Select Undergraduate Papers: Real Term & Research Papers That Received Top Grades in College

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Since I think research is an activity for becoming academics, I'm not really interested in conducting research, and it is irrelevant to medical students, who want to actively take part in clinical practice, not research position, in the future, like me. In addition, medical students in this study conceived research as experiment, hypothesis testing or lonely activity of scientists. The term "research" tended to give the medical students a certain impression in association with science experiment. There is no chance to communicate with others. So, I have a negative impression that research is a lonely activity.

So, it is conducted so as to reveal the truth logically based on objective data. I feel it boring and time consuming. Lastly, their perception of research was related to its outcome and output. Students emphasized "an epoch-making discovery" and "advancement of knowledge" as keywords regarding research.

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They tended to regard research as scientists' activity which presents new perspective of a certain study field and solution to complex problems. That is, at the early stage of the research project course, the majority of participants in this study thought that undergraduates' life was unrelated to research involvement:.

I think publication of journal article and conference presentation can be central to research activity. I haven't conducted research before, so it's just my impression, but I research works would be achieved by the limited great figures, experts, in academic fields. Data analysis of the second post interview showed their increased attention to research processes, including autonomy, collaborative working and knowledge construction processes. Furthermore, through participation in research project, they realised that research has something to do with learning process in their own context of studying at the medical school.

That is, their perceptions of research were related to experiment, solitude and exhaustive work in Week 2, whereas they could view research as social and cognitive processes of daily activity in the final week. Table 2 provides a summary of their perceptions of research in the final week. As shown in Table 2 , students recognised the linkage of research and learning through participation in research project.

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In Week 2, they perceived research and learning as separate activities. Specifically, research was viewed as an irrelevant activity to undergraduates' life and also as an activity which was undertaken only by someone who pursues an academic career. However, they began to relate the process of research to their learning experiences during the course.

S2 said:. Like, it includes investigation of what I want to know, information gathering necessary to the goals, and a study meeting with my friends outside classroom. I think what I did in our research project was exactly congruent to the process of learning. In addition to students' awareness of linkage between learning and research processes, research could be viewed as process of inquiry by them in the final week.

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Students said that researcher autonomy or inquiring mind is a core concept of research. S11 emphasised the importance of inquiring mind in doing research:. For example, we researched students' perceptions of career choice as medical doctor and family, umm, sharing housework with partner. People's perceptions vary according to their background, and we couldn't draw one definite conclusion from data. However, I really enjoyed working in this process, and my inquiring mind made me participate more actively in the research project.

Moreover, he noticed that research could be seen as not a special activity of scientist but a daily activity of people. So, research is to investigate what I want to know on my initiative. In the first interview, I said I had no idea about research, but now I feel research can include not only scientists' work but also our daily activity of learning. As students in this study were engaged in research work as a group, some participants viewed research from a social, interpersonal perspective. In the first interview, research was seen as scientist's lonely activity, whereas students mentioned in the second interview that research was collaborative work.

S3 said:. It is important for each member to actively make contribution to the research project. I needed to understand how I could contribute to group work, like my own role in this group. Before I participated in this course, I thought research should be done alone, but now I realize that research also includes group work, and collaborative work with members is really essential to the research project.

From a cognitive perspective, research was viewed as a knowledge construction process by them in the final week. S14 said:. It was very difficult to answer our research questions based on such an extensive data obtained from interview and questionnaire survey and we struggled to interpret those data, but I noticed that this process of thinking was research.

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Therefore, analysis of interview data shows that students' perceptions of research have changed qualitatively through experience in conducting research. Students who could have a process-oriented perception of research took a qualitatively deeper approach to learning during the course.

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Five themes regarding deep approach to learning emerged from the analysis of interview data: inquiring mind, synthesis of knowledge, active participation, collaborative learning and reflective learning. Firstly, their inquiring mind intrinsically motivated their engagement with the research. As S4 mentioned, he did not feel that he was forced to do the research project by someone in a mandatory course.

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Such motivation has led to their deep approaches to learning. Now, I'm not reluctantly doing research under someone's instruction. Rather, with tutor's advices, I'm carrying out the research on my own initiative, umm, pursue what I want to know for my own sake. I felt only questionnaire was not enough to better understand their attitudes toward PBL.

Secondly, students expressed synthesis of knowledge which is a more complex cognitive process in Bloom's taxonomy. S11's comments implied that interpretation of the phenomenon involved comparison, integration and categorisation of data:.

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Apparently, I supposed that those data were not interrelated, but, in fact, I realized that there was a story on what human being is behind the data. Thirdly, in transition from direct instructional context to student-centred learning context, necessity of active learning was strongly acknowledged by them. In doing research project, students needed to collect and analyse data on their own initiative in order to investigate what they want to know.


S4 said:. It was a kind of first time to work out a plan for the research project by ourselves. I realised the importance of actively study something in my career as a medical doctor through research design, data collection and analysis in the course. Fourthly, in the context of collaborative work, the importance of teamwork was also emphasised. Although S3 felt it difficult to make contribution to the group work, she realised that sharing her opinions can be essential to elaboration of research planning and data analysis in group.

At the beginning, I hesitated to do it, because I worried if my opinion would be off the point in the group discussion, but now I can say any opinions can contribute to the research work, which can be also related to teamwork.

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Lastly, each student continuously reflected on the progress of their research work, their underlying belief on research and areas of improvement in order to attain the shared goals. For instance, S5 attempted to better understand the nature of qualitative research during this course, and he noticed that this reflective process actually led to his meaningful learning. This kind of reflection on what I did and repeatedly thinking of qualitative research connected to meaningful learning. Although I couldn't find out the exact answer during this course, this was a good experience for me.

S1 tried to improve the consistency of their work through reflection on the research purposes which were discussed at the early stage. S1 acknowledged the importance of reflection in doing research:. Don't forget what we originally wanted to know and clarify. When I was stuck with research planning and data analysis, I always reflected on what we discussed with respect to research questions in Week 1. Students who had only a content-oriented perception of research tended to take a strategic approach to learning, which aims to earn the highest possible grades of the course, such as well organised study methods and effective time management.

For instance, at the early stage of research project, S6 attempted to manage what he needed to do in his group by minimal effort and only followed tutors' suggestions. S6 stated:. That's why I focused on just listening to others and following others' suggestions, which was the most efficient way of completing the task.

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His main focus was on finding an efficient way of completing the task in this course. However, as he experienced a group situation where others were stuck and there was frequent silence during research planning, his approach to research project appeared to change to a deep-strategic approach. When they were completely stuck in the meeting, I strongly felt that I needed to do something.

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Once I made contribution in the discussion, I started to enjoy participating in this project. Although his main aim was to complete the task and to obtain safe grade in this research course, he could take a leadership in the group and share his opinions more actively. This study identified four main inclusive factors which led to the Japanese medical students in this study expressing practical difficulties in the course:. The first factor is their prior learning experiences. Students identified a gap in the instructional approaches between their prior learning experiences and undergraduate research.