Improving student attitudes about science by integrating research into the introductory chemistry laboratory: Interdisciplinary drinking water analysis

Dana L. Richter-Egger, James P. Hagen, Frederic C. Laquer, Neal F. Grandgenett, Robert D. Shuster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


The integration of student research into a general chemistry laboratory and an environmental geology course has been evaluated for its effectiveness to improve (i) student attitudes about science and chemistry, (ii) student understanding of the nature of experimental science and the scientific method, and (iii) student perceptions of the application of science and the interdisciplinary nature of science. Students in introductory science courses frequently devote all or most of their time and effort to learning basic laboratory techniques by following predefined procedures that have intentionally predictable outcomes. Though this longstanding model of laboratory structure is an important means of effectively preparing students for future chemical study, it often neglects items i-iii. Students were guided through a research experience by an interdisciplinary team of faculty so that students could begin the research and bring it to an appropriate conclusion, including formal presentations, within a singlesemester. Evaluation of this instructional strategy indicated that students believed they were doing work similar to a research scientist, that they appreciated this opportunity to do research, that it increased how much they like science in general, and that they were more likely to consider majoring in chemistry. The advanced instrumentation, personal relevance of the research, and collaborations (within and outside the department) contributed significantly to the overall success of the project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-868
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 27 2010



  • Chemical education research
  • Chromatography
  • Collaborative/Cooperative Learning
  • Environmental chemistry
  • First-year undergraduate/general
  • Geochemistry
  • Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives
  • Interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary
  • Laboratory Instruction
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Separation Science
  • Student-Centered learning
  • Undergraduate research
  • Upper-division undergraduate
  • Water/water chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Education

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