Teaching Students How to Critically Analyze Data

Headshot-Sato-Kadandale-155One of the most important objectives of the Biology curriculum at UCI is to impart skills that will enable our students to excel in their future careers. One such skill is the ability to critically analyze data and use conclusions from the data to inform our decisions. Drs. Brian Sato and Pavan Kadandale, Lecturers PSOE in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, have developed a module that uses primary literature to develop students’ data analysis skills.

“Innovative teaching practices like this, with demonstrable longitudinal learning gains, are one of the reasons why an education at UCI is so great!” shared Drs. Sato and Kadandale.

In this module, students are first required to independently read and understand a primary literature article. Following this, the instructors then demonstrate how a scientist would read and analyze the same paper, allowing students to see the differences between their approach and a scientist’s analysis of the data in the paper. Collaborating with Dr. Mark Warschauer’s group in the School of Education, Drs. Sato and Kadandale show that students exposed to their paper reading module display an increased ability to analyze scientific papers in later classes, and in different biology disciplines. This is one of the few instances where a novel teaching methodology has been shown to have transferable, long-term learning gains. Read more 

 

If you’d like to learn more about you can support undergraduate and graduate students at the Ayala School, please contact Andrew DiNuzzo at 949.824.2734 or adinuzzo@uci.edu.

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