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 Spring 2006


Instructor:  Holly D. Bendorf 

Office:  209 Heim

Phone:  321-4365, home phone 998-8647 (no calls after 11 pm, please)

E-Mail:  bendorf@lycoming.edu


Meeting Time:  Monday, 3:15-4:05 in Heim 215, plus 10-12 hours of lab per week.


Office Hours:  By appointment or drop-by.


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 the 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%

            Participation (peer rev., discussions)                  5%

            Paper drafts and practice talks                           5%

            Effort in Lab and Library Research                 20%

            Notebook and Spectra                                       5%

            Laboratory Technique                                     10%


            * Grades assigned in consultation with the research advisor.


Attendance:  The student will pursue a research project under the direction of a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry. 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 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 present 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.).  Presentations will be peer-reviewed.


Laboratory Technique:  The student will be evaluated on her mastery of techniques relevant to her 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 and 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 the research results in the form of a chemistry colloquium near the end of the semester.  This talk will utilize Power Point.  A practice talk will be given to the class at least two 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, discussion of the results, conclusions, an experimental section, and references.  We will address the particulars of each section in class.  Drafts of most sections will be due throughout the semester.  Two drafts of the final paper are required and will be due during the last two weeks of class.  The final draft of the paper will be due during finals week.  I have found that at least three drafts of the entire paper are needed to ensure a final product that everyone can be proud of. 


Academic Dishonesty:  Be aware that in accordance with the College's policy on academic honesty, any work you submit must be your own.  Any instances of plagiarism will be severely penalized.   


Course Schedule:


Please note:  Your research advisor should receive a copy of each draft you submit for this class.



Date       Week                      Topic                                                                                      Preparation for Class                                                          Research Talk                     


1/9          1              Course Overview, Literature Search Background

Grammar and punctuation                                                                               Read Chapters 3 and 4 in the text



1/16        2              Literature Search:  STNWeb searches.                                            Discuss project with research advisor: 

STN searches by appointment                                                          - Choose search terms.

Preparing for an informal presentation                                                           - Choose substructures to be searched.



1/23        3              Literature Search:  STNWeb searches.                                            Read Chapter 9 in the text                                               

STN substructure searches by appointment                                  

Using ISIS Draw, Figures and Schemes                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Background Talks


1/30        4              Writing an introduction / literature review                                      Read Chapters 1 and 6 in text                                          Kim, Lindsey                 

                                Citing references.



2/6          5              Resumes and Cover Letters                                                                                                                                                              Tim, Stephanie

                                Due:  First draft of introduction / lit. review (2/6)



2/13        6              Writing the experimental section                                                      Review Chapters 5, 7, and 8                                                                            

                                                Bring notebook and spectra                                              Pay special attention to pp 265-268

                                Due:  peer reviews of intro. (2/13)

Resume and cover letter (2/15)



2/20        7              Writing the experimental section                                                                                                                     

Bring notebook and spectra

                                Due:  Second draft of introduction / lit. review (2/22)



3/6          8              Writing the research summary and                                 

                                the personal statement

                                Due:  Draft of experimental section (3/8)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Current Research Talks


3/13        9              Writing the Results and Discussion Section                                    Review Chapters 3 and 4                                                   Kim, Lindsey

                                Due:  First draft of research summary (3/15)



3/20        10           Preparing for a Poster Presentation                                                  Read Chapter 2 (pp 27-38 only)                                      Tim, Stephanie

                                Due:  First draft of Results and Discussion section (3/20)        Review Chapter 9                               



3/27        11           Research Talks organization and presentation                          Read Chapter 12

                                Due:  Peer reviews of R and D section (3/27)

Poster images in ISIS draw or ChemDraw (3/27)



4/3          12           Writing an abstract                                                                              Read pp 18-20

                                Poster troubleshooting and peer review

                                Due:  Draft of poster in PowerPoint (4/3)

Second draft of research summary (4/5)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Colloquium Practice Talks


4/10        13           Practice Talks                                                                                                                                                                                       Kim, Lindsey

Due:  Final draft of poster (4/10)

First draft of final paper (4/12)                                                                                                                                    



4/17        14           Practice Talks                                                                                                                                                                                       Tim, Stephanie                             

Due:  Second draft of final paper (4/19)                                                                                                                                                     



Colloquium Dates:  Kim April 12, Lindsey April 19, Tim April 19, Stephanie April 21


Finals Week:  Final Paper due (exact date TBA) 

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Last updated January 6, 2006.
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