P878: Reading, writing, review, and analysis: Engaging with chemical literature to enhance analytical understanding
The 200-level analytical chemistry course is one of the few science courses designated as writing intensive (Wi) in the Oberlin College curriculum. Wi courses are designed to “help students develop, compose, revise, organize and edit prose appropriate to the discipline or course.” Students develop their chemistry writing skills in tandem with their ability to find, read, evaluate and understand the intellectual lineage of two research articles reporting current advances in analytical chemistry. This exercise includes learning the process of subject and cited reference searching in scholarly databases, critical reading and collaborative learning within a group assigned to evaluate specific aspects of a research article, peer review of the first draft of a paper examining the two articles, followed by revision, self-reflection and a final paper, all in the context of learning to communicate research findings and understand rhetorical conventions of science writing. It will be argued that the writing component of the class deepens the students’ understanding of instrumental analysis and that teaching about writing in chemistry is very appropriately the purview of chemistry faculty. A portion of the exercise takes place in the science library computer lab, with instruction from the science librarian in the use of online search tools and evaluating sources. This session will describe the exercise and learning outcomes, plus possible plans to incorporate additional information literacy components into the assignment.