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ERIC Number: EJ1062140
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Qualitative to Quantitative and Spectrum to Report: An Instrument-Focused Research Methods Course for First-Year Students
Thomas, Alyssa C.; Boucher, Michelle A.; Pulliam, Curtis R.
Journal of Chemical Education, v92 n3 p439-443 Mar 2015
Our Introduction to Research Methods course is a first-year majors course built around the idea of helping students learn to work like chemists, write like chemists, and think like chemists. We have developed this course as a hybrid hands-on/ lecture experience built around instrumentation use and report preparation. We take the product from one of our general chemistry laboratories, the synthesis of aspirin, which is characterized qualitatively (FeCl[subscript 3], FT-IR) in the laboratory sequence and we characterize it quantitatively ([superscript 1]H and [superscript 13]C NMR, GC-MS) as part of the majors course. We want to give the students the opportunity to generate as much data from their aspirin sample as we possibly can, since the data and the spectra allow students to begin to think like chemists and use the methods by which we "see" (visualize and study) molecules. Students prepare an ACS-style laboratory report detailing the synthesis and spectroscopic analysis of aspirin. The laboratory report is prepared in stages, where each procedure is discussed as a class as to why we performed it, what it indicates, what it does not indicate, and what it means overall. The course ends with the presentation of a research proposal where they design the synthesis of a target ester and anticipate the results of qualitative tests for the proposed synthetic product as well as predict what the spectra will look like. This process of report writing and proposal presentation has resulted in students being more confident and ready to enter the organic chemistry sequence and participate in research in our laboratories.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE-ILI-9351955