P107: Promoting the writing process while teaching scientific writing in an analytical laboratory course
Quantitative and Instrumental Analysis Laboratory is the first Writing Intensive (WI) designated course taken by students within the Chemistry department at East Carolina University. The university requires students to complete a certain amount of WI coursework, including work in their major. In addition to maintaining a laboratory notebook, students in the course must write formal lab reports in the style of scientific journal articles as preparation for writing in their discipline. In previous semesters, it was observed that students struggled with multiple aspects of these assignments, including appropriate organization, tense, voice, and word choice. Additionally, reports often included basic grammar mistakes. In an effort to help students adjust to writing these types of reports, additional explicit instruction on scientific writing has been introduced. Furthermore, the first assignments have been split into individual sections of a scientific paper (abstract, introduction, experimental, results, and discussion), while later assignments include writing full-length articles. The use of rubrics, required drafts, and peer review has been implemented as well. Faculty impressions, an analysis of student writing samples, and data to demonstrate the effectiveness of different approaches will be presented.