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 Spring 2004


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, plus 10-12 hours of lab work 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 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%

            Research Summary                                             5%

            Participation (peer rev., discussions)                    5%

            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 10-12 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.


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 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. 


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 Talk


1/12                 Introduction, Review Syllabus and Course Content


1/19                 Literature Search:  STNWeb searches.                         Discuss project with research advisor. 

                                                                                    Choose search terms.

                                                                                                Choose structures to be searched.


1/26                 Discussion:  Writing an introduction / literature review    Read Chapters 1 and 2 in text                           Jen, Lisa     

                        Citing references.


2/2                   Discussion:  Writing the experimental section                 Read Chapters 5, 7, and 8                                                       

                        * Bring notebook and spectra

                        Due:  1st draft of introduction / literature review


2/9                   Workshop:  Writing the experimental section                                                                                        

        Bring notebook and spectra

Due:  Peer Review of Intro/lit review


2/16                 Discussion:  Research Presentations                                          Read Chapter 12

                        Due:  2nd draft of introduction / literature review


2/23                 Resumes, Cover Letters and Personal Statements                      Come prepared to work on resume                   Jen

                        Due:  Experimental Section (partial)


3/8                   Workshop:  ISISDraw and Power Point                                   Bring structures or reactions                              Lisa

                                                                                                                        from your project

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


3/15                 Writing the Results and Discussion Section                                Read Chapters 3 and 4                        



3/22                 Preparing for a Poster Presentation                                           Read Chapter 2                                                Jen

                                                                                                                        (pp 27-38 only)


3/29                 Writing a Research Summary                                                                                                                            Lisa                 

                        Due:  Drafts of poster panels                                                                                                                           


4/5                   Poster Session  / Poster Peer Review

                        Due:  Draft of Results and Discussion Section


4/12                 Writing an abstract                                                                                                                                            Jen                  

Practice Talk

Due:  Research Summary, Peer Review of R and D section                                                                                                     


4/19                 Practice Talk                                                                                                                                                    Lisa                 

Due:  Draft of final paper                                                                                                                                


Finals Week:  Final Paper due (exact date TBA) 



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Last updated January 13, 2004.
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