Adding Authenticity to Inquiry in a First-Year, Research-Based, Biology Laboratory Course

Jane L. Indorf, Joanna Weremijewicz, David P. Janos, Michael S. Gaines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) are an effective way to integrate research into an undergraduate science curriculum and extend research experiences to a large, diverse group of early-career students. We developed a biology CURE at the University of Miami (UM) called the UM Authentic Research Laboratories (UMARL), in which groups of first-year students investigated novel questions and conducted projects of their own design related to the research themes of the faculty instructors. Herein, we describe the implementation and student outcomes of this long-running CURE. Using a national survey of student learning through research experiences in courses, we found that UMARL led to high student self-reported learning gains in research skills such as data analysis and science communication, as well as personal development skills such as self-confidence and self-efficacy. Our analysis of academic outcomes revealed that the odds of students who took UMARL engaging in individual research, graduating with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) within 4 years, and graduating with honors were 1.5–1.7 times greater than the odds for a matched group of students from UM’s traditional biology labs. The authenticity of UMARL may have fostered students’ confidence that they can do real research, reinforcing their persistence in STEM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar38
JournalCBE life sciences education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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