|Module 0: About This Course|
|Module 1: Develop a Framework|
|Q1||What research topics and/or subtopics are you most interested in pursuing in the lab and why?|
|Q2||What experimental techniques have you mastered or have some experience applying in the lab?|
|Q3||What experimental techniques are you most interested in applying to your research and why?|
|Q4||Where are you in the process of developing a research project, and what do you hope to get from this course? Please indicate which category describes you best: – I have not yet formulated a scientific question and would like to get direction on how to get started. – I have formulated one or more potential scientific questions, but I have not started my research project. I would like to get direction on how to evaluate my idea(s). correct – I have already started a research project and would like to sharpen my skills in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of my current project.|
|Q5||List or write out your process for identifying a research project. You may adapt your list from a template, such as the example provided by Dr. DePace or an example shared by a fellow student on the course forum, or you may make one up entirely from scratch.|
Instructions for Q6-Q10:
Identify resources you would like to explore on one of your topics of interest, previously described in the Q1 assessment of lesson 1. If you have already started a research project and are clearly not at this stage in developing a scientific question, feel free to leave these fields blank (just be sure to complete 21 assessments out of 36 in the whole course, if you desire to earn a certificate of completion) :
Q6. Possible papers to read (for each paper listed, write the author names, title, and year of publication, or cut and paste a PubMed URL, for example, so you can find it again):
|Q7||PubMed search terms you will use to identify additional papers to read:|
|Q8||People who might be experts or knowledgeable on the topic:|
|Q9||Seminars, talks, journal clubs, or other events related to the topic that you should attend:|
|Module 2: Identify a Scientific Question|
|Q11||What is the potential or current scientific question(s) you would like to evaluate in lessons 3 & 4?|
|Q12||Is your question specific enough so that it’s answerable? If not, how can you modify it to make it so.|
|Q13||What is the potential impact of answering the question? Again, impact need not be monumental, but you should be able to articulate why you and others will care about the results.|
|Q14||Please write a clear and specific hypothesis for your question (if applicable). If your question isn’t hypothesis-driven, please articulate briefly the experimental goals of your research study.|
|Q15||Is your hypothesis based on observational or experimental data? If so, please explain briefly.|
|Q16||Brainstorm a list of 2-4 possible experiment(s) or techniques that you would use to address your question/hypothesis or the next stage of your project?.|
|Module 3: Evaluate Your Experimental Approach|
|Q17||What experiment(s) will you do to address your question/hypothesis or the next stage of your project? You may write down any of the experiments you listed in the Q16 assessment, or you may write something modified or entirely new, depending on how your ideas have evolved over the last week.|
|Q18||Using Dr. Yamamoto’s classification scheme from the video, classify your proposed experiment(s) based on possible outcomes. Is your proposed experiment Class 1, 2, or 3?|
|Q19||What experiments will you do first that might inform the tractability of your idea or methodology?|
Think of the potential pitfalls of your project. You do not need to answer each question below but rather use them as a guide in crafting your overall response to Q20.
What are the potential pitfalls in the project?
|Q21||If you have been working on your research project for a while and failing to make progress, what can you identify as barriers to progress?|
Consider the feasibility of your project. You do not need to answer each question below but rather use them as a guide in crafting your overall response to Q22.
How feasible is your project?
|Q23||Does the question/project align with your research and technical interests noted earlier in the course? What do you like or love about this project? What do you not like about it?|
Identify the unique attributes that make this a good project. You do not need to answer each question below but rather use them as a guide in crafting your overall response to Q24.
Identify the unique attributes that make this a good project. What is your “niche”?
|Module 4: Plan Your Research|
Research Project Goals: Next steps for your research…
Whether you are just getting started on developing a scientific question or well-immersed in your research project, setting concrete goals and putting them on a timeline is important. We will get more into how to set specific and concrete goals in the next lesson, but for now write down at least 3-5 short-term goals you want to accomplish in the next 3 months. You might find it useful to remind yourself what you wrote down in Module 1 about what your process for identifying a research question to pursue will be (Q5). If there is an important decision-making point (e.g., a “go, no-go” experiment) or other critical experiment, please highlight this for special attention. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be completely certain of your goal list. You will revisit these goals later and revise them, if you choose.
Write down at least 3-5 short-term goals you want to accomplish in the next 3 months.
Research Project Goals: Long-term project planning…
It is also important to keep your longer-term (6 months – 1 year) project goals in mind. Are there areas in which you intellectually want to grow and potentially expand your project? Are there other questions that you might want to consider investigating in case your project finishes or reaches a dead end? Please write down at least 3-5 longer-term, perhaps more aspirational, goals for your project and your training.
Write down at least 3-5 longer-term goals for your project and your training.
In order to make progress on one’s research, and to grow as a professional, there are often skills that must be developed in training. These can be everything from expanding your research skills to include a new technique, to improving your presentation skills to make you clearer at communicating your science. Identify current areas that need improvement in the following two categories. List at least 3 skills for each category that you want to work on this year: For Q27, you’ll want to refer to Module 2, Q11.
List the technical skills or knowledge that you want to develop as you pursue the scientific question you identified in Module 2 (Q11). For example, “I want to become more proficient in biostatistics.” ** Even if you don’t have a question yet identified, please try to fill this out. There are likely technical skills or knowledge you want to learn, no matter what your question will end up being.**
List the professional skills you want to develop (for example, writing, presentation, interpersonal communication skills, project or time management skills), which are important for success in research, training, and most career paths. Note in particular any professional skills that you will be practicing this year as part of your training (e.g., via your qualifying exam, journal club or research group presentation, fellowship application).
|Module 5: Bring Your Plan to Live|
Make Your Goals SMART: Short-term Research Goals
Now is the time to update all of your short-term research goals. You can find the list of short-term research goals that you wrote in the last lesson here (Q25). Using the SMART principle, update all of your short-term goals. Remember that you might have to split up a general goal into smaller SMART goals. Make sure to include the most important goals you have for the next 3 months. You might even consider organizing them in order of priority (or due date). Also, feel free to remove, add or change any goals, now that you have thought about them more.
Use the SMART principle to update all of your short-term research goals.
Make Your Goals SMART: Long-term Research Goals
In the previous lesson, you also wrote at least 3-5 long-term research goals for yourself. You can go back here (Q26) to remind yourself of what they are. Using the SMART principle, update your long-term goals. It can be hard to make long-term goals SMART, because there tends to be more uncertainty around the goals, but do the best you can. And remember that’s why it is important to re-examine your plan from time to time. Also, feel free to remove, add, or change any goals, now that you have thought about them more.
Using the SMART principle, update your long-term goals.
Finally, in the previous lesson you also wrote out skills development goals for yourself (at least 3 technical skills goals and 3 professional skills goals). You can go back to remind yourself of what they are (Q27 and Q28). Using the SMART principle, update your skills goals. Remember that often skills goals can be the hardest ones to make SMART, and often are too general. Don’t let yourself get away with making goals that aren’t truly SMART. Also, feel free to remove, add, or change any goals, now that you have thought about them more.
For Q31 and Q32, refer to Q27 and Q28.
Using the SMART principle, update your technical skills goals.
|Q32||Using the SMART principle, update your professional skills goals.|
|Q33||Write down here what your accountability plan will be for your SMART goals.|
|Q34||You won’t get feedback unless you meet with your mentor. Start the process of scheduling a meeting now to talk about your scientific question and your research goals. When you have the date and time scheduled, write it down here.|
|Module 6: Develop a Growth Mindset and Seek Feedback|
|Q35||Identify individuals in your lab, department, or institution with technical and/or subject expertise that you can talk to about your research project on a regular or semi-regular basis. These individuals might be able to help you overcome technical or conceptual barriers.|
|Q34 Revisited||Add the date and time of your meeting with your mentor here. Or update it from before if something has changed. (Or do nothing, if the correct date and time were already entered.)|
|Q36||Write an agenda for the meeting with your mentor to discuss your My Research Plan. The agenda can be basic or detailed, depending on your preference.|