Teaching and the Primary Literature

Since I started teaching in 2011, I have been interested in using the primary literature to help students internalize the norms of scientific writing; expose students to cutting edge research; and provide students with opportunities to recognize course concepts in the context of authentic data.

I have developed a series of six capstone assignments to be used in quantitative analysis/analytical chemistry coursework and in instrumental analysis. These assignments include a guided out-of-class reading assignment and in-class discussion questions. They are freely available under a Creative Commons license via the Analytical Sciences Digital Library. In 2016, I wrote an open-access column on teaching with the primary literature for Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry‘s ABCs of Education and Professional Development in Analytical Science and presented on this topic at the Canadian Society of Chemistry meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Drawing on the models on the ASDL site, a number of other faculty have now written similar assignments.

As part of my Cottrell Scholar award, I wrote a series of shorter assignments based on the literature for use throughout the analytical chemistry curriculum in the classroom, as homework, and on exams. In collaboration with Rebecca Hunter at TCNJ, these assignments and the rationale for them were published in 2022 in the Journal of Chemical Education under a CC-ND-NC-BY license.