ECOL195C section 101: Research Methods in Biology: how to get the most out of your research experience

Attachment Size
ECOL195C Syllabus Fall2020.pdf153.99 KB 153.99 KB

[NEW CLASS]  [Fully online, asynchronous]

For any STEM major, a university like the UA offers many opportunities to be involved in actual scientific research. But how do you become involved, and how do you make the most of this experience? In this course you will learn about the rules of academia, how to perform rigorous research, how to do statistical analyses in R, and how to graph and present your results to peers and others. You will meet a group of fellow research-active undergraduate students, and we will also discuss possible next steps, such as how to apply for graduate school. This course is intended to be taken alongside your research (we will help you find a research position in the first week if you do not have one yet), so that the data you analyze and present in class will come from your ongoing work.

This course requires that you concurrently do, or have in the previous semester, performed research in a biology lab. It does not matter whether you did that research as Independent Study or Directed Research credit, as part of a thesis or capstone, or as a UBRP or FWS student, or a paid research assistant. If in doubt, please contact the instructor to ask about the suitability of your research experience. 

This class is suitable for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and can be taken multiple times. Each time you take the class you will gain deeper insights into not only your research topic, but also into data science & statistical techniques and other project- and job-relevant skills.

The class will be fully online, with written assignments and quizzes via D2L and discussion boards via Slack. If you have any questions about the course modalities or how it will work, please email the instructor.

COVID-19 NOTE: If you have questions about how you can perform lab research if/when your physical lab space is closed or you are unable to use it, please contact the instructor (dornhaus@email.arizona.edu): we will try to help you find an original biological scientific research project that you can do from your computer. 

If you are not yet working in a research lab, the instructor will help you find one. It would be beneficial to contact me before the start of the semester (dornhaus@email.arizona.edu) to enable you to start as soon as possible; but this is optional. You should assume though that the research, independent of the time invested in this class itself, may well take up 10 hours per week (~ equivalent to a 3 credit class in which you do all the readings and homework). The details of this should be discussed with your research supervisor though.

This course is intended to train you in professional skills used in many workplaces as well as in science. You will be treated (and be expected to behave) as a colleague, with your own valuable experiences to contribute. As background for my understanding of the role of undergraduate students in research, it may be useful to read https://socialinsect.lab.arizona.edu/lab_syllabus (these are thoughts/policies just for my own lab, it is NOT the syllabus for this class - the syllabus for the class is attached above) and to discuss points therein with the lab supervisor you have/plan to have.

All undergraduate students doing research in my lab, starting Fall 2020, will be required to participate in this class.