6.S079 | Spring 2013 | Undergraduate



The final project aims to challenge and assess your ability to critically evaluate a published article. You are asked to guide the class through a review of one recent publication. This is an exercise that you will encounter over and over again if you choose to pursue a career in science research.

Your tasks are:

By week 8: Select a recent article (from 2005 or later) in the field of nanotechnology and ask one of the instructors to approve your selection. If necessary, we will offer you a set of articles to choose from.

By week 10: Hand in a three-slide summary of your project (the lab session this week will be dedicated to your work on these slides).

  • Describe the idea advanced in the article.
  • Give historical perspective on this work by listing other relevant articles.
  • Make a preliminary list of issues that you will discuss in your final presentation.

Slide template (PDF)

By week 12: We will give you feedback on your slides, so that you can make an excellent final presentation.

By week 14: Write a report on the article (10 page limit). Your report should contain a brief description of the article, outlining the most significant findings. (There is no need to retell the article; rather, attach a copy of it to your report.)

The main part of the report should discuss the merits of the conclusions of the article. For example: Place these conclusions in the light of other people’s findings. Tell us of inconsistencies in the analysis. Is there a point that the authors failed to discuss? Is there another way to explain the presented data? What are the technological limits of the described devices or ideas? Speculate on the next steps researchers in the field should take. In essence, tell us how this article contributes to the knowledge of the field it explores.

In week 14, during the lecture and lab sessions, each student will make a 9-minute presentation to the class. The presentation will be followed by a 3-minute question and answer period from the class. The style of your presentation should be similar to a conference paper; in the limited time available, you want to convey the substance, advantages, and failures of the studied work.