Research Project

Guidelines for Independent Research Project

Most of your work in this lab has focused on clinical microbiology, yet only a small portion of the world's microbes are clinically important. Most microbes play essential roles in our internal and external environment.

The last project for lab will be an independent research project examining a topic of interest to your group, preferably on an environmental topic, but outside our clinical emphasis in lab. This project is where you pull together all the skills you have mastered in lab. We challenge you to think critically and scientifically. There are several lab classes allocated for this project. Your actual schedule will vary depending on the time allotted by your instructor.

Your project must meet some minimum criteria.

  • Each table will investigate a topic of your choice subject to your instructor's approval. We have included a list of suggested experiments. You may also propose a different experiment; however it must meet your instructor's discerning approval. It must be original, creative and not totally trivial. Do not think of this as a glorified high school science fair project. We are expecting you to conduct a college-level experiment. Your instructor is not interested in bacterial sampling of bathroom knobs, anti-microbial soap, etc. You will ask one question of interest. You can not collect any samples from a hospital setting. You will design your experiment as a comparison. Each group of two at a table will do one part of the comparison.
  • You must collect quantifiable data, preferably using serial dilutions. If your protocol does not use serial dilutions you must still know how to do them and be able to calculate them for your final lab practical.
  • You will do replicate samples so that you can conduct a statistical analysis of you data to test your hypothesis. This requires of minimum of 3 samples for your test.
  • You will work with your instructor and IA to design and come up with an appropriate experimental protocol. This is not easy to do. You will really have to think and rethink this whole process through. You will undoubtedly revise your procedure several times before you have permission to proceed.
  • Your experimental design will be limited by the constraints of the materials we have available in the lab and the time available to complete your experiment. The prep lab will provide all materials, within reason, necessary to complete your experiment. You do not need to purchase anything.

You will present your project to the class during a poster session. Each of you will be responsible for one or more parts of the poster. Ask your instructor for detailed information on the poster presentation format and requirements.