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Improving Scientific Research and Writing Skills through Peer Review and Empirical Group Learning

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Author(s): Emilee Senkevitch | Ann C. Smith | Gili Marbach-Ad | Wenxia Song

Journal: Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
ISSN 1935-7877

Volume: 12;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Here we describe a semester-long, multipart activity called “Read and wRite to reveal the Research process” (R3) that was designed to teach students the elements of a scientific research paper. We implemented R3 in an advanced immunology course. In R3, we paralleled the activities of reading, discussion, and presentation of relevant immunology work from primary research papers with student writing, discussion, and presentation of their own lab findings. We used reading, discussing, and writing activities to introduce students to the rationale for basic components of a scientific research paper, the method of composing a scientific paper, and the applications of course content to scientific research. As a final part of R3, students worked collaboratively to construct a Group Research Paper that reported on a hypothesis-driven research project, followed by a peer review activity that mimicked the last stage of the scientific publishing process. Assessment of student learning revealed a statistically significant gain in student performance on writing in the style of a research paper from the start of the semester to the end of the semester.
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