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CHEM 597R - Course Requirements: Home

Course Requirements

Spring 2015


I. Topics

In consultation with your advisor, choose a topic for library research no later than Friday, Jan 30.

  • Gain approval of your Research Advisor
  • Send your topic to me (chris.doty at no later than Friday, Jan 30.  Type "Paper Topic for Chem 597R" in the subject line of your email and include the name of your faculty advisor.

II. Library Research

Students are expected to spend enough time to do a thorough job researching the chosen topic. If the amount of time greatly exceeds 15 hours, the topic may be modified upon approval of the Librarian and Faculty Advisor.

III. Preparation for Research Consultation

Begin preparation for your research consultation by finding, researching, and taking notes on at least one scholarly article specifically related to your topic. In many cases your advisor, the post doc or senior graduate student in your group will be able to give you a starting paper about your topic. If not, then you need to find that first paper on your own. The people listed above will be good resources for answering questions about your topic.

Search DiscoverE; databases, particularly SciFinder, Web of Science; and scholarly authoritative websites prior to scheduling a consultation. Come to your consultation prepared to discuss the questions outlined in Section IV, "Research Consultations."

IV. Research Consultations

Research consultations are available at any time, and may be scheduled at any point during your research. You are REQUIRED to schedule at least one consultation with the Librarian. Consultations are for an hour. When you come for your consultation be prepared to discuss or bring the following:

  • Discuss your topic with at least beginning knowledge. What are you looking for? What will be the focus of your research?
  • Bring a pdf or print copy of one or more articles that represent the type of references for which you will be looking. What can be learned from these references to help you find more information?
  • Bring a list of potential words, phrases, authors’ names, keywords, or indexing terms that will be important for you to search. Has your professor or his/her group written articles on the topic?
  • Discuss your search strategy. How will you screen references for only those you want;? How much information will be enough? Too much? How much information do you expect to find? Is this a retrospective search covering many years or is this a new topic?
  • Discuss background information you will need. Check DiscoverE for books on background or supporting information. Does the library own any reference books that will be helpful? Dictionaries? Encyclopedias? Handbooks?
  • Discuss other databases that should be searched. Do not limit your searching to SciFinder. Are you searching for biomedical information? Search Medline or PubMed in addition to SciFinder. If you are synthesizing compounds or looking for properties, don’t forget Reaxys. In general, most topics should be searched in Web of Science. Citation searching in Web of Science helps you to quickly identify additional, significantly related bibliographic references.
  • Are you using EndNote? If you haven't started building your database of references in EndNote or another approved bibliographic management software package such as Zotero, now is the time.  You are REQUIRED to use EndNote or Zotero or another approved equivalent in completing this course. Using it will make writing your paper and producing your bibliography much easier.

The last day for consultations will be Friday, March 6.

V. Final Draft of Your Research Paper

The information for writing this paper will be found by using a combination of resources identified through SciFinder searches and resources identified by searching DiscoverE and other library databases, i.e.Web of Science, Medline, PubMed, Reaxys, etc. In addition to the above resources, you may use information found on websites, provided you have verified that the information found on the website is accurate, authoritative, objective, and current.

Length of the paper and bibliography will vary. Ask your advisor for guidelines. Your advisor may want a comprehensive, retrospective discussion of the topic, an overview, or a paper identifying direction for future research.

The bibliography MUST conform to the guidelines established in the ACS Style Guide. EndNote will automatically format your bibliography in ACS Style. A print copy of the ACS Style Guide will be on reserve at the Circulation Desk in the Chemistry Library. Online access is available here.

Submit your paper for peer review on Monday, March 16.

VI. Peer Review Process

Papers to be peer reviewed will be emailed to students on Wednesday, March 18.

Peer reviews are due on Thursday, March 26.

Please see the guidelines for the Peer Review Process here.

In the guidelines, Peer Review and Reviewer Responsibilities are discussed. Guiding Questions are presented to prompt the reviewer to recognize and address broad concepts expected in writing a good scientific paper and to think more professionally about scientific writing.

Rubrics, tools that identify key performance criteria and standards linked to learning objectives and used to subjectively assess expected performance, are included.  The rubrics used in this  assignment discuss in detail the elements of a scientific paper and were developed and adapted from the ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information, 3rd ed., 2006, Chapter 2, "Scientific Papers", pp. 17-26.  A Rubric Evaluation Worksheet will be completed for each paper reviewed; each research paper submitted for this class will receive two peer reviews.

VII.  Revised Final Paper

Rubric Evaluation Worksheets will be returned on Friday, March 27 so that comments made by reviewers may provide input for revision of research papers. Revised papers are due on Monday, April 6.

You are responsible for sending your paper to me AND to your advisor.  Send your paper electronically as an attachment to me at:  chris.doty at  As a second attachment, send evidence of the library of resources you created for this paper using EndNote, Zotero, or other approved bibliographic management software program.

Send or deliver your paper to your advisor. Check to determine his/her preference for receiving either a paper or electronic copy.  


VIII. Grading - Pass/Fail and Course Evaluation

Research Paper

  • Faculty Advisor - content
  • Librarian - readability/clarity
  • Librarian - EndNote library of resources

All work for CHEM 597R will be completed on Monday, April 6.





Updated: January 9, 2015

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