A Successful Introduction of Authentic Research Early in an Undergraduate Atmospheric Science Program Academic Article uri icon


  • Participating in scientific research as an undergraduate student provides an opportunity to increase understanding of how scientific knowledge is advanced, to learn new research tools, to develop the ability to critically analyze new ideas, and to practice disseminating scientific findings. This experience unfortunately has traditionally been limited to students that can participate in select programs (e.g., summer research experiences, undergraduate positions in a faculty member's research group, special topics courses, independent study, or internships). A new laboratory course has been developed to provide sophomore- level atmospheric science students with the opportunity to participate in an authentic research project within the structure of an academic semester. The course consists of two modules based upon research topics currently under investigation by faculty (here, specific problems in cloud microphysics and severe weather research). Students participate in learning activities, work as a research team, and formally present research findings. Phenomenological evaluation of the new course through interviews, surveys, and student performance assessments, using constant comparative analysis, suggests these students improve their ability to understand and perform authentic research. The students attribute their success to the scaffolding structure of the course, peer collaboration, and their own high level of enthusiasm. Results also imply that students gain some clarification of their career options.

published proceedings

  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

author list (cited authors)

  • Quardokus, K., Lasher-Trapp, S., & Riggs, E. M.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Quardokus, Kathleen||Lasher-Trapp, Sonia||Riggs, Eric M

publication date

  • November 2012