Access to knowledge is unlimited for anyone with an internet connection; however, the difficulty in beginning scientific research starts with teasing apart peer-reviewed literature from everything else. This session focuses on training students in identifying characteristics associated with reliable sources and how to navigate search engines and platforms in an efficient manner. Once an understanding peer-reviewed research is understood, students can begin to identify their original research proposal and learn how to properly summarize their null and alternate hypotheses and connect those hypotheses to previous research.
Those in the scientific field remember learning multiple lab-based skills through science courses or in their first years as a technician. Our focus with this session is to prepare students for those tasks by training students to use equipment in a safe manner. While some students may not use all these skills within their own research, our hope is that understanding these essential skills will better prepare them in their scientific careers ahead. These aspects include:
understanding chemical safety labels and pictograms & GHS compliant safety standards and labels,
learning how to properly use fume hoods and biosafety cabinets,
differentiating biosafety level (BSL) facilities,
creating percent concentration and molar concentration solutions,
properly using various types of scientific equipment (e.g. micropipettes, centrifuges, digital scales)
Testing an alternate hypothesis can be achieved only with a well-thought out and specific experimental design. This session will teach students how to think about and quantify data sets and, more importantly how to design and execute an experiment. We will discuss the flaws that can indirectly be created through experiments like pseudo-replication and will give students the opportunity to identify bias they might bring to their experiment. This session will also describe differences between types and scales of biological data (e.g. nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio, and discrete vs. continuous data sets).
While many variables within scientific research can be quantified, there are numerous scenarios in which descriptive characters are valuable to an experiment. Aspects within behavioral and human-focused research can provide an in-depth answer to a question when qualitative research is done correctly. This session will teach students the benefits of conducting qualitative experimental research.
The volume of knowledge through scientific discoveries has advanced our ability to survive and to improve our quality of life. Unfortunately, some studies conducted under the umbrella of science have an extremely unethical past. This session will discuss ethics as it relates to animal research in two categories: a broad discussion of ethics when working with invertebrate and vertebrate animals, and a discussion of unethical human research that has been conducted and its effects on the perception of advancing scientific knowledge. Students will discuss multiple topics including:
how the Tuskegee study of syphilis in Black males between the 1930s and 1970s created a serious distrust between Black communities and the medical community,
experimentation on prisoners before and during World War II,
government research conducted on uninformed, indigenous, or minority populations globally over the past centuries, and
how the implementation of guiding principles for ethical research through the National Institute for Health (NIH) & declaration of Helsinki created a set of standards for human-based research.
Our hope is that this session provides insight into how students should conduct their own research at St. Andrew’s and in their future careers. By understanding the mistakes made in the past, our students can better understand the protocols set in place and the history of perception of scientific research.
An original research question with an in-depth experimental design can be tested only using a proper statistical analysis. During this session, students will discuss the mistakes commonly made in univariate and multivariate statistical testing, identify the differences between parametric and nonparametric testing, describe how specific statistical analyses can be used to appropriately reject or fail-to-reject a null hypothesis, and learn how to use statistical software to appropriately analyze their original data set.
The advancement of scientific knowledge can occur only when studies are summarized and disseminated to a broader community. This program culminates in students’ ultimately presenting their original research at the regional science fair. This session will teach students how to summarize a research project in a succinct manner and how to appropriately construct a poster.
Our final hope is that students leave this program not only being able to create, execute, and analyze an original scientific question, but also having the tools necessary to appropriately describe that research to others. This session will first discuss best approaches in communicating to others within the scientific community and to those without the background knowledge in that area of research. Students will also work with experts in the fine arts department at St. Andrew’s to learn skills valuable to public speaking and engaging others.