BI422 Indv Research & Indp Invest

for FA 2009

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BI 422 Individual Research and Independent Investigation


FA 2009 HOZ


Taulman, James


Assistant Professor of Biology


PhD Zoology, University of Arkansas, postdoc Conservation Biology/GIS
MS Biology, Central Washington University
BA Math, BS Biology, Univ. Texas at Arlington

Office Location

Sc 101

Office Hours

M-W-F 10:00-11:00, T-Th 9:00 - 11:30, and by appointment

Daytime Phone



Web Page

Semester Dates

Aug. 17, 2009 - Dec. 10, 2009

Class Days

Lecture:  Monday, Wednesday, Friday; Lab:  M-W-F

Class Time

Lecture:  M-W-F 8:00 - 9:00 AM, M-W 12:00 - 1:15 PM; Lab: M-W-F:  1:30 - 4:20 PM

Credit Hours




No text for this course. Scientific literature supplied by the instructor and collected through the student’s research will provide needed background information and subject matter expertise.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
BI422 Individual Research and Independent Investigation: A small original biological investigation and a written report of the findings, prepared in scientific format. This course is designed as a hands-on undergraduate research project supervised directly by a faculty mentor.  It will emphasize nurturing and developing the student's interest in making inquiries into the natural world.  Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Variable credit: 1-3 hours.

Educational Philosophy:

In this course the student will be able to learn through hands-on practice and application of research techniques, data analysis, and report writing, under the direction of the instructor. Background scientific literature will also provide the student with a fuller knowledge of the research topic and allow interpretation of study results in light of current understanding.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Design and experimentally research a defined area of biology
  2. Collect and evaluate experimental data
  3. Compose a written synthesis and evaluation of their findings in proper scientific format
  4. Prepare and deliver an oral presentation of their experimental research in a proper scientific format

Core Assessment:

§         Term paper (CA)

§     Oral presentation

Class Assessment:


1. Data collection in a systematic and timely fashion, using methods described in proposal.  20%

2. Weekly meetings with advisor to discuss progress of research and modify study protocol as required.  20%

3.  Analysis of results and written report submitted at the end of the semester.  50%

4.  Oral and/or poster presentation of results of study.  10%


Grading Scale: 
A = >= 90
B = 80 - 89
C = 70 - 79
D = 60 - 69
F = <= 59

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Not permitted

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1. The undergraduate research student and faculty mentor will meet on average once a week at a mutually agreeable time.

2. Student will take notes concerning what is discussed and research plans for the next week.

3. Periodic work sessions will be scheduled to ensure completion of the project.

4. Every effort should be made to complete the investigation in a reasonable length of time.

5. Progress of the research project will be discussed with the departmental chair and any interested faculty.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Coursework will consist of growing season field work and later data analysis and writing.  Forest characteristics will be measured at a group of macroplots randomly selected throughout the Park University campus forest. Three macroplots were measured during the Maymester class, 2009. Seventeen additional macroplots will be completed during summer 2009.

In addition, a set of daytime nesting sites of 2 raccoons will also be plotted and comparisons made of forest characteristics at raccoon nest sites and random forest plots. Some new raccoon nest sites may need to be obtained using radiotelemetry equipment for the following reasons: 1) current nesting locations were obtained during late winter and early spring before leaf growth in the forest and comparing forest characteristics associated with leaf cover between winter and summer plots will not be meaningful with respect to raccoon ecology, and 2) raccoon nest trees, for which GPS coordinates were previously obtained, were not generally tagged for future identification and relocation, therefore navigating back to the original tree may not be possible.

Work will be undertaken with the assistance of another student who will be a co-investigator on the project and junior author on the final report and presentations.

General rules:

     1. Students will communicate regularly with their academic mentor and academic advisor concerning continued research activities and projections of what will be accomplished.   
     2. Students must have approval of the instructor to enroll or to continue with their research.    
     3. The research mentor(s) will directly oversee and guide the student through the particulars of the research process. 
     4. While all course arrangements are made between the student and the research mentor(s), the student must continue to show visible progress in their plan of study. 
     5. As with all research, the outcome may not turn out as expected. The goal of this research arrangement is to allow students the opportunity to engage in advanced studies; thus, the process itself is just as important as the product.   
     6. For each semester of BI415, the student is enrolled for from 2-3 credit hours. This means there is an expectation by the department and mentor that the student will spend an average of 3-9 hourseach week working on their project. Over the course of a 16-week semester, the student will devote approximately 48-164 hours to their research project. 
     7. The nature of research means that there will be some weeks where little progress is made and other times when rapid progress is made and the student spends all their spare time working on research. It is the research mentor(s)’s responsibility to work with the student to determine the amount of time and the time distribution required for each project.     

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:8/14/2009 12:44:33 PM