Paper No. 262-6
Presentation Time: 2:55 PM
RESEARCH IN THE FIELD: PATHWAY TOWARDS PRODUCING GREAT SCIENCE, DEVELOPING GREAT SCIENTISTS
Research experiences in the field provide important formative experiences in the training of young geoscientists that provide opportunities for students to gain geologic competence, to become initiated into the “community of practice”, and to help build capacity in the geoscience workforce. The field setting provides a great opportunity for students to apply the “core” concepts and content acquired from the geoscience curriculum, to engage topics that are meaningful and relevant to the students’ professional development, to assume responsibility for and “ownership” of the research project, and to experience the excitement about making truly new discoveries. To optimize the field learning experience, here are some practical tips: 1) Clearly define the research goals, and make sure these are aligned with the capabilities of the students. 2) Select the right team; consider the academic preparation of the students, their personal interest in the project, and the diverse skills and experiences that students can bring to the project. 3) Make sure that students are well-prepared to undertake the research; academically, physically, emotionally, logistically. 4) Build a strong research team, such that all students have individual and group responsibilities. 5) Carefully design the research project so that tasks are scaffolded in sequence to refer to earlier assignments and anticipate future work. 6) Involve students in the planning of work priorities and logistics. 7) Set a professional standard by example, and demonstrate expected behaviors and research outcomes. 8) Plan for significant follow-on activities; analytical work, data analysis and representations, report writing; 9) Plan to have students communicate results; written reports, posters, presentations at meetings; 10) Utilize formative and summative assessments to monitor student progress, make adjustments to the research project, and to demonstrate successful attainment of goals. Field research can provide a fundamentally important step in the apprenticeship of students. Although time, resource, and labor intensive, field research programs by students can produce great science and great scientists. See the CUR-Cutting Edge website for more information: http://serc.carleton.edu/59764.