INDEPENDENT RESEARCH IN BIOLOGY
The Biology Department encourages students to participate in laboratory research (BIOL 388, 388S, and 390) and/or library research (BIOL 389). Students may choose to work with faculty in the Biology Department or students choosing to work with a member of another department must also have a Biology faculty member act as Biology Sponsor. These students must also be sure that their Research Sponsor receives a copy of these guidelines.
- Time commitment: A student should work out with his/her sponsor a regular schedule of time devoted to the research project. (Some flexibility is allowed for variability in course workload.) The student is expected to spend a minimum of 9 hours per week (on average) in the laboratory (or library) to earn 3 credit hours, though sponsors may require more time than this.
- Input into planning: For BIOL 388, the student may be expected to help plan the research project or may be assigned a project. In either case, background reading and discussions should assure that the student thoroughly understands the specific project and its general significance. For BIOL 390, the student is expected to at least help in planning the research project.
- Meetings with sponsor: The student should meet with his/her research sponsor and Biology Department sponsor on a regularly scheduled basis (weekly or twice a month is suggested). This is particularly important for BIOL 389 to insure that progress continues throughout the semester.
- Format of paper: Students doing BIOL 388 and BIOL 390 must submit a paper in the format of a scientific journal research article. If results are incomplete, the paper can be a progress report, but should still be in research article format. For BIOL 389, the paper should be similar to a long term paper or review article and the majority of the references should be primary research papers. It is suggested that a specific number of papers be discussed with the BIOL 389 sponsor at each regularly scheduled meeting, and that an outline of the paper be completed by mid-semester. It is also recommended that a first draft of the paper be submitted at least two weeks prior to the end of the semester so that revisions are possible.
- Evaluation: The Biology Department Sponsor will read the paper and assign a grade. If the Research Sponsor is outside the department, he/she will complete an evaluation form for the benefit of the Biology Sponsor. Please note that BIOL 390 is graded on a pass/fail basis only.
To sign up for BIOL 388, 388S, 389, or 390, complete the department permit form and return it to the Biology office.