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.

Lycoming College

CHEM 449:  Chemistry Research Methods

Syllabus for Fall 2005


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 to both myself and your research advisor. 


Chemistry Research Methods

Course Schedule, Fall 2005


Date        Week      Topic                                                                                                                      Preparation for Class                                           Student Presentation


8/29         1              Course overview, literature search background



9/5           2              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



9/12         3              Literature Search:  Substructure searches on STNWeb                Choose substructures to be searched                                                                                                              By appointment (after 5 pm)                                                               in consultation with research advisor                                  


9/19         4              Discussion:  Writing an introduction / literature review               Read Chapter 1 in text                                                         Background talks:                                              editing references.                                                                               Refer to Chapter 6 for info on                                   JAC, KAH

                                                                                                                                                citing references (also handout).


9/26         5              Writing the Research Summary, Resume,                                                                                                                                        HWB, CDC

and Cover Letter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Due:  1st draft of introduction / literature review* (9/28)                                                                                                               


10/3         6              Discussion:  Writing the experimental section                                Chp. 8, pp 265-268                               

                                * Bring notebook and spectra.                                                                                                         

                                Due:  Resume, cover letter, research

 Summary (10/5)



10/10       7              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 (10/12)                chemical names, and symbols.



10/17       8              Due:  1st draft of sample experimental (10/19)                                                                                                                                                                                                



*Paper copies of all drafts in this class to both me and your research advisor

10/24       9              Writing the Results and Discussion Section*                *                              Refer to Chapters 3 and 4 (grammar,                 Current results talks:

                                                                                                                                                punctuation, etc.)                                                                 JAC, KAH


10/31       10           Preparing for a Poster Presentation,                                                 Read Chapter 2 pp 27-38                                                     HWB, CDC           

                                PowerPoint                                                                                          Refer to Chapter 9 for info                                                                                                                  Due:  2nd draft of experimental (11/2)                                 on how to properly include

                                                                                                                                                illustrations and tables.

                                                                                                                                                Washington State PP prep document


11/7         11           Writing an Abstract, Organization of a colloquium                       Chp. 1 pp 18-20                                                                    


Due:  poster images in Isis/Chem Draw (11/9)                                               


11/14       12           Troubleshooting Posters

Due:  poster text/images in Power Point (11/16)                                                                                             


11/21       13           Due:  Finished poster presentation (11/21)                                                                                                                                    


11/28       14           Due:  Draft of final paper (11/30)                                                                                                                                                       Colloquium:                                                                    Practice talks                                                                                                                                                                               KAH (11/30)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JAC (12/2)



12/5         15           Due:  Practice talks for colloquia                                                                                                                                                       CDC (12/8)

           “Polished near final” draft of final paper (12/10)                                                                                                  HWB (12/10)                                                                                                                                                               

12/13       16           Due:  final paper   (12/15)   


**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 11/30 though).



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Last updated August 31, 2005.
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