Not only are my undergrads producing publishable research, they are learning better and developing an arsenal of talent and knowledge to carry into the classroom and beyond. It’s very fortunate for me because I love research and I love teaching. Now, I can do both at the same time.
Scott Stevens, Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Vertebrate Interactoms Mapping Stream
Research Methods is the first course in the FRI course sequence. It is taken in your first semester, as you start your UT degree. This course is non-discipline specific, meaning each class includes students from many different majors. The content varies from instructor to instructor, but in general, it has
two main objectives:
- To kindle a passion and facility for scientific inquiry; and
- To develop skills for independent and intelligent experiment design, execution, analysis and presentation.
Typical course topics may include:
- Critical thinking
- The scientific method
- Experiment design
- Data acquisition and analysis
- Signal processing
- Presentation of results
- Scientific literature
- The research process
- The scientific enterprise
Research Methods generally involves both lecture and lab times. You may be required to perform experiments on your own and/or in groups. Experiments are inquiry-based and will expect independence and thought. You will write scientific reports and may create an original research proposal
Although Research Methods is designed to be the entrance to the FRI program, and will prepare you for your time in a research lab, the course is also useful on its own. It will help you see what it means to be a scientist and what it feels like to conduct research in the laboratory. It can help you see whether or not this is a possible career path for you. Even if you find that research is not your cup of tea, you will still be a more informed citizen who understands how science progresses, who knows how to find out more about a topic that interests you, and who can think critically about the world around them.