Research Methods

Taught by Dr. Serena McCalla

YEAR 1 (Research Methods, an Introduction and Project Planning)
1. Introduction to the scientific method

Data Science vs. Wet Bench Research
Asking questions that can be answered using data science (problem)
2. Critical Thinking and Referencing
Thinking and Writing as a Scientist
Referencing styles: APA vs. MLA and others
3. Identifying Project Ideas with Dr. McCalla
- Part I
Identifying project ideas , research questions, and science interests (identifying your passions in science)
Reviewing literature and questions identified in the literature
4. Finding cues in peer-reviewed literature
Understanding and leveraging academic resources (background literature)
How to properly “dissect” peer-reviewed literature (primary and secondary sources)
Using peer-reviewed literature to support future project ideas
5. Identifying Project Ideas with Dr. McCalla - Part II
Narrowing your initial question and building a rationale
Narrowing project ideas, research questions, and science interests
Reviewing literature and questions identified in the literature
6. Case Study - Writing a Research Plan
Using academic sources and resources (background literature)
Writing/designing a research plan
7. Sample project build-out with Dr. McCalla
Using a known project idea to design a project and plan
Identifying regulated institutions completing similar research
Testing and designing project steps
Reviewing literature and questions identified in the literature
8. Outline of a Presentation (PowerPoint Presentations; PPT)
Presentation Examples
Case Studies on what to do and not do in a presentation
Schemes and means to enhance presentations
9. Building your presentation and preparing for competition
Outline of PPT presentation/project ideas (2 competitions, national)
The “Funnel Effect”
Introduction to Purpose
Reviewing literature and questions to support findings
Methodology
Results and Discussion
Case Studies on what to do and not do in print
Schemes and means to enhance presentations
Conclusions and Future Investigations
10. Outline of a Presentation (PPT) - Participant PPT creation and presentation
Presentation Examples
Building your presentation
Presentation Examples
Finalizing your presentation
Outline of PPT presentation (Oral)
Case Studies on what to do and not do orally
Schemes and means to enhance oral presentations
 
Benchmarks: Individual presentation creation and practice; group oral presentations and critiques (in PPT); preparation for competitions


YEAR 2 (Focus on Individual Projects, Project Execution)
1. Reviewing Project Ideas with Dr. McCalla and iResearch Academy mentors
Narrowing project ideas, research questions, and science interests
Reviewing literature and questions identified in the literature
Reviewing project ideas and collected data
2. Review of the scientific method
Solidifying project purposes and discussions with Dr. McCalla
Pursuing individual research projects extensions related to mentor cohort and interest topic
3. Collecting raw data to address the research problem
Identifying methods
Sources for raw data collection
Clarifying methods and limitations of data associated with scientific interest
Learning how data can answer questions
4. Project Modification with Dr. McCalla
New questions that arise
Collection and analysis of additional supporting data
Reviewing literature and questions to support research project findings
5. Project Completion and Review of data with your Dr. McCalla
Addressing questions in data collection
Understanding limitations in data meaning
Reviewing literature and future investigations
Applications
6. Communicating your findings - Presentation (PPT)
Presentation practice and implementation
7. Writing a Research Abstract  
Abstract Impact
Case Studies on Abstract writing
Multiple Abstract Review
8. Writing a Research Paper
Principals in Writing a Research Paper for Publication and Competition
Case Study in Research Paper writing
Editing a Research Paper
Scientific Writing
New questions that arise
Addressing questions in data collection
Understanding limitations in data meaning
Collection and analysis of additional supporting data/future investigations
Reviewing literature and questions to support findings and applications

Benchmarks: Group Oral Presentations and Critiques (in PPT); preparation for competitions, writing of a formal and publishable research paper, discipline ready referencing, preparation for competitions

Years 3 - 5 (Competition Preparedness and Projects)
Essential Question Reports (monthly)
Prepare for competitions
Prepare for Regeneron ISEF
Prepare for Regeneron STS