BI415 Senior Research

for SP 2012

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Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


BI 415 Senior Research


SP 2012 HOA


Sanders, Carol


Associate Professor of Biology


B.S.E.,  Univ of Central Arkansas
M.S. Univ of Central Arkansas
Ph.D. University of Mississippi

Office Location

SC 114

Office Hours

W: 11-12, F: 10-11:30 a.m., By appointment

Daytime Phone


Other Phone



Semester Dates

Jan 16-  May 11, 2012

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours



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Course Description:
BI415: Senior Research: This hands-on research course is the third component of the four-course Senior Research Capstone. Students will be expected to conduct research following the creation of a proposal in BI306 that will culminate in the production of a research paper and presentation. Projects will vary depending upon the interest and capabilities of the student and selected mentor. The final work will be evaluated by the Biology faculty. The completed research paper will be the core assessment as judged by the Biology Program faculty. 3:0:3

Class Assessment:


This course is a limited, but original biological research project which will investigate (a) specific biological question(s) in an experimental manner.  Data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted.  Conclusions will be derived and limitations of the study will be determined.  The ultimate results of this project, no matter the degree of success, will be reported in both a written research report of the proper form and as one or more formal oral presentations.
Students excelling in this course will gain vital experience in conducting research, collecting data and performing critical analysis in pursuit of the academic scholarly model.  Students will train in a focused area under the direct supervision of a facult mentor to become a researcher.  Undergraduate research students will work collaboratively with their mentor to plan a course of study, formulate appropriate research questions, develop appropriate conceptual and technical skills, evaluate research findings, draw conclusions, and present a scholarly summary of this work in both written and oral reports.  Participants can expect to present their research findings, or a progress report, at Park's Annual Research and Creative Arts Symposium.  The student will also create a poster suitable for presentation at a scientific association conference.
This project will complement and expand on a traditional biology education by emphasizing two essentials of a superior education:
  1. Active involvment of the student in performing all aspects of research scholarship--as opposed to acting as the passive recipient of other people's written and spoken words of wisdom.
  2. Training in all phases of "research" is provided under optimal supervision by direct collaboration with (a) faculty mentor(s). The student benefits from considerable guidance from the faculty in planning a course of study, formulating research questions, developing conceptual and technical skills, evaluation research findings and presenting research in both written and oral reports.
General Rules:
  1. Students and mentors will communicate regularly concerning continued research activities and projections of what will be accomplished.
  2. Students must have approval of the instructor to enroll in 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 faculty 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. Because BI415 is a 3 hour class, there is an expectation by the department and mentor that the student will spend an average of 9 hours each week working on their project. Over the course of a 16-week semester, the student will devote approximately 144 hours to their research.
  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 responsibility of the mentor(s) to work with the student toward the successful completion of the project.  However it is FINALLY the responsibility to complete the project.


The following will be used to determine the grade earned in the course.
  • attendance and communication with mentor
  • completion of sections of the final product according to established schedule
  • final paper

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

  1. The undergraduate research student and faculty mentor will meet on average once a week at a mutually aggreed upon time. (including email communications)
  2. The student will maintain a record of discussion and research plans for each week as well as actual work conducted.
  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:

The following will be used to determine the grade earned in the course.
  • Attend meetings biweekly beginning with 1/18/2012
  • Increase sample size from the current 30
  • Provide an annotated bibliography of at least 20 sources by 2/1/12
  • Increase bibliography size by 5 by 2/15/12
  • Provide a rough draft of the introduction by 2/1/12
  • Add draft of materials & methods by 2/15/12
  • Revise introduction with input from Sanders 2/15/12
  • Add results to spreadsheet obtained from the samples within 1 week of collection
  • Perform analysis of data by 2/29/12
  • Begin preparing the discussion and conclusions by 2/29/12
  • Submit work to the Student Research and Creative Arts Symposium
  • Finalize work by 3/14/12

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

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:1/18/2012 11:03:23 AM