RESEARCH COMMUNICATION (SCI - 493)
1 Credit (Attendance, presentation/abstract, and formal paper)
(Note: The complete sequence of Research Design, NSS Research, NS
and NS Research Communication
count as commmunication Skills II)
NATURAL SCIENCE SEMINAR (SCI 491, SCI 492)
1/2 credit (Attendance)
to Schedule, Fall 2008
to Evaluation form - (adopted August 2007)
D. Collins, Box 6017,
convener, (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Purpose and Learning Outcomes:
This seminar provides students and staff with opportunities to interact
professionally in a formal setting, exchange news, ideas and theories,
and explore the interrelationships among various disciplines.
are further given the opportunity and motivation to participate in
research: choosing and delimiting a suitable topic, defining the
and forming a hypothesis where appropriate, discovering and evaluating
the work of others, conducting their own investigation, evaluating the
data and results, and organizing and communicating their results to
Discussion, questions and argument will sharpen communication and logic
skills, as well as increase understanding, both for those presenting
as well as those attending.
An informal learning outcome is the self-confidence that students
obtain presenting their research to an audience of peers and superiors
for future settings.
Each student earning a major in the natural sciences and mathematics
complete Natural Science Seminar (SCI 491 or SCI 492) for half
credit. This involves fulfilling the attendance requirement at
weekly seminar. In another semester, each student completes
Science Research Communication (SCI 493) for one credit. The
Seminar (SCI 491 or SCI 492) must be enrolled in a separate semester
the Research Communication (SCI 493). Research Design (SCI 390)
credits) and Natural Science Seminar Research (SCI 486) (at least 2
are required prerequisites for Research Communication (SCI
These are graduation requirements for the majors in Biology, Chemistry,
and the following concentrations in Environmental Studies:
Biology, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Agriculture, and
Sustainable Forestry. Concentrations in Environmental Policy have
a choice: Internship OR Research (see WWC Catalog). The reseach
track of Environmental Policy must complete the attendance (SCI 491 or
492) and the three course sequence: (SCI 390 Research Design, SCI
486-489 Natural Sciences Seminar Research, and SCI 493 Natural Sciences
Presentation of a seminar and submitting the archival thesis is a
requirement for the science majors listed above. Each person
the seminar for the graduation requirement must be registered for the
and complete the attendance requirements. Time slots will
assigned during the Research Design class about one year prior to the
This allows time for the student to plan and complete the research well
before the presentation date. The dates for the presentation will
be determined by a lottery with accommodations allowed for students'
for fall graduation, study abroad, internships. In addition
to getting a time slot, each student must register for NS
Communication (SCI 493) during November or April registration. Obtaining
a time slot does not register the student for Research Communication
The student must also register for SCI 493 during the semester before
time slot. The mentor will usually be a member of the WWC
science faculty (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies,
Science, or Physics). If a student wishes to work with a faculty
outside a department listed above, a science faculty must be obtained
be a co-mentor and must co-sign the student's title at registration
time. Each student
presenting must submit a title, signed by his/her mentor, to the
convenor during the first week of classes.
The mentors have the responsibility during the NSS Research class to
the student choose an appropriate topic, guide the student's research
suggest questions and interpretations about the results. The
will also listen to the practice sessions of the presentation. It
is nearly impossible to make a good presentation without at least a
of practice sessions.
Suitable topics should be sufficiently specific to allow in-depth
but general enough to avoid becoming so technical that the audience
appreciate the study. In addition to the necessary literature
study, the topic should involve at least one of the following
laboratory study, field study, mathematical modeling, or interpretation
of archival data banks. The researcher must clearly present
scientific purpose or objective(s) of the study. The researcher
expected to follow scientific methodologies.
Each presention will need a printed abstract (40 copies)
includes the title, student's name, and mentor's name. The
abstract should be written using the following properties:
The biggest mistake students have made in the past preparation of
is failure to summarize the Discussion or to indicate what the
of the results are to the wider world. The abstracts are
published on the Internet.
- should be all one paragraph.
- there should be no citations.
- each of the four main sections of the talk should be summarized,
Methods, Results, Discussion. Two or three sentences should be
to summarize each section but this should be written as a cohesive
without separate headings.
- the objective should be included and written clearly as an "if",
or "whether" question. It does not need to be stated as a
- the summary of the results should be very detailed and include P
correlation coefficients, Chi-square values, and means where
- the final line should be a strong conclusion statement that
the entire project.
A bibliography, alphabetized by first author's last name,
be printed on the reverse side of the abstract. It is
that the bulk of the bibliography consist of recent peer-reviewed
The style for abstracts and bibliographies are outlined in the Research
Design Handbook, by Dr. Louise Weber.
Each presenter should
the abstract via e-mail (or an attached word processed file)
to the coordinator one week before presenting the seminar.
The absolute deadline for receipt of the electronic abstract is the day
before the scheduled presentation, or the presentation grade will
suffer a 10 point penalty. The
evaluations will be
returned to the student's mentor only after the electronic copy of an
abstract has been received. A
student may revise the final abstract after the
presentation with no penalty, but the deadline for revision is one week
after the presentation. Revisions are often suggested by faculty
at the presentation. The abstracts will be published on the World
Wide Web along with the
schedule. The published abstracts have received international
attention from students and researchers searching for research results,
so publication of students' work is extremely important.
Photographs of an aspect of the student's work are encouraged to be
published along with the abstracts on the Internet. Please send
photos to dcollins vi e-mail.
The mentor will introduce the seminar speaker and provide
background. Seminar presentations should be succinct -
25 minutes long (including discussion with the audience) with
use of slides, charts, and visuals. Five minutes of the 25
minutes should be allowed for questions. It is important to
the schedule and not run-over the alloted total time of 25
Time is required for announcements and set-up between speakers.
length of discussion and the total presentation length will be
by the convenor with the possibility being cut-off if the speaker goes
beyond the alloted time. This requires work and diligence and
on the part of the presenter.
Students design their charts and visuals as well as speaking
following the guidelines listed in the Research Design Handbook.
The convenor's assistant will prepare posters advertising each
student's presentation based on the title of record. The
assistant will include a suitable picture to display on the poster -
with the source acknowledged. It is preferable to use pictures
created by the presenters. Please send any image to dcollins
electronically at least 3 weeks prior to the date of the
presentation. The source of the picture must be included with the
picture - even if the student made the picture himself/herself.
For grading purposes, presenters (SCI 493) will be assigned a letter
while those registered for SCI 491 or SCI 492 (no
will be assigned pass/fail. The pass/fail grade will be based on
The attendance will be recorded by means of each student filling-out a Natural Science Seminar Student Report form
at the seminar. These will be collected and
returned to the presenter. All faculty attending the talk will
forms, and the convener will collect these and deliver the forms to
the student's mentor after the abstract has been electronically
received. All students, including those students who
are presenting seminars, are expected to attend all seminar days
(this means no more than two absences). A student may
up absences by attending and reporting on a live
scientific presentation outside of the Seminar
(ACS, Sigma Xi, Workshops, NCAS, etc.). More than two absences
one letter grade from the SCI 493 course for each absence beyond
Students enrolled in SCI 491 or SCI 492 (pass/fail) will receive a
if more than two absences occur. Extended illness may require a
semester to make up.
The presentation grade will be determined from the median of the
evaluations. The presentation counts for 50% of the Research
grade. The other 50% of the grade will be determined by the
paper (Natural Science and Mathematics Senior Thesis) that is evaluated
by the mentor (see below).
Expectations for attendees:
In order to obtain a grade of Pass, students are expected to arrive
fill-out a student Student Speaker Report Form (essentially the same as
the evaluation form), fill the seats nearest
be respectfully attentive, remain until the seminar is completed, and
in the question and answer period. Leaving the seminar early
5:00) will result in an absence recorded Missing more than two
days will result in a failing grade for those enrolled in the
and grade deduction for those presenting. More than one absence
mid-semester will receive a failing grade at mid-semester.
at mid-semester may be made up by satisfactorily completing all the
before the end of the semester. Students are expected to keep
of their own absences. The convenor will not send reminders
students have accumulated absences. The students attendance
at the seminars will be recorded in the Warren Wilson Moodle site: http://moodle.warren-wilson.edu.
Please consult that site and let the facilitator know if there are any
It is also expected that the audience conduct themselves appropriate
for professional meetings. Applause is appropriate when
are introduced and when presenters finish their talks. This shows
the highest respect for fellow students.
Yelling and other loud vocalizations
are not appropriate.
Guests, friends, and workcrew mates of the presenting students are
encouraged to attend. However, please
encourage the guests to attend both seminars! Otherwise, many
people leaving between the two seminars presents a
distraction. This rule will be enforced with possible grade
penalty if broken.
Expectations for presenters:
Essentially, we are looking for a scholarly presentation. Both
and presentation style are important. Without content of
depth and substance, even the best speaking style and finest visuals
not be enough to earn a good grade. Please see the attached
It is expected that the presenter practice the presentation with the
mentor(s) and peers. The main reason for this is to instill
be able to anticipate questions from the audience, and to insure a
understanding. The presentation is a major highlight of a
college carreer. It is the time to be proud of one's
Changing presentation date: NO!
After registration, the scheduled dates are permanently fixed.
rescheduling requests must be made in writing to the Division of
Sciences and Environment at least
two weeks prior to the scheduled time, and the division faculty will
the extenuating circumstances and decide among three possibilities: 1)
the extenuating circumstances justify rescheduling without penalty; 2)
the rescheduling will be permitted with a letter-grade penalty; 3) the
rescheduling will be denied. Problems with the research
crop failure, personnel, etc), generally, should not warrant a new
The experimenter can still provide the background, experiment design,
results, and the problems encountered.
Changing title: NO!
The seminar schedule and titles are published and distributed to a
of places at the beginning of the semester. It becomes impossible
to re-publish the titles to the distribution list. Each student
has also completed his/her research and should have a firm title by the
time the semester for presentation begins. Titles for current
semester will be finalized on Monday, September 1, 2008.
Natural Science Senior Thesis (50%).
As stated above, 50% of the Research Communication grade is the
mentor's evaluation of the Senior Thesis. Each student in SCI 493
will submit two copies of his/her senior thesis - a formal paper
on the research. The draft of the senior thesis is due to
mentor by the end of week 12 (Nov 21, 2008). Two copies
final report are due to the convenor (D. Collins) at the end of week 14
(Dec. 5, 2008). In addition one signed copy of Permission to Photocopy
must be attached. Copies of Permission to Photocopy will be
available at Collins' office. Collins will deliver one of the
Archives in the Pew Learning Center and Ellison Library; he will
forward the 2nd copy to the mentor for evaluation. If the grading
late or missing, or if the draft is late or missing, then the
should make appropriate grade adjustments. The mentor's grade
will be reported to the convenor by the beginning of week 16 (Dec. 15,
2008). In addition, students will fill-out an evaluation form for the
total Natural Seminar Experience.
The thesis should follow the following format:
Further writing guidelines are listed in the Research
Handbook, page 158.
- Permission to photocopy
- Acknowledgements - Note: the acknowledgements has often
been missed in previous years.
- Introduction - the background of the material, survey of
and description of the experiment/phenomena
- Methods (or procedure) - the clear objectives of the
the details of the experiment, the methodology of gathering the data,
problems encountered and how they were solved
- Results - the results should be tabulated and should
analysis. The results should be presented graphically as well as
- Discussion - the scientific implications of the results
discussed and clear answers to the objectives of the study should be
- Literature Cited. All the sources of content and
be cited in the paper.
The thesis will contain the completed study and address problems
may not have been solved in the research course. Students should
pace themselves in the Research Communication course so that they can
both the oral presentation and the thesis before the deadline(s).
ACADEMIC HONESTY: Perhaps more than any other
science research depends on objectivity and honesty on the part of the
researcher. Falsification of facts (making-up data), literature
or plagiarism, cheating, or other unethical behavior could result in an
F for the assignment in question or an F for the course. A letter
describing the incident may also be sent to the Dean as part of a
permanent record. This course abides by the campus policy on
honesty as stated in the WWC student handbook.