Course Catalog Information
Health Sciences (HLTH_SCI)
Introduction to The Research Process and Evidence Base - Writing Intensive
This course provides an introduction to the basic quantitative and qualitative research techniques used in public health, health education and promotion, and the health professions. Conducting research, making medical decisions based on research findings, and using and interpreting research and evidence in practice settings all represent potential outcomes for students selecting a career in public health or the health professions. Graded on A-F basis only.
Restricted to Health Sciences Majors with junior or senior standing.
The Campus Writing Program conducts a two-day faculty workshop to assist with the design and implementation of your writing intensive course. Once your course proposal has been approved by the Campus Writing Program, you will receive information on time, date and location of the workshop.
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Honors Course Information
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Writing Intensive Course Information
The course provides an introduction to the basic quantitative and qualitative research techniques used in public health and the health professions. Potential outcomes for students selecting a career in the health professions include conducting research, making medical decisions based on research findings, and using and interpreting research and evidence in practice settings. At the end of the course, students should have the skills necessary to better understand, conduct, and evaluate research to meet these professional requirements. Throughout the semester, students will learn about the basic elements of research, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of various research methodologies. Topics include research ethics, designs, methods, and analyses, among others. This course is writing intensive. Writing facilitates critical thinking and represents an important and highly desirable professional skill. Students will possess the capacity to cogently express their own ideas in writing and will also know how to provide and receive critical feedback on writing.
In the very beginning of the semester, I will teach required aspects of academic writing (e.g., thesis statements and structure patterns - introduction, body, conclusion, summary statement of conclusion, etc). I will also teach students how to write an outline for their final research paper and will specifically include an outline as a writing assignment (currently, I teach and encourage students to write an outline, but submitting it is not mandatory). I will also allocate more writing time in class. That is, I will give students a certain amount of time (30 minutes) to write a piece of their own research paper, such as the introduction, literature review, or discussion. As writers, one of the biggest challenges we face is to begin committing ideas to a blank page. I believe my students feel the same way, and I can help them emerge from the "blank" zone by forcing them to write something in class. During this time, they can ask me questions in person and critically think about and formulate their ideas through conversation with me in class. I have learned that many students are binge writers, so I will break the final research paper into smaller pieces so that students have to constantly write a piece of the final paper almost every week, which will prevent them from becoming binge writers.
Should this course be considered for funding?
Large Enrollment Courses:
Response Paper: Students will write a response paper on a topic chosen by the instructor. The purpose of this assignment is to see how students have already used the scientific method in their lives and to bring their attention to research methods. The paper should be between 500-750 words. Students will revise their papers in order to receive full credit for this assignment. The TA and instructor will grade the papers together. Final Research Paper: The purpose of this assignment is for students to practice accessing and writing about peer-reviewed research literature on a chosen topic relevant to work in the health sciences. Students are asked to find 8-10 peer-reviewed journal articles related to a topic and research question of their choice, to review each of them, and to integrate their reviews into some conclusions about how the research they have selected answers their research question. Students are also required to include at least two additional scholarly sources to introduce their topic and/or discuss how the articles fit within the broader literature. This assignment will proceed through several steps with pieces due over the semester resulting in a final draft (i.e., summary tables for 8-10 peer-reviewed journal articles, an outline, an intro/literature review draft, the first final draft including discussion/conclusion, and the revised final daft). Students will revise and resubmit every assignment leading up to the 20 page final research paper. All portions of this assignment and the final paper must follow APA style. The TA and instructor will grade the papers together. In-class Essays: Students will write prompted short essays on several topics regarding research (e.g., ethics, measurement, research design, and tentative topics.) They will also read new articles that utilize research methods discussed in class and critique the articles based on their knowledge of research.
Length of assignment:
Writing Intensive Teaching
Instructor provided feedback
Oral presentation by student, followed by feedback
Students will receive the instructor/TA's feedback for each assignment. Also, along with feedback from the instructor/TA, they will receive peer feedback on their final paper. Apart from this feedback, students will also give an oral presentation on their final research paper, and the instructor, TA, and peers will give individualized oral feedback after each oral presentation. Once students receive feedback, they will be required to revise their papers and write response letters to anonymous reviewers about how they addressed issues raised and feedback given to them. Because each writing assignment is submitted through Blackboard, students will have opportunities to learn how to appropriately cite and paraphrase statements. The TA and instructor will send written feedback through Blackboard for each assignment.
Because this is a course in research methods, students will learn how the same (or similar) research questions can result in different conclusions. By each choosing their own topic and research questions, students will face inconsistent findings and conclusions among the peer-reviewed articles they study, including various types of analyses and interpretations even within the same hypothesis. In order to understand, synthesize, and write about these inconsistent findings in a research paper that includes their own conclusions, they will need to think critically and understand different methods, assumptions of each study, and the weaknesses and strengths of each study (e.g., randomized control trial vs. survey vs. focus group). They will see how different research designs and methods can contribute different perceptions of phenomena and how different conclusions about the same phenomena do not necessarily create conflict in knowledge and can instead become complementary to one another.
The first writing assignment will be distributed in the very first week to bring students' attention to research methods in general and to focus on the overall writing skills required for the course. Once students have a good understanding of academic writing, the final paper assignment will be distributed. The final assignment will be composed of a series of smaller assignments that will cumulatively result in the finished final paper. First, students will choose their own topic of interest. I will ask them to find 8-10 peer-reviewed articles on that chosen topic and to also write a research question and hypothesis to guide their work. This assignment has two purposes: 1) to learn APA style and 2) to understand and write a research question and hypothesis. Second, I will ask students to fill in a summary table, which I will provide, with 4-5 peer-reviewed articles they found. This summary table will be evaluated, and then the students will fill in another summary table with an additional 4-5 articles. By breaking the summary table into two portions, it can be more manageable for students, and they can also more easily learn how to avoid plagiarism and how to appropriately cite and paraphrase someone else's ideas. Third, students will write an outline, introduction, literature review, and the first draft of their final paper. Each assignment will be revised, and students will resubmit it. They will write and work on some part of their final research papers almost every week. Every assignment will be revised based on peer and instructor feedback (both oral and written). The revised final paper will be submitted at the end of the semester.
I will give my rubric to my TA for each assignment. We will talk about the purpose of each assignment and what I expect students to learn from it. The TA and I will separately grade at least 10% of each student's assignment. Once we have graded these portions of the assignments, we will meet together and discuss feedback and the grading I'd like to give to students. I will continuously train my TA until she is very confident in grading assignments. Once we are on the same page, we will grade the rest of them. This training will be repeated for each assignment. I currently have a TA and will consider working with her in a proposed semester. I always emphasize that she should play a role as an educator, not as a police officer. She understands my teaching philosophy and functions as a helper, not a judge.