Using Author Bylines and Concept Maps to Illustrate the Connectedness of Scientists †
Incorporating reading and discussing primary articles in undergraduate courses has been shown to enhance students’ learning, stimulate their interests in science, and retain them as science majors. While instructors diligently coach students to scrutinize every section in an article thoroughly and critically, the author byline is often overlooked. In this study, the author bylines of primary articles were used to illustrate the connectedness of scientists and the collaborative nature of science. First year college students first learned how to construct a concept map and used concept maps to connect 14 scientists with 14 primary articles that these scientists authored. In doing so, students visualized and understood science as human activity and science progresses as a community effort. Pre- and post-activity questionnaires were used to evaluate whether the activity objectives were met. Students further examined the structure and organization of a primary article after the activity and they were engaged in discussions such as how research ideas developed and evolved, the advantages and disadvantages of collaborative research, the ethics of authorships, graduate schools, and careers in science. Hopefully, perceiving the authors of primary articles as real people in a social network and science as the collaborative efforts may help students see themselves being a part of the scientific advancement and inspire them to pursue careers in science.
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