Computer-based and bench-based undergraduate research experiences produce similar attitudinal outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) have the potential to improve undergraduate biology education by involving large numbers of students in research. CUREs can take a variety of forms with different affordances and constraints, complicating the evaluation of design features that might contribute to successful outcomes. In this study, we compared students’ responses to three different research experiences offered within the same course. One of the research experiences involved purely computational work, whereas the other two offerings were bench-based research experiences. We found that students who participated in computer-based research reported at least as much interest in their research projects, a higher sense of achievement, and a higher level of satisfaction with the course compared with students who did bench-based research projects. In open-ended comments, similar proportions of students in each research area expressed some sense of project ownership as contributing positively to their course experiences. Their comments also supported the finding that experiencing a sense of achievement was a predictor of course satisfaction. We conclude that both computer-based and bench-based CUREs can have positive impacts on students’ attitudes. Development of more computer- based CUREs might allow larger numbers of students to benefit from participating in a research experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar10
JournalCBE life sciences education
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

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Research
experience
Students
student
research project
Ownership
biology
Education
evaluation
education

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Cite this

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title = "Computer-based and bench-based undergraduate research experiences produce similar attitudinal outcomes",
abstract = "Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) have the potential to improve undergraduate biology education by involving large numbers of students in research. CUREs can take a variety of forms with different affordances and constraints, complicating the evaluation of design features that might contribute to successful outcomes. In this study, we compared students’ responses to three different research experiences offered within the same course. One of the research experiences involved purely computational work, whereas the other two offerings were bench-based research experiences. We found that students who participated in computer-based research reported at least as much interest in their research projects, a higher sense of achievement, and a higher level of satisfaction with the course compared with students who did bench-based research projects. In open-ended comments, similar proportions of students in each research area expressed some sense of project ownership as contributing positively to their course experiences. Their comments also supported the finding that experiencing a sense of achievement was a predictor of course satisfaction. We conclude that both computer-based and bench-based CUREs can have positive impacts on students’ attitudes. Development of more computer- based CUREs might allow larger numbers of students to benefit from participating in a research experience.",
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