Towards student autonomy in literature and field research

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Research and Development in Higher Education: The Student Experience Vol. 32

July, 2009, 715 pages
Published by
Helen Wozniak and Sonia Bartoluzzi
0 908557 78 7

Various studies have shown the advantages of undergraduate students participating in research, including improved performance, motivation to complete studies and progression rates to Higher Degrees by Research. A contemporary focus is on how these advantages may be realised for all undergraduate students within the curriculum. A small number of studies have measured tangible improvements based on objective data, showing the benefits of explicit research skill development in the curriculum on laboratory research skill and on exam grades. This retrospective correlational study involving 5 consecutive cohorts in First Year Human Biology courses found a surprising increase in correlation over the 5 year period between the skill measures of the final prescribed literature research task in the First Semester, and of the open-ended field-based research in Second Semester. One major implication is that the explicit development of student literature research skills may facilitate the development of some of the skills required for complex, open-ended field research.

Keywords: research skill development, literature and field research, curriculum design

Towards student autonomy in literature and field research

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Willison, J., Peirce, E. & Ricci, M.