BSCI 283: Directed Lab Research
Directed Study is defined as the pursuit of a scholarly project
conceived by a faculty member. Team work is frequently involved. The
student must, however, make a substantial intellectual contribution to
the project while being closely supervised by a faculty sponsor.
Reading and writing are key elements in directed study.
BSCI 283 Directed Laboratory Research in Biological Sciences, 2-4 hours, may be taken only once
The broad objective of BSCI 283 is to provide the student with an opportunity to participate in original laboratory research including problem definition and experimental design, performance, and interpretation. This course attempts to provide experience in all of these areas culminating in a written presentation of the data. The research is performed under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. It is expected that during the directed research semester the student will make a substantial intellectual contribution to the goals of part of the mentor's research program. The mentor will define the initial problem and design the first experiments to be performed by the student. As the semester progresses, it is hoped that the student will begin to develop the necessary skills to define a problem independently and to plan and carry out meaningful experiments. Thus BSCI 283 may be the doorway to Independent Research (BSCI 286) or Honors Research (BSCI 296).
BSCI 110ab, one intermediate BSCI course appropriate to the major or BSCI 280, and consent of the course coordinator.
Completion of BSCI 283 before enrolling in BSCI 286 is not required, but is highly advisable.
c) Selection of a research mentor
The student will select a mentor from the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences. Faculty from departments other than Biological Sciences are not eligible to serve as research mentors unless they play an active role in the teaching of Biological Sciences majors or they agree to serve along with a comentor from the Biological Sciences faculty. It is recommended that students interview several faculty members before making a selection. The research interests and recent publications of the Biological Sciences faculty may be found at the Department web site. Once the student has made arrangements to work with a specific mentor, the course coordinator should be notified and the Approval Form (see link at the top of this document) completed. It is recommended that interviews, arrangements, and notification of the course coordinator be completed before the conclusion of pre-registration.
Students who have completed BSCI 283 and intend to enroll in BSCI 286 will usually continue with the same research mentor. However, this procedure is not required. Students often prefer to broaden their research experiences by performing research projects in different fields.
d) Application/ Registration
Students can not register BSCI 283 on OASIS. You will be registered upon receipt of the e-mailed application form. (See directions below)
Instructions for completing the proposal:
The proposal form is not the same as the application form. Students must have submitted the application form before submitting this form. The project title may be modified from the title originally submitted with the application
- Read the course requirements
- Select a research mentor. Before deciding on a research mentor, contact several faculty members and discuss potential projects. Decide on a project by agreement with a potential research advisor.
- Submit the Application Form to your research mentor as an e-mail attachment. Complete the application form and e-mail it as an attachment to your research mentor. Paper forms will not be accepted. Include a short text message to the effect that the application is attached. Your research mentor should then forward the entire e-mail, including the attachment, to Angela Fournier (Administrative Assistant to Professor Singleton) at firstname.lastname@example.org This process assures the department that the research advisor has seen and approved the proposal. Assuming you meet all of the requirements and have taken the appropriate prerequisites, you will be registered.
- After the semester begins, submit a one page research proposal to your research mentor. Download and complete the proposal form and e-mail it after filling it out as an attachment to your research mentor. Paper forms will not be accepted. Once your research advisor has approved a final proposal, he/she should forward the proposal to Angela Fournier at email@example.com. The research proposal is due by the tenth day of the semester.
form, but only when the research advisor considers modification to be absolutely necessary. Modifications should only be made when there has been a fundamental change in the planned nature of the project. The proposal should include:
1. Written research proposal. Use the proposal form. The proposal should be developed with the mentor and must be approved by the mentor and the coordinator no later than the tenth day of the semester.
The proposal is required, but will not normally affect the student's grade. However, late proposals and proposals that do not contain the required information in the required format will adversely affect the grade.
2. Research effort. In research, it is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the amount of time and effort required to complete a research project. Unlike didactic laboratory experiments in BSCI 110 in which specific results are expected, experiments in basic research are often ambiguous and results are sometimes difficult to obtain. For this reason, the effort made by a student to understand the experimental concept and perform the experiments is perhaps more important than the actual results. Consequently, the final grade for the course will depend heavily on the effort made in the laboratory. As a guideline, it is expected that the student work at least 4 hours a week in the lab for every hour of academic credit. For example, 4 credit hours would translate into approximately 16 hours a week of laboratory work.
3. Written research report. This is a 10 to 18 page report on the work accomplished during the semester. One copy should be submitted to the mentor and another to the course coordinator. The report is due at the end of the day on the last day of classes for the semester. The report should be written as a scientific journal article detailing original research, with a title page and abstract and a main body with introduction, materials, and methods, results, discussion, and references sections. more information on the format and the content of each section will be distributed at mid-semester.
- a statement of the problem and its significance
- a general description of the proposed experiments
- a statement about how the experiments may be expected to address the problem. The proposal should be developed in consultation with the research advisor.
- The proposal is required, but will not normally affect the student's grade. However, late proposals and proposals that do not contain the required information in the required format will adversely affect the grade.
- The proposal form must be turned in by the tenth day of class.
After a discussion with the mentor concerning an outline and the general content of the paper, the student should independently prepare a rough draft that the student feels is of sufficient quality for the mentor to read. At this point, the mentor and student will continue to refine the manuscript until the mentor is satisfied with the final version. There are two important points to pay attention to, bearing in mind that 30% of your final grade is based on the written report. Firstly, it will not be possible for the mentor and the student to refine the report adequately if the first draft is prepared to close to the deadline. Secondly, a quality first draft will not only speed the process along, but also provide the mentor with a good evaluation of the student's progress during the semester and result in a higher grade for the student on this section.
The course coordinator, in consultation with the research mentor, will determine the student's final grade in the course based on: 1) Research (approximately 70%). This portion of the grade will be determined by the research mentor and will reflect the performance of the student during the semester as discussed above. 2) Written report (approximately 30%). The latter portion of the final grade will be given by the course coordinator.