Objectives of the Literature Research Laboratory
The information reported in research articles increases our understanding of the natural world and provides a basis
for new technologies. Research articles are condensed, stylized reports
which describe original (usually
laboratory-based) research conducted by one or more highly trained investigators.
As the reader of a research article, you are expected to know its "context", including
the knowledge which existed when
the research was conducted and the theoretical and technical basis, strengths and limitations of the methodologies used by the
investigators. These methodologies include experimental design, experimental techniques and statistical tools.
Such background knowledge aids you to understand the investigators' reasons for
undertaking their research, their choice of experiments, the data that were reported
and the authors' interpretation of that data. Your analysis of a research article
must include your independent
interpretation and evaluation of the reported data, and assessment of the contribution made by the research to human
knowledge and experience.
By completing this project you will learn to select, read, understand and
analyze research articles. During the lab
meetings, you will learn to find information essential to your analysis. Between lab meetings, you will read that
information and formulate your reports, which will include systematic
citations of the references on which your analysis is based.
Reference citations will validate your statements and acknowledge the prior work of other
scholars. Analyses like yours are part of the process through which we learn and, hence, human knowledge
The process of finding, understanding and
analyzing information that you learn by completing the Literature
Research Lab is not unique to microbiology or to science. In our
personal lives, in employment and in public service activities we are
constantly required to find, understand and analyze information.
The broader goal of the Literature Research Lab is to equip you for that
To ensure that you are prepared for the first lab,
please click here and complete the Lab Orientation: