead of students working on standard labs, they work on 6-week original research projects where they

  • Design an experiment / observations
  • Collect and analyze data 
  • Ask what the next set of questions will be
  • Write / present / poster

—The goal is to have more students engaged in science, rather than just the few that work in faculty labs.

Good Practices

These "Course-Based Undergrad Research" (CBUR) can be organized in various ways:

The closest to the traditional one-on-one mentored experience is a course where students plan independent research projects. Slightly less independent, but potentially reaching more students is coopting a whole class into a faculty lab or research center and assigning them exploratory research. Linked projects can include design tasks with clients or service learing. A way to reach the largest number of students is to provide time for students to design a research extension to inquiry labs.

Key is that the students know there is and external audience or overarching purpose of these projects. Either there is a poster session at the end of the projects or the questions contribute to active research program, e.g. materials research, bio-renewables. This changes the dynamic, raises the level of the class.

Courses Involved
Category of CBUR Course Resources
Student Reseach, done in a course Astro 344L Astronomy Lab
  Bio 354L Animal Behavior
  Mteor 301 General Meterology
  Bio 423L Developmental Biology Lab 
Class coopted into faculty lab or research center Bio 313L Genetics
  Chem 201L Advanced General Chemistry
Class-wide linked projects Geol 100L The Earth lab
  Chem 334L Organic chemistry
  Astr 125L Astronomy Bazaar
  Astr 346 Intro to Astrophysics
Student extensions of inquiry labs Bio 256L Human physiology