Redefining Authentic Research Experiences in Introductory Biology Laboratories and Barriers to Their Implementation

Rachelle Spell, Judith Guinan, Kristem Miller, Christopher Beck

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    60 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Incorporating authentic research experiences in introductory biology laboratory classes would greatly expand the number of students exposed to the excitement of discovery and the rigor of the scientific process. However, the essential components of an authentic research experience and the barriers to their implementation in laboratory classes are poorly defined. To guide future reform efforts in this area, we conducted a national survey of biology faculty members to determine 1) their definitions of authentic research experiences in laboratory classes, 2) the extent of authentic research experiences currently experienced in their laboratory classes, and 3) the barriers that prevent incorporation of authentic research experiences into these classes. Strikingly, the definitions of authentic research experiences differ among faculty members and tend to emphasize either the scientific process or the discovery of previously unknown data. The low level of authentic research experiences in introductory biology labs suggests that more development and support is needed to increase undergraduate exposure to research experiences. Faculty members did not cite several barriers commonly assumed to impair pedagogical reform; however, their responses suggest that expanded support for development of research experiences in laboratory classes could address the most common barrier.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)102-110
    Number of pages9
    JournalCBE Life
    Volume13
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Redefining Authentic Research Experiences in Introductory Biology Laboratories and Barriers to Their Implementation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this