"on course" for supporting expanded participation and improving scientific reasoning in undergraduate thesis writing
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© 2014 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. The Department of Chemistry at Duke University has endeavored to expand participation in undergraduate honors thesis research while maintaining the quality of the learning experience. Accomplishing this goal has been constrained by limited departmental resources (including faculty time) and increased diversity in students' preparation to engage in the research and writing processes. Here we assessed the relationship between iterative changes in pedagogical and mentoring support of honors research that efficiently employed departmental resources (including the chemistry thesis assessment protocol, ChemTAP) and students' scientific reasoning and writing skills reflected in their undergraduate theses. We found that, although we cannot disentangle some gradual changes over time from specific interventions, students exhibited the strongest performance when they participated in a course with structured scaffolding and used assessment tools explicitly designed to enhance the scientific reasoning in writing. Furthermore, less prepared students exhibited more positive changes.
SubjectScience & Technology
Education, Scientific Disciplines
Education & Educational Research
Chemical Education Research
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1021/ed500298r
Publication InfoDowd, JE; Roy, CP; Thompson, RJ; & Reynolds, JA (2015). "on course" for supporting expanded participation and improving scientific reasoning in undergraduate thesis writing. Journal of Chemical Education, 92(1). pp. 39-45. 10.1021/ed500298r. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20434.
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Associate Professor of the Practice of the Department of Biology
Associate Professor of the Practice of Chemistry
Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience
My research and teaching interests include how biological and psychosocial processes act together in human development and learning. One area of focus has been on the adaptation of children and their families to developmental problems and chronic illnesses, including sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis. Another area of focus is enhancing undergraduate education through scholarship on teaching and learning and fostering the development of empathy and identity.
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