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Collaborative Research Project

Michele LaVigne, Bowdoin College
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Summary

This is a semester-long research project that I use to provide students with the opportunity to design a class-wide collaborative research project in connection with a local community partner.

Context

Audience

This project is used in a 200-level marine biogeochemistry course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

This assignment (attached) is not concept-specific. We used it to address a specific question about ocean acidification in our area, but the format can be applied to any topic.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a culminating project.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

I use this assignment to offer students the opportunity to research ocean acidification, carbonate chemistry, calcification, nutrient cycling, and coastal processes, but the assignment posted here can be applied to any topic.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  1. Become familiar with the primary literature relevant to a problem
  2. Pose an original question that can be tested in the field to address the problem.
  3. Write a research proposal
  4. Design a collaborative project
  5. Plan and prepare the logistics for conducting collaborative fieldwork.
  6. Collect and analyze data
  7. Synthesize data in the context of the initial question and background literature.
  8. Present your data as an oral presentation to the research team.
  9. Synthesize the collaborative data set as a group and design one poster that communicates our results to the public.
  10. Write a manuscript in the format of a journal article summarizing the results of the collaborative research and implications of your findings.

Other skills goals for this activity

Collaborating on a project, organizing field work logistics, geochemical analyses in the lab, literature searches, scientific writing.

Description and Teaching Materials

This is an activity that is assigned in the first week of class. Ideally it is incorporated into a course with lab periods. The first few lab periods are spent introducing students to new techniques (field sampling, common biogeochemical lab techniques, etc.). The students then apply these techniques to address a question in a project of their own design.

Final Research Project Assignment (Microsoft Word 35kB May29 13)


Teaching Notes and Tips

Assessment

Assessment occurs throughout the project including:
annotated bibliographies, project proposals, peer reviews of proposals, group research presentations, a collaborative class poster, and a final research paper.

References and Resources

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