Engaging Students in Authentic Research in the Classroom

Report
Engaging Students in
Authentic Research in
the Classroom
May 2, 2013
Center for Teaching Excellence
Emily Grossnickle
Sarah Balcom
Dylan Selterman
What is Research?
“Process of creating new knowledge
--Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research
Compare to what Davis & Shade (2000) refer to as
Apprentice Work:
“Not making knowledge as much as
reporting the known”
Searching for
information
in libraries
and archives
Conducting
fieldwork
Theory
testing
Communicating
results
Creating
models
What is Research?
Performing
computations
Composing
creative
works
Surveying
and
interviewing
subjects
Ways in which students
can engage with research
1. Research-led: Learn about current
research
2. Research-tutored: Engage in
discussions about research
3. Research-oriented: Develop skills and
techniques
4. Research-based: Undertake research
--Jenkins and Healy (2000)
Why engage your students in research
and what might be stopping you?
Goals for your
students
Potential Barriers
Knowledge goals
Instructor/Instructional
Critical thinking goals
Student/Learning
Motivational goals
Pragmatic
Other
Other
Maryland Center for
Undergraduate Research
www.ugresearch.umd.edu
2100D McKeldin Library
Undergraduate research day
Database of projects
Resources for faculty and students
RESEARCH IN THE CLASSROOM:
EXAMPLES FROM MY ANSC
COURSES
Sarah Balcom, DVM, MS
Animal and Avian Sciences
2 May 2013
WHY I TEACH RESEARCH IN THE
CLASSROOM

Students don’t understand how to do it

Students don’t evaluate existing research well

It engages students

It develops skills for life-long learners
THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Encounter a
phenomenon that
cannot yet be
explained
Generate
specific
questions
Discover what is
already known
Share the results
-Papers
-Posters
-Oral presentations
Evaluate prior
research
Formulate a new area of
inquiry/hypothesis
Evaluate results
Conduct an
experiment
Consider design and
execution
1. LEARNING TO SEARCH THE MEDICAL
AND SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE

Asking the right questions

Generating good search terms

Using academic search engines

Sorting results
1. LEARNING TO SEARCH THE MEDICAL
AND SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE

Ex. ANSC 275- Introduction to Veterinary Medical
Science and Practice

Case discussion: Heartworm disease in dogs

Concept: Is it a good idea to keep dogs on year round
heartworm preventative?
Pros: Compliance, control of GI parasites, income for vet
 Cons: Cost to owner, possibility of the worms evolving resistance to
the dewormer


Research question: Is resistance to dewormers a problem
with canine heartworm disease?
2. FIELD METHODS IN CLASS

Skills learned

Data collection appropriate to the discipline

Not everything goes as planned

Revising and refining until you know how you need to make
your observations, collect your data, run your experiment,
etc.

The study design process
2. FIELD METHODS IN CLASS

Ex. “Epidemiology in action” class for ANSC 340- Health
Management of Animal populations

Flipped class: Pre-work about monitoring animal health, making
observations, basic epidemiology

Students designed means of measuring respiratory disease among
UMD students in Feb.

45 minutes (90 min course) to make observations



Groups of 5-6 students
6 different locations on campus
30 minutes to discuss



what worked
what didn’t work
results
2. FIELD METHODS IN CLASS
2. FIELD METHODS IN CLASS


Discussion of data and its collection, what to do
with results
Refine ideas on data collection

 incorporated into animal disease surveillance plan
(final project component)

another level on which to judge epidemiology
studies
3. ARTICLE CRITIQUES

Skills learned

Evaluation of authorship, content, format and style,
applicability of articles

Critical thinking

Writing
3. ARTICLE CRITIQUES

Ex. ANSC 250- Companion Animal Care and
Management
Groups evaluate a scientific or medical article using a
set of guided questions
 Discussion of some of the major points that came out
in the critiques

Study design
 Funding sources
 Assumptions, biases, and other pitfalls
 Usefulness of different types of resources for different
groups of people involved with comp aml care

3. ARTICLE CRITIQUES


Basis for selecting references for take-home final
exam scenarios
Same process used to evaluate our guest
speakers as well
4. CONDUCTING A MINI-RESEARCH
PROJECT

Ex. ANSC 225- Love me, Hate me, Use me, Save
me: Our conflicting views of animals.
Some students interested in conducting a short study
 Ethnographic interviews and participant
observations
 Coding for themes uncovered in the interviews
 Guidance from me in design, execution, and analysis
of the research

4. CONDUCTING A MINI-RESEARCH
PROJECT

Example: Why does hitting an animal on the
side of the road bother some people and not
bother others?
Study sample
 Question guide
 Analysis

CONCLUSIONS

It’s a lot of fun.

It certainly beats lecturing!

It takes planning.

Many students enjoy it.
Research in Undergraduate
Education
Dylan Selterman, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Courses & Format/Goals
 PSYC 221 – Social Psychology (S in P)

Large; blended; content + scholarly activities
 PSYC 334 – Interpersonal Relationships

Large; upper-level; content
 PSYC 420 – Social Psych Research Lab

Small; upper-level; student-led research
Psychology lab (420)
 Semester-long project
 2-hr lab sections run by TAs (2 hr lecture)
 Emphasis on replication


Eases burden on students & teachers
Plus extension (new variable)
 Content (broad) VS. Application (specific)



Focus on 1-2 key concepts to apply
1-3 sub-disciplines (faculty expertise)
Unlike graduate methods/stats courses
Issues & Concerns
 Time
 Resources (Qualtrics; Facebook)
 Class size
 Student ideas can be poor
 Most research fails
 Repeating content from previous courses
 Students struggle to communicate ideas
Strategies in other courses
 Scientific creativity & innovation
 Focus on pieces of the research process







Literature review; summary of findings
Scale creation (measures, items)
Discuss/debate, communicate findings
Propose new theories (MFT) & hypotheses
Propose new methods/studies
Peer review
Scientific writing (APA style)
 Popular media writing

Science of Relationships; In-Mind Magazine
Issues & Concerns
 Little previous education in the field

Emphasis on the basics
 Pushback from students

Difficulty & motivation
 Need strong TA support (GTA & UTA)
 Devote class time and extended office hours
for Q&A

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