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Program Objectives

ESS 220 Course Objectives, Fall Semester (1 Credit)

  1. Learn professional skills including time management, communication and other to connect with a mentor, and to increase productivity and success in research. Discuss executive function skills that are important to success in ecological research.
  2. Understand different types of research and their goals and approaches (e.g., basic vs. applied, quantitative vs. qualitative, deductive vs. inductive, etc.).
  3. Use library resources to conduct a focused literature search.
  4. Read and evaluate the literature.
  5. Learn to save and document sources using citation management software (e.g., Mendeley, Zotero, Endnote), and to properly cite references in APA format.
  6. Create a useful annotated bibliography on a research area of interest related to a future mentored project.
  7. Form high quality research questions with a testable hypothesis.
  8. Write a clear and concise problem statement to generate interest in a research project.
  9. Learn different tools and approaches to test ecological and social-ecological hypotheses (experiments, observations, synthesis, meta-analysis, social science applications and methods, modeling/theory).
  10. Understand the components of good experimental design and methods (including controls; sample size; replication; and consideration variability and bias) for testing hypotheses.
  11. Understand how to properly collect, record, and manage data and documents for a research project.
  12. Learn about Participatory Research, recognize the value and place for using citizen science in research, and become familiar with and use the citizen science research platform for
  13. Be able to enter and manipulate data, and to create figures for data visualization in Microsoft Excel. Understand how to create a figure that relates to the hypothesis.
  14. Improve peer review skills through practice.
  15. Understand the value and aims of collaboration for developing scientific ideas and conducting research.


ESS 221 Course Objectives, Spring Semester (1 Credit)

  1. Apply time management, long-term project planning, communication and other professional skills to increase productivity and success in spring research projects.
  2. Keep research and field notes to document research activities and time spent, as well as progress, questions, things learned, observations, insights, meeting notes and other important information.
  3. Apply data management skills to spring research projects.
  4. Form a good research question(s) with a testable hypothesis related to spring research projects.
  5. Understand the importance of ethics in scientific work and how to do research (collect and manage data and communicate results) in an ethical fashion.
  6. Practice good experimental design (including controls, replication, variability, bias, and sample size as required) for testing a hypothesis, with guidance from a research mentor.
  7. Communicate research results to an academic audience in a well-organized and well-designed research poster, including well-crafted introduction, methods, results, conclusions and discussion sections.
  8. Communicate research to a general audience via 1) a personal elevator pitch, 2) a formal press release and 3) a blog.
  9. Present research at a professional student-centered symposium.
  10. Improve performance and confidence in professional situations.
  11. Create a well-crafted resume that includes new SUPER research experience and professional skills.
  12. Discuss and understand the demands, benefits, and decisions related to graduate school (panel).
  13. Understand and discuss the skills, experiences and professional qualities that employers are looking for in their hires (panel).
  14. Become adept at both giving and receiving feedback from peers, mentors and others.
  15. Understand different types of research, demonstrated by fellow students and lab groups, and their varying goals and approaches.
  16. Reflect on research experiences in synthetic written format.


ESS 298 Objectives, Spring Semester

Work with a research mentor to:

  1. Create a work plan for a research project that ensures timely completion of deliverables.
  2. Craft research questions and hypotheses for a mentored research project.
  3. Apply readings to research program goals and design.
  4. Participate in research team meetings.
  5. Participate in all areas of research activities as appropriate for the individual project (meetings, field data collection, data entry, data analysis, data manipulation, methods development, data analysis and interpretation, etc.)
  6. Establish appropriate methods to achieve project goals and answer research questions.
  7. Analyze results to answer research questions.
  8. Discuss insights gained from the research.
  9. Craft a poster to communicate research results to an academic audience.