• (740) 245-7484

Directed Study Senior Research

COURSE SYLLABUS
Spring 2014
Senior Research Directed Study
NSC 49903
School of Science

Professor:  Dr. Linda Sigismondi
Phone:      740 245-7484
Email:       lindas@rio.edu
Office:      Kidd Hall 100B
Office Hours: MWF 2:30 - 3:20, Th 2:30 - 4:20, others by appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Each student will be involved in an inquiry-based research project that involves lab or field data collection, statistical analysis, interpretation of results and presentation of findings in oral and/or written format.

PREREQUISITES: Senior standing with a major/minor in Biology, Chemistry, or Environmental Science

CREDIT HOURS:  3

TEXTBOOK AND OTHER REQUIRED MATERIALS:

  • Lab notebook for recording research activities and raw data
  • Instructor approved safety glasses
  • Internet access
  • Access to computer with word processing (MS Word, Pages), Spreadsheet (Excel, Numbers) and presentation (PowerPoint, Keynote) software

PROGRAM OUTCOMES: The following outcomes have been adopted for the environmental science degree program for which this course is required:

  • Explain, using appropriate terminology, the major concepts in environmental science including major environmental problems, their causes, consequences, and potential solutions.
  • Explain the fundamentals of scientific inquiry, interpret the results of scientific investigations, and draw reasonable conclusions from data.
  • Explain, using appropriate terminology, the basic principles of biology, chemistry, and geology.
  • Explain, using appropriate terminology, the basic principles of the social sciences including economics, government and sociology.
  • Explain, using appropriate terminology, the major environmental laws in the United States.
  • Function successfully in an environmental science internship.


COURSE OUTCOMES:  The following outcomes have been adopted for this course.  All outcomes listed below have direct relevance to course material.  Upon completion of this course students are expected to:

  • Be able to design and carry out a lab or field-based research project.
  • Be able to analyze data from a research project using spreadsheets and appropriate statistics.
  • Be able to present research findings in oral and written form.

GRADING POLICIES//EXPECTATIONS:

Grade Calculation:

Progress Reports
50 points
Research Design
50 points
Research Performance
50 points
Formal Paper
 200 points
Presentation (Extra)
25 - 50 points
TOTAL
 350 points

    
A = 93-100%, A- = 90-92, B+ = 88-89, B = 83-87%, B- = 80-82, C+ = 78-79,
C = 73-77%, C- = 70-72, D+ = 68-69, D = 63-67%, D- =60-62, F =below 60%

Progress Reports:  The student is expected to meet with the instructor a minimum of 5 times during the semester at 2-3 week intervals.  Each progress visit is awarded a maximum of 10 points.  During the meetings, the student should discuss his or her progress with the instructor and plans for future steps.  Students should bring their lab notebooks showing a log of their activity and data collection.  Students may also bring relevant journal articles or other resources for discussion or examples of their data analysis.   The student may also bring sections of his or her final paper for feedback.

Research Design:  The student should prepare a research proposal that indicates the question(s) being investigated, the research hypotheses, independent and dependent variables, treatments (including control), replicates, and equipment/space needs.  It is possible, even likely, that plans will change as preliminary data is obtained.  The student should prepare an initial proposal by the 2nd progress meeting and a final proposal by midterm.  The final points awarded will be determined based on the accuracy and complexity of the design.

Research Performance:  The student will be graded on his or her performance of the research.  Factors that will be considered are accuracy and timeliness of the work as well as the complexity of the project.

Parameter
Excellent
Very Good
Average
Fair
Poor
Research Design
Excellent
 
50   48  46
Very Good
 
44  42  40 
Average
Few problems
38  36
Several Problems
 
34  30  26
Major Problems
 
20  10  0
Research Performance
Well Executed, accurate, timely
 
50   48  46
Well Executed, 1-2 minor problems
 
44  42  40 
Average Technique, several minor problems
38  36
Many problems with technique.
 
34  30  26
Sloppy, many problems
 
20  10  0
 

 

Formal Paper: The paper is a final summary of your work as it might appear in a peer-reviewed publication.  The paper should include the sections below.

  • Abstract - one - two paragraphs that concisely state the purpose, hypothesis, overview of method, major results, and conclusion.  Write this after writing the rest of the paper but put in the beginning of the paper.
  • Introduction - This section should be 2-3 pages.  It should review the literature for background information on the subject and end with a statement of purpose (or question) and hypothesis for research.
  • Methods - This section describes step-by-step what you did.   It also includes equipment and materials used (in paragraph form, not list) including brand names and model numbers where needed.  Photos of equipment are desirable.  The procedure includes how you gathered the data and what statistics you did on the data (but not the data itself or the statistical results).
  • Results – Begins with one or more paragraphs summarizing the data and referring to appropriate summary graphs and tables.  Data analysis should include basics statistics such as means (or medians) and standard deviations.  Results should also include comparison statistics such as Chi-Square, Students t-test, or ANOVA as appropriate for the data.  All tables and figures should be numbered and have appropriate descriptions.  For example:

Figure 1: Line graph comparing mean weights of mayflies grown at temperatures between 5 – 25 C.

This section should include only summary data.  Complete data sets and statistical analyses should be placed in appendices.

  • Discussion - Restate purpose and hypothesis, indicate your conclusions based on your results (including whether you accept or reject hypothesis) and discuss implications and ideas for future research.
  • References - list all works cited in paper and only works cited in paper in appropriate scientific format.

Citations: Any information taken from outside sources (journals, webpages, even personal communications) must be cited or it is considered plagiarism.  Even if you paraphrase, you still use a citation.  If you use a direct quote, and do so sparingly, the sentence(s) must be indented and in quotation marks as well as cited.  Examples of citations are:

Smith (1992) defines the LC50 as …..   OR
 
An LC50 for aquatic invertebrates is the….(Smith 1992).
 

Due Dates:  The introduction and methods sections should be submitted by midterm.  They will be graded and returned.  The complete paper, including revisions of the introduction and methods, should be submitted by 4:00 PM Thursday of finals week.  Students are welcome to submit all or parts of the paper sooner.

Presentation:  A poster presentation or seminar presentation at a departmental seminar or regional conference is strongly encouraged and will positively contribute to the grade in the course.

Parameter
Excellent
Good
Fair
Poor
Absent
Abstract
Purpose
Hypothesis
Method
Result
Conclusion
All parts present, accurate and clear
 
15  14
1 part missing, inaccurate or unclear
 
13  12
2 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
11 10
3 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
9  8  7
Substantially
Incomplete
 
6  4  2  0
Introduction
Background (with citations)
Questions
Hypothesis
 
All parts present, accurate and clear
 
40  38  36
1 part missing, inaccurate or unclear
 
34  32
2 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
30  28
3 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
26  24  22
Substantially incomplete
 
20 16 12
8  4  0
Methods
Set-up (photos)
Equipment
Procedure
Replicates
Stats. Used
All parts present, accurate and clear
 
40  38  36
1 part missing, inaccurate or unclear
 
34  32
2 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
30  28
3 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
26  24
Substantially incomplete
 
20 16 12
8  4  0
Results
Sum. Paragraph
Sum. tables
Sum. graphs
Basic Stats
Other Stats
All parts present, accurate and clear
 
40  38  36
1 part missing, inaccurate or unclear
 
34  32
2 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
30  28
3 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
26  24
Substantially incomplete
 
20 16 12
8  4  0
Discussion
Purpose
Hypothesis
Interpretation
Implications
Further Research
All parts present, accurate and clear
 
40  38  36
1 part missing, inaccurate or unclear
 
34  32
2 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
30  28
3 parts missing, inaccurate, or unclear
 
26  24
Substantially incomplete
 
20 16 12
8  4  0
References
20 or more used in paper, No format problems
15  14
15-19 used
Few or no format problems
13  12
10-14 used, no or some format problems
11  10
5-9 used,
no or some format issues
9  8  7
Substantially incomplete or major errors
5  3  0
Citations
Excellent use of references
Proper
Format
10
Minor problems in use or format
9
Some problems in use or format
8
Frequent problems in use or format
7  6
Few or no citations used
0
Presentation
Content
Clarity
Graphics
Clear & concise;
Smoothly presented
25  24  23
Clear and concise, minor problems
 
22  21  20
Average presentation skill
19  18 
Marked breaks in presentation
 
17  15  13
Looks like a poor dress rehearsal
 
11  8  5  0

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
COURSE POLICIES
 

PLAGIARISM Plagiarism refers to copying and passing off another’s work as one’s own.  It includes copying information from published sources such as books, journals and webpages without appropriate citations.  It also includes copying the work of another student.  All students in the class are expected to do their own work.  Two (or more) students should not submit the same paper even if they worked together.  Plagiarized work will receive a zero. 

LATE PAPERS – Students are expected to turn in all labs, activities and assignments on time.  Occasionally, it may be necessary to take a lab or activity home to finish.  If so, the completed lab/activity is to be turned in the next class day.  Any late material will lose 10% per class day.

 

UNIVERSITY POLICIES:

ADA POLICY: If a student wishes to be identified as having a physical, mental, or learning disability, that may or may not require reasonable accommodation(s), he/she must register with the Office of Accessibility.  These registered students should identify themselves to their instructors and provide a written statement from the Accessibility Office that indicates the appropriate accommodations.  The process of a student self-proclaiming the need for accommodation should occur as early in the semester as possible.  The Office of Accessibility is located in Rhodes Hall, Room 116, University of Rio Grande, (740) 245-7339.

FERPA:  The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are committed to fully respecting and protecting the rights of students under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  These rights generally include the right to inspect, review and seek amendment to the student's education records and the right to provide written consent before personally identifiable information from education records is disclosed.  Under FERPA, students have the right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures to comply with FERPA.  Please see the Student Records Confidentiality/ Rights Under FERPA section of the Student Handbook for details and more information.

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY:  Standard university policies, as described in the Student Handbook, apply.

WITHDRAWAL: Refer to Student Handbook

 

Last Updated:  January 11, 2014