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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Physical and Biological Sciences Department
Course Prefix and Number: BIOL 395
Course Title: *Research Design in the Sciences
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study of applied research in the natural sciences, with special emphasis on experimental design and methodology, data generation and critical analysis, and scientific writing and presentation. Cross-listed as ENVS 395 and CHEM 395. Students majoring in biology, chemistry, or environmental studies must earn a grade of C or higher. Prerequisites: Fifteen semester hours of BIOL, ENVS, and/or CHEM courses; junior standing; a grade of C or better in BIOL/PSYC/SOCI 324.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Fifteen semester hours of BIOL, ENVS, and/or CHEM courses; junior standing; a grade of C or better in BIOL/PSYC/SOCI 324.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Fall and Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Material for this class will include primary literature. In addition, texts addressing aspects of research design in the natural sciences are suitable, such as:

Writing in Biology
By K. Knisely (Sinauer)
Experimental Design for the Life Sciences
By Ruxton and Colegrave (Oxford)
Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
By Salmon, M. H. (Hackett Publishing Co.)
Explaining Science
By Giere (Univ. of Chicago Press)
Becoming a Critical Thinker
By Ruggiero (Houghton Mifflin)
Doing Science: Design, Analysis, and Communication of Scientific Research
By Valiela (Oxford University Press)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain how research questions are designed according to scientific methods.
  2. Use and analyze variables, relationships, theories, and hypotheses relating to current scientific problems/studies.
  3. Implement appropriate sampling and measurement techniques for data analysis.
  4. Evaluate appropriate methodologies for specific research problems in the field and/or laboratory.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • Philosophy and history of science
  • Searching and using scientific literature
  • Scientific writing and presentation
  • The scientific method
  • Research design
  • Generation and analysis of data
  • Ethical issues in research

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Peggy Wright Date: April 6, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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