A high-enrollment course-based undergraduate research experience improves student conceptions of scientific thinking and ability to interpret data

Sara Brownell, Daria S. Hekmat-Scafe, Veena Singla, Patricia Chandler Seawell, Jamie F. Conklin Imam, Sarah L. Eddy, Tim Stearns, Martha S. Cyert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present an innovative course-based undergraduate research experience curriculum focused on the characterization of single point mutations in p53, a tumor suppressor gene that is mutated in more than 50% of human cancers. This course is required of all introductory biology students, so all biology majors engage in a research project as part of their training. Using a set of open-ended written prompts, we found that the course shifts student conceptions of what it means to think like a scientist from novice to more expert-like. Students at the end of the course identified experimental repetition, data analysis, and collaboration as important elements of thinking like a scientist. Course exams revealed that students showed gains in their ability to analyze and interpret data. These data indicate that this course-embedded research experience has a positive impact on the development of students’ conceptions and practice of scientific thinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
JournalCBE life sciences education
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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