Honors 101: The Nature and Practice of Science

General Description

The main goal of this FYS will be for each student to learn the skills necessary to write a medium to long research paper and do a presentation of that research. Of course, we will still concentrate on the main topic - science - and have regular readings, discussions, and small papers but our main task will be that research paper. This is a skill that almost any professional will need in their life. A common scenario for science-oriented people might be that your boss says "Say. I was just reading about this new technology A. I need someone to look into this and write a white paper explaining the technology and how it could help our company stay at the leading edge. Could you please do some research, produce that paper for myself and the other appropriate people, and do a presentation of what you find to our group?" (Of course, a similar question could be asked of someone in politics or philosophy or theology or any other subject which is why all students at CSB/SJU do a similar project in their second semester FYS.)

The research paper will last the entire semester and will consist, roughly, of the following:

  1. Find (with our aid) an appropriate topic.
  2. Do the initial library research to get a basic understanding of the topic. (We will schedule multiple library research classes as the semester goes on.)
  3. Spend some time learning how to cite sources and use material without plagiarism.
  4. Create a basic outline of what your paper should be like.
  5. Do more in-depth research to fill in the gaps in the material in your outline.
  6. Write the paper in several graded drafts.
  7. Do a final 15 minute presentation of your paper in front of the class.
The goal is to teach you those skills any competent professional must have to be successful. (It is also one of the reasons why our students are in such demand in industry. Our students not only know the material they majored in, but they can also present what they know in a way that is useful to other professionals and more general audiences.)

We also want to make it clear that although we are not faculty from the English department, we can help you improve your ability to produce good papers and presentations. Not only did we have to do a lot of writing, discussion, and research as undergraduates, we also had to do the much more difficult task of producing original research to get our PhD's and, as part of that, write an extensive thesis and, then, defend it before a group of other specialists who made absolutely certain we could express our ideas well both in that thesis and in our presentation of the work. Further, like all academics, our professional careers require that we keep up with the literature in our fields and serve as reviewers of the work of other scientists (critical reading), write professional papers for publication in journals (writing), present our results at professional conferences (oral presentation), and take part in panels, workshops,  and other discussion groups involved in evaluating current scientific problems (discussion).

Since every student in Mapcores is expected to produce research as a senior it is especially critical for you to learn how to present the results of that research.

Next: Grading

Email: lziegler@csbsju.edu    jcrumley@csbsju.edu   knairn@csbsju.edu