The advanced inorganic chemistry course is completed by all chemistry majors at Wabash College during the fall of their senior year. The capstone character of the course provides an excellent opportunity for utilizing an investigator model of laboratory learning. Student teams are responsible for the preparation of a formal, National Science Foundation (NSF) styled proposal stating the goals, context, experimental timetable, safety considerations, and budget for the execution of an original laboratory project. Proposal preparation is based upon mock NSF styled solicitation documents and guidelines.
Preliminary and full proposals are completed and defended in an oral presentation to the class. Each student team is provided with a modest budget and five weeks of regular laboratory meetings toward the end of the semester. Students must anchor their projects in the primary literature through the literature survey portion of their proposals and are encouraged to explore methods of synthesis and characterization that may not have been encountered throughout the chemistry curriculum and to revisit the fundamental techniques that have. Emphasis is placed upon dissemination of research results in the form of a paper, written in a contemporary journal article format, and an oral presentation given to the class. This experience provides students a glimpse into the planning, resources, and sweat equity that is required of modern research.
|Prelimary Literature Search and Topic Selection.doc||132.5 KB|
|Preliminary Proposals.doc||131.5 KB|
|Mock NSF Solicitation.doc||58.5 KB|
|Research Proposal Qualitative Feedback Sheet.doc||33 KB|
|Research Proposal Quantitative Gradesheet.doc||35.5 KB|
Student teams will:
Survey the primary inorganic literature and identify a complex or material synthesis article that will be modified to form the basis of an original proposal and multi-week laboratory project.
Use a mock NSF styled solicitation document to write a preliminary and full proposal.
Present a defense of their proposal in the form of a brief oral presentation.
Appreciate the planning, resources, and safety considerations required for modern chemical research.
Proposal writing will require access to the primary literature and a suitable searchable abstract database. The subsequent laboratory projects will require various apparatus and materials.
The proposal writing project is subdivided into several smaller assignments including: (1) preliminary literature search and topic selection; (2) preliminary proposal; (3) full proposal; (4) oral presentation/defense. Substantive feedback is provided at each step via faculty and/or peer revision. Proposals are typically completed by early October in order to provide time for materials ordering and acquisition so that the final five weeks of laboratory may be devoted to the execution of the student projects.