ECEN 3070 – Edges of Science

Spring 2018




Class participation  (15%)

Most of the course is discussion-based, and so your participation is essential.  Reading the assigned material in advance is required. There may be pop quizzes testing for comprehension of the readings.


Discussion Groups

In some of the class sessions at the beginning of the semester students will be divided into thee groups: Advocates, Skeptics, and Interrogators.  Please regularly check the course schedule to see which sessions are divided into these groups. 


Advocacy Arguments  (30%)

Tight argument in favor of or against the anomalous finding

       Describe main points that support your viewpoint (not a summary of the experiment)

       Include specific arguments, not generalities

       Be quantitative where possible (p-value, effect size, number of studies, etc.)

       Be concise; limit length to about 400 words of text (references and figures, if used, are not included in this limit), corresponding to 1 page (1.5-line spaced typing) or less. Longer arguments will not be accepted.

       Structure argument in a coherent and effective way

       Dont start with a front porch, in which you summarize the reading, but instead come right out with your argument

       Does not have to reflect your own opinion

       Should leave the reader strongly convinced of your viewpoint

       Write the date of the reading on your argument page.

Based on assigned readings on days marked with a , any additional material you find and your own ideas

Submit as a Word document or equivalent, so that we can add comments

Forms the basis for the advocates in-class arguments

At least five four advocacy summaries due during the semester. If you write more than that, the lowest scores will be dropped.

Final advocacy reports due on Apr 19. You are encouraged to complete all your advocacy reports early in the semester.


Research Project                                                                    

1.     Discussion in class about projects (Feb 8). Speak with G. Moddel about your ideas.

2.     Project proposal. Outline or short description to be turned in (Feb 15), preferably on paper. Only one needs to be turned in per project group (usually 2 or 3 students). Should include:

a.     Title

b.     Other student experimenters

c.     Goal

d.     Basic procedure (does not require much detail at this point)

3.     If your research involves human (or other living) subjects you will need to get approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

a.     You will be required to first complete the Human Research Tutorial for Social Behavioral Research and receive certification by Feb 20. Use GME2018 in place of the POI number required for the CITI training.

b.     YOU WILL NEED TO READ AND FOLLOW THIS PROCEDURE IN DETAIL: Then you will need to submit a description of your protocol and participant informed consent form for review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Follow the process described in Getting Started. You dont need to request an expedited process. Use the templates provided for the protocol and consent documents after youve clicked the Expedited tab. The request can be short and to the point. Here is an example of the request (yours can be a lot shorter) and consent form. (Note that our research is not considered classroom research.). The examples that I have provided are old forms, and not in the correct format for current submission, and are provided only for you to see the sorts of wording that are appropriate.

Submit the protocol and expedited worksheet forms to G. Moddel by Feb 22, and to the HRC by Feb 27. Instructions for submission are here, and the documents should be submitted online here. To submit see the Submission Guidelines for Students, and be sure you route your submission to me as your faculty advisor. The type of review is most likely expedited review. Speak to me to determine if this is required for your project.

4.     Carry out research. You should start right after Feb 15, because you will encounter unexpected delays. Research should be totally complete by Apr 19.

5.     Project Analysis Paper. One from each student – individual, not group, work  (15%)

       On the topic of your research project.  See Paper Formats for a full description of what should go into this paper.

       Due Mar 22.                                                                                       

6.     In-class update on progress (Apr 3)

7.     Class presentation

       Present the project summary and results to the class during the last 2½ weeks of the semester on date shown on schedule

       Can be an in-class PowerPoint presentation, or you can make a video (e.g., on YouTube), or a combination.

       Organize well & practice to make sure you can complete it less than your allocated time, to allow for questions.

       Maximum time: 15 minutes, with some extending to 20 minutes for larger groups

8.     Final report due May 6.  (40%, grade includes updates and class presentation)

       The final report should be written and submitted as a group.

       This report should include the best parts of your revised Analysis Papers.

       See Paper Formats for a full description of what should go into this paper.



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