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

CHEM 449: Chemistry Research Methods

Syllabus for Fall 2000


Instructor: Holly D. Bendorf

Office: 209 Heim

Phone: 321-4365, home phone 998-8647 (no calls after 10 pm, please)

E-Mail: bendorf@lycoming.edu


Meeting Time: Monday, 3:15-4:05 in Heim 215


Office Hours: Monday and Thursday 2:00 3:00, Wednesday 10:15 11:15.


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 Personal Statement 5%

Participation (peer rev., discussions) 10%

Paper drafts and practice talks 5%

Effort in Lab and Library Research* 15%

Notebook and Spectra* 5%

Laboratory Technique* 10%


* Grade assigned in consultation with 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, Article Summaries 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.


Weekly Research Presentations: The student will present an overview of her project at her 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 the subject of peer-review.


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 her research in the form of a chemistry colloquium near the end of the semester. A practice talk (with overheads, etc.) 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 project. The 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.


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.

Tentative Course Schedule:


Date Topic Preparation for Class Research Presentation


8/28 Introduction, Review Syllabus and Course Content



9/4 Literature Search: STN Easy and STNWeb searches. Discuss project with research advisor.

Meet in lower library. Choose search terms.



9/11 Literature Search: Structure searches on STNWeb Choose structures to be searched.

Meet in lower library.



9/18 Discussion: Writing an introduction / literature review Read Chapters 1 and 2 in text Alicia

Citing references.



9/25 Discussion: Writing the experimental section Read Chapters 5,7, and 8 Tanzina

* Bring notebook and spectra

Due: 1st draft of introduction / literature review



10/2 Workshop: Writing the experimental section Liz

* Bring notebook and spectra

Discussion: Peer review of introduction / lit. review



10/9 Discussion: Research Presentations Read Chapter 12

Due: 2nd draft of introduction / literature review



10/16 Resumes, Cover Letters and Personal Statements Come prepared to work on resume Alicia

Due: Experimental Section (partial)


10/23 Workshop: ISISDraw and Power Point Bring structures or reactions Tanzina

Peer review of research presentation from your project

Due: Resume, cover letter and personal statement Read Chapter 9



10/30 Writing the Results and Discussion Section Read Chapters 3 and 4 Liz

Peer review of research presentation



11/6 Preparing for a Poster Presentation Read Chapter 2 Alicia

Peer review of research presentation (pp 27-38 only)



11/13 Peer review of research presentations Tanzina

Due: Drafts of poster panels and Liz

Peer review of poster panels


11/20 Poster Session

Due: Draft of Results and Discussion Section


11/27 Writing an abstract Bring your R&D draft

Practice Talk and peer review: Alicia

Due: Peer reviews of Results and Discussion Section



12/4 Practice Talks and peer review: Tanzina

Due: Draft of final paper and Liz


Finals Week: Final Paper due (exact date TBA)


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