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Improving Scientific Research and Writing Skills through Peer Review and Empirical Group Learning

    Authors: Emilee Senkevitch1, Ann C. Smith1, Gili Marbach-Ad2, Wenxia Song1,*
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; 2: Department of Teaching & Learning Center, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 December 2011
    • Supplemental material available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: 1133A Microbiology Building, Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Phone: 301- 405-7552. Fax: 301-314-9489. E-mail: [email protected]..
    • Copyright © 2011 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2011 vol. 12 no. 2 157-165. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.319
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    Abstract:

    Here we describe a semester-long, multipart activity called “Read and wRite to reveal the Research process” (R) that was designed to teach students the elements of a scientific research paper. We implemented R in an advanced immunology course. In R, we paralleled the activities of reading, discussion, and presentation of relevant immunology work from primary research papers with student writing, discussion, and presentation of their own lab findings. We used reading, discussing, and writing activities to introduce students to the rationale for basic components of a scientific research paper, the method of composing a scientific paper, and the applications of course content to scientific research. As a final part of R, students worked collaboratively to construct a Group Research Paper that reported on a hypothesis-driven research project, followed by a peer review activity that mimicked the last stage of the scientific publishing process. Assessment of student learning revealed a statistically significant gain in student performance on writing in the style of a research paper from the start of the semester to the end of the semester.

Key Concept Ranking

Infection and Immunity
0.766434
Host-Pathogen Interactions
0.7265625
0.766434

References & Citations

1. Bloom BS 1984 Taxonomy of educational objectives Handbook 1: Cognitive domain Longman New York, New York
2. Cooper J 1990 Cooperative learning and college teaching: Tips from the trenches Teaching Professor 4 1 2
3. Crowe AC, Dirks AC, Wenderoth MP 2008 Biology in bloom: implementing Bloom’s taxonomy to enhance student learning in biology CBE Life Sci Educ. 7 368 381 10.1187/cbe.08-05-0024 19047424 2592046 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.08-05-0024
4. Handlesman J, Miller S, Pfund C 2006 Scientific teaching W.H. Freeman Gordonsville, VA
5. Johnson DW, Johnson RT, Smith KA 1991 Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity ASHE-FRIC Higher Education Report No.4. School of Education and Human Development George Washington University Washington, D.C
6. Krishnamurthy T, C-J Lee, Henrichsen J, Carlo DJ, Stoudt TM, Robbins JB 1978 Characterization of the cross-reaction between type 19F(19) and 19A(57) pneumococcal capsular polysaccharides: Compositional analysis and immunological relation determined with rabbit typing antisera Infec. Immun 22 727 735
7. Marbach-Ad G, Briken V, Frauwirth K, Gao LY, Hutchenson S, Joseph S, et al 2007 A faculty team works to create content linkages among various courses to increase meaningful learning of targeted concepts of microbiology Life Sci. Edu. 6 155 162 10.1187/cbe.06-12-0212 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.06-12-0212
8. Marbach-Ad G, Briken V, El-Sayed N, Frauwirth K, Fredericksen B, Hutcheson S, et al 2009 Assessing student understanding of host pathogen interactions using a concept inventory JMBE 10 43 50 10.1128/jmbe.v10.98 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v10.98
9. Mayer RE 2002 Rote versus meaningful learning Theory into Practice 41 226 232 10.1207/s15430421tip4104_4 http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15430421tip4104_4
10. Maykut PS, Morehouse R 1994 Beginning qualitative research: A philosophical and practical guide Falmer Press Washington, DC
11. Paccani SR, Tonello F, Ghittoni R, Natale M, Muraro L, D’Elios MM, et al 2005 Anthrax toxins suppress T lymphocyte activation by disrupting antigen receptor signaling J Experim. Med. 201 325 331 10.1084/jem.20041557 http://dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20041557
12. Parent BA, Marbach-Ad G, Swanson KV, Smith AC 2010 Incorporating a literature-based learning approach into a lab course to increase student understanding Bioscene 36 34 40
13. Wiggins G, McTighe J 1998 Understanding by design Assoc. of Supervision and Curriculum Development Alexandria, VA
14. Wood WB 2009 Innovations in teaching undergraduate biology and why we need them Ann. Rev. Cell Develop. Biol. 25 93 112 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.24.110707.175306 http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.cellbio.24.110707.175306

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2011-12-01
2019-01-16

Abstract:

Here we describe a semester-long, multipart activity called “Read and wRite to reveal the Research process” (R) that was designed to teach students the elements of a scientific research paper. We implemented R in an advanced immunology course. In R, we paralleled the activities of reading, discussion, and presentation of relevant immunology work from primary research papers with student writing, discussion, and presentation of their own lab findings. We used reading, discussing, and writing activities to introduce students to the rationale for basic components of a scientific research paper, the method of composing a scientific paper, and the applications of course content to scientific research. As a final part of R, students worked collaboratively to construct a Group Research Paper that reported on a hypothesis-driven research project, followed by a peer review activity that mimicked the last stage of the scientific publishing process. Assessment of student learning revealed a statistically significant gain in student performance on writing in the style of a research paper from the start of the semester to the end of the semester.

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Figures

Image of FIG. 1

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FIG. 1

A flow chart for the three stages of R.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2011 vol. 12 no. 2 157-165. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.319
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Image of FIG. 2

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FIG. 2

Comparison of student writing during Stage 1 to student writing in Stage 3. Student performance (based upon Rubrics Appendix 7-9) on Stage 1 writing assignments: “Introduction,” “Methods/Results,” and “Discussion” were compared with student performance on the similar sections of the Stage 3 Group Research Report graded according to the same rubric (Appendix 14). Shown are average values and standard deviation (n = 27). The increase in student performance from Stage 1 activity to Stage 3 activity was statistically significant for the Introduction section ( < 0.001) and Discussion section ( < 0.05).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2011 vol. 12 no. 2 157-165. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.319
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