While every effort has been made to make sure this electronic syllabus is error-free, it is not official.
The definitive source of course information remains the original (paper) syllabus distributed in class.

CHEM 449:  Chemistry Research Methods

Syllabus for Fall 2004


Instructor:                  Chriss E. McDonald                             Office:  233 Heim                                           

Phone:             4186    (322-0592 home, call anytime) E-Mail: mcdonald@lycoming.edu                   

Meeting Time:  Monday, 3:15 4:05 in Seminar Room (215)


Course Description:  This course focuses on the nature and practice of chemistry.  Students will conduct research into a particular chemical problem with a faculty research advisor and will discuss their research at a weekly seminar.  A report on their research will be written.


Text: The ACS Style Guide: A Manual for Authors and Editors, 2nd ed.; Dodd, J. S., Ed.; American Chemical Society:  Washington, D.C., 1997.


Grading Criteria:

                 Poster                                                              10%

            Colloquium                                                       15%

            Final Paper                                                       25%

            Resume, Cover Letter
            and Research Summary                                      5%

            Paper drafts and practice talks                            5%

            Effort in Lab and Library Research                    25%

            Notebook and Spectra                                       5%

            Laboratory Technique                                       10%



Attendance:  The student will pursue a research project under the direction of a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry (or an internship off campus). The student is expected to commit an average of 12 hours per week to the research project.  This time will be divided between laboratory work and time spent reading the literature and planning the laboratory work.  Attendance at the weekly seminar is mandatory and each unexcused absence will result in a 5% reduction of the final grade.  A maximum of one excused absence (must be documented by a note from physician, Dean, etc.) will be granted.


Literature Search and Literature Review:  We will explore methods for searching the chemical literature.  The student will search the primary chemical literature for articles pertinent to his or her research topic.  These articles will form the basis of a literature review that will be written and ultimately included in the final research paper.


Research Presentations:  The student will present an overview of the project at the first presentation of the semester.  At subsequent meetings, the student will report on the progress made on the project since the previous meeting.  Although these presentations will be somewhat informal, the student is expected to discuss the research in an appropriate manner (the student should be well-prepared, knowledgeable about the project, able to describe the work in a professional manner, and able to answer student and faculty questions regarding the project, etc.). 


Laboratory Technique:  The student will be evaluated on the mastery of techniques relevant to the project.  Included in this category are the skills necessary for the maintenance of laboratory equipment, laboratory hygiene, and safety. 


Effort in laboratory and library research:  This takes the form of the student's commitment to the research project with regard to both the time and thought dedicated to the research.  This includes evaluation of the student's comprehension of the project and intellectual input as determined by discussions with the research advisor regarding the status of the project. 


Laboratory Notebook:  The student will maintain an accurate and detailed laboratory notebook (hard-bound, all entries made in ink) and an organized file of spectral data.  The notebook and the spectral data will be turned in to the research advisor at the end of the semester.


Colloquium:  The student will present her research in the form of a chemistry colloquium near the end of the semester.  This will utilize Power Point.  A practice talk will be given to the class at least 2 days before the colloquium.


Final Paper:  The student will prepare a written report on the research projectThe report will be written in standard ACS style (refer to papers published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society) and will include a brief abstract, an introduction, background material (literature review), results and discussion, conclusions, an experimental section, and references.  We will address the particulars of each section in class.  Drafts of the sections will be due throughout the semester. 

Chemistry Research Methods

Tentative Course Schedule, Fall 2004 


Date                 Topic                                                                                       Preparation for Class                            Student Presentation


8/30                 Course overview, literature search background


9/6                   Structure searching with STNWeb                                            Discuss project with research advisor. 

Literature Search:  STNWeb topical searches               Choose search terms.  Chp 32, Organic

By appointment (after 5 pm).  Using IsisDraw               Lab Manual


 9/13                 Literature Search:  Substructure searches on STNWeb  Choose substructures to be searched                Damien,                                                By appointment (after 5 pm)                                         in consultation with research advisor                       Olivia  


9/20                 Discussion:  Writing an introduction / literature review    Read Chapter 1 in text                                      Laura, 

                        Citing references.                                                                      Refer to Chapter 6 for info on               Michelle

                                                                                                                        citing references (also handout).


9/27                 Writing the Research Summary, Resume,                                                                                             

and Cover Letter.                                                                                                                                                                     Due:  1st draft of introduction / literature review (9/29)


10/4                 Discussion:  Writing the experimental section                 Chp. 8, pp 265-268                

                        * Bring notebook and spectra.                                                                                     

                        Due:  Resume, cover letter, research

 Summary (10/6)



10/11               Workshop:  Writing the experimental section                 Refer to Chapters 5, 7, and 8 for info.                                                   * Bring notebook and spectra                                                   on how to properly use/present numbers,                                                          Due: 2nd draft of introduction/literature review (10/13) chemical names, and symbols.



10/18               Due:  1st draft of sample experimentals (10/20)                                                                                                                                                           


10/25               Writing the Results and Discussion Section*                              Refer to Chapters 3 and 4 (grammar,                Damien,

                                                                                                                        punctuation, etc.)                                              Olivia


11/1                 Preparing for a Poster Presentation,                                          Read Chapter 2 pp 27-38                                Laura, 

                        PowerPoint                                                                             Refer to Chapter 9 for info                                Michelle

                        Due:  2nd draft of experimentals (11/3)                         on how to properly include

                                                                                                                        illustrations and tables.


11/8                 Writing an Abstract, Organization of a colloquium                      Chp. 1 pp 18-20                                                         


Due:  poster images (11/10)                            


1115                Troubleshooting session for Posters, Paper, Colloquium                                                                                   


11/22               Due:  Finished poster presentation (11/22)                                                                                                      


11/29               Due:  Draft of final paper (12/1)

                                   Practice talks

12/6                 Due:  Practice talks for colloquia


12/14               Due:  final paper                     


*I'll be happy to review a draft of your R and D section at your convenience (not required until draft of final paper on 12/1 though).




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Last updated August 31, 2004.
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