Beyond bibliographic instruction: Science research workshops
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Over the past three academic years, I have offered a series of Science Research Workshops that have gone beyond basic bibliographic instruction and database searching. Although these workshops are available to any undergraduate, graduate student, or faculty, the primary attendees are undergraduate students who are working on honors theses. The workshops are interactive so groups of 3-6 are ideal, but up to 8-12 can be accommodated. Topics include the Scientific Research Process, Data Management, Reading a Scientific Article, Writing a Scientific Abstract, and Creating a Scientific Poster Presentation. For the last three workshops, students are asked to bring a scientific article, an experiment proposal, and a data example, respectively. During the workshop, I give a short introduction to the structure of an article, abstract, or poster and then spend the bulk of the time guiding students through the process of reading, writing, or creating. As I lead the students through the different steps, we stop to share their progress with each other. Students like the interactive format because they can ask questions freely and because they see others having to work through the progress. After the workshop, students not only feel more confident in their research skills but also gain a better understanding of their own research project. I will present outlines of materials at these workshops in addition to insights I have gained on the popularity of the different types of workshops.