Midterm Assignment: Written Critique of a Primary Research Paper

Students will prepare a 1,000-word document due at the beginning of week 7. Students will choose a paper from a list of suggestions provided on week 4. The document should contain a summary of the main goal(s) of the paper, a description of the experiments including the methods and controls used, a statement of the conclusions and how well they are supported by the evidence, and a suggestion of one to two future experiments. The description of the experiments should identify and critically discuss THE key experiment and THE key control(s) for that experiment. Feedback about this assignment will be provided before the start of the final assignment such that students can incorporate this feedback while completing their oral presentation.

Final Assignment: Oral Critique of a Primary Research Paper

At the last session, each student will present an oral critique of a recent primary paper, including analysis of the figures, experimental design, results, and conclusions. This presentation should include 2–3 slides of background information, 1 slide stating the goals of the paper, 1–2 slides per figure and table to explain the experimental design (including control experiments) and results, 1 slide explaining how well the key conclusions are supported, and a concluding slide proposing future experiments inspired by this paper. The presentation should be 15 minutes, and class discussion will occur during the course of the presentation. A detailed handout with additional guidance about preparing the slides and presentation will be provided. Students will be given a list of papers to choose from in week 10. Presentations will take place in week 13.