Amanda L Jones
Analysis of issues, hypothesis and experimental design and testing. Prerequisite: graduate standing in pathobiology. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: W.
The critical thinking course (Pabio 582) is designed to help Pathobiology graduate students to
1. Improve their facility in formulating hypotheses; 2. Refine their ability to think creatively about scientific questions and 3. Gain experience with experimental design.
The goal is not to critique papers but rather to use them as a starting point for brainstorming about how to pursue scientific findings, conceptually and experimentally.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
the most important part of the class involves a group discussion in which ALL of you should participate voluntarily each week (first proposing hypotheses for future study and then proposing experiments to test these hypotheses). in addition, we will be asking 1 or 2 students to do a VERY SHORT presentation (10 min) involving a summary of the paper and a summary of the field at the beginning of each class. we will be randomly assigning student presenters to facilitators in the next 2 days, and hope to send you all your presentation assignments by wednesday.
A paper (or 2 related papers) will be assigned well in advance of each week's meeting (same for group 1 & group 2). Papers are chosen by the faculty facilitator and will likely be related to the facilitator's field. A paper that reviews the field will probably also be recommended. ALL students should read the assigned papers carefully and become familiar with the questions addressed and the experimental strategy. The following points should be considered by all students before coming to class: What hypotheses were tested in the assigned paper? What are the implications of the results for the field in general? What questions remain unanswered? What future experiments are suggested by this work? How would you do those experiments? What are the possible outcomes? How would you interpret those outcomes? Don't limit consideration to the narrow spectrum of closely related experiments, but consider the broader issues that a research program based on this work could address. Students are encouraged to discuss the field and the paper with each other; however, they should subsequently try to develop approaches on their own so that they will have unique contributions to make during the discussion.
Class assignments and grading
Grading will be on a pass/fail basis.