Research Methodology & Ethics
Research Methodology & Ethics (4610): (1 weighted high school science credit).
Students will study contemporary issues in scientific research while conducting independent research projects outside of class. Students are encouraged to select projects consistent with their strand or career goals. Course topics include research design strategies, data analysis and representation (with and without computer-assistance), norms of conduct for ethical research behavior, and the historical basis for current research regulations, among others. All students must conduct a review of the primary literature to support their research design assumptions, prepare and present a plan of their proposed research for institutional review and approval, conduct their studies and report their findings via formal technical paper as well as oral presentation. All students present posters in our junior science symposium, judged by professionals in various fields. All students complete application materials for the Tidewater Science and Engineering Fair, and participation in this, and other fairs, is highly encouraged. This course will serve as a preparatory course for the Honor Research and Mentorship Program.
Honors Research & Mentorship
Environmental Science: Research Applications / Mentorship (4271 / 4612): (2 weighted high school science credits).
In the fall semester, students integrate aspects of biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics in the study of the environment. Exploration of relationships between organisms and their biotic and abiotic environment at multiple levels of biological system hierarchy serves as the foundation for this course. Laboratory and fieldwork are integral components of the course. Students undertake field sampling for water quality and biotic components. While analyzing their own data, students will become familiar with concepts such as spatial and temporal variation in natural systems, species diversity, and community similarity indices. Critical thinking, risk analysis, and cost-benefit analysis will be emphasized as students identify and analyze alternative solutions to complex environmental problems. Current or ongoing environmental issues and/or case histories will be emphasized. Spring semester will emphasize ecological principals from physiological ecology to ecosystem ecology. Mentorship involves students in concentrated research or project development in firms and laboratories throughout the Tidewater area. Students are supervised by mentors who are scientists, engineers, physicians and other professionals. Students plan, implement, document and present research or projects chosen in consultation with their mentors. Students refine their research and presentation techniques, problem-solving, critical thinking and leadership skills. Students gain proficiency with Minitab statistical software for presentation and analysis of data. This course provides students with an opportunity to integrate theory, knowledge and application through a research experience.