2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)
Paper No. 179-4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM-2:30 PM

DESIGNING SUCCESSFUL RESEARCH EXPERIENCES

MANDUCA, Cathryn A., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057, cmanduca@carleton.edu

There are now examples of a wide variety successful approaches to engaging students of all ages in research. What kinds of considerations lead to the design of successful programs? There are four components to a complete research experience: 1) defining the research problem; 2) developing the research plan or experiment design; 3) collecting and interpreting data; and 4) communicating results. However, within this basic framework, successful experiences can be structured in a wide variety of ways allowing for flexibility in the time allotted for the experience, the resources needed, and the preparation of the students. A key consideration in making design decision are the specific goals the instructor has for the students’ learning.

Work with the Keck Geology Consortium suggests that four strategies can enhance the likelihood of successful student experiences: 1) students are well-prepared for research experience (project design must match student preparation); 2) timelines and events are structured to move students through intermediate goals to project completion in the time available; 3) support for the emotional, financial, academic and technical challenges of a research project is in place; 4) strong communications between students and instructor set clear expectations and enable mid-course corrections in the program or project design. Creating a research culture for the participants or embedding a project in an existing research culture can also assist students in completing a successful research experience. Outstanding research experiences can take place in a wide variety of settings and serve a wide variety of student and faculty needs if projects are designed with these ideas in mind.

2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 179
Inspiring First-Rate Research through Undergraduate Teaching: A Special Session in Honor of John B. Reid Jr.
Colorado Convention Center: 601
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 36, No. 5, p. 417

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