Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tips for Student Research

I was asked by Dr. Desmond Murray, of Andrews University, to speak to his Chemistry Seminar class today. So via Adobe Connect, I am speaking to this group virtually.

Dr. Murray and "met" after I read his editorial for the JESS (Journal of Experimental Secondary Science). He talked about his BEST Early Program and I LOVED what I was reading. Once I saw this video on You Tube, I knew he and I had to collaborate somehow.  You'll see what I mean after watching this video! 

If you missed my webinar, you can view the slide show here. But much of the content you'll miss because I'm a strong believer in having graphics over text in Powerpoints, or else it is power-pointless! However, the webinar is being recorded, and if I can, I'll post the link so you can hear me speak as well!   

Let's Talk about Student Research

As a way to continue the discussion, and to add new participants to the discussion, I've posted some prompts below. I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on conducting student research projects.  Feel free to post a response to any of my prompts below, or other thoughts that are floating around in your head! 
  • Are high school students or undergraduates capable of conducting sound research projects? Why or why not?
  • What experience do you have as a student writing your own procedure? What was your biggest hurdle? How did you get over it?
  • What would you do, if your data didn't support your hypothesis?
  • How "messed up" is your experiment if you discovered that the methods you used to test your idea, didn't actually measure any changes? 
  • What is the best way to get an idea to start researching? 
  • What notetaking strategies do you have for large research projects?  
You may also enjoy reading my post on What Inquiry is NOT

Thanks so much for stopping by. And remember, I am giving away a signed copy of my book to someone who posts a comment here on my blog, or on my Facebook page. I will contact the winner on Wednesday February 13 so you have a week to get your responses posted! 


  1. Hi Darci, my name is Clarissa Lewis and I am a student from Dr. Murray's Seminar in Chemistry class. I enjoyed your presentation on Student Research especially when you gave us a list of suggestive sites to find ideas for research. I am a senior and have not been involved in research outside of my biochemistry degree requirements. Honestly, I am not very confident in myself, but your presentation taught me that I must start somewhere and I hope to earn a position this summer conducting research. I do have a question, how can someone who is deciding on a prose for their topic know whether their research question is a good research question?

    1. Clarissa, It sounds to me like you are on the right track, in looking for a summer position that will allow you to hone your research skills. The key is to have done your homework in delving into the literature. Often times researchers themselves will give suggestions for future studies, use these to guide you through various topic ideas. The more you know about a topic, the more you'll know you don't know anything! Does that make sense? You'll begin to see places where a different protocol might have been used to study the same entity, or you'll see how to take another study a bit further. Anytime you begin doing research, get the opinion of a mentor, and other students. The more eyes that see it the more likely it will be a good question, and the higher chance you'll have success in finding an answer.

      So glad you were in Dr. Murray's class, best of luck to you!

  2. I understand what you are saying, and thank you for the advice.

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