Narendra D. Deshmukh
Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai, India
Experimental competencies such as asking questions, designing experiments, observing, disseminating results, forms a crucial part of learning for biology students. The objective of this preliminary study is to explore undergraduate students’ formulating of experimental design of simple model systems during experimentation. Students worked in groups on three assays of fruit fly, earthworm, snail. We sought their illustration of experimental design through written and drawn responses. Further, they were specifically asked to list the parameters such as control, treatment, independent and dependent variables in their experiments. It is observed that students have illustrated experimental design quite well, though there were confusions about assigning variables explicitly. The study highlights that although students are performing experiments, there is a disconnect with the research methodology context at the undergraduate level. This preliminary study discusses aspects of experimentation along with implications.
Keywords. Experimentation, experimental design, variables, scientific method, model organisms, undergraduate biology