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Course Based Undergraduate Research


Dolan and Weaver suggest using both formative and summative assessment to evaluate students’ progress in a CURE. Formative assessment can be a valuable tool for providing students with feedback and evaluating students' progress and understanding as the course progresses and can be utilized in conjunction with scaffolded assignments (2021). For example, an assignment could be created that requires students to find and evaluate sources on their research topic, which could be later used as the foundation for a literature review. The authors also discuss the value of peer review as a means for students to learn from one another and make improvements (Dolan & Weaver, 2021).

Presentation of Research

A typical characteristic of course based research experiences (CUREs) is that students share the results of their research with a wider audience. This type of summative assessment can be achieved through a variety of modes such as talks, papers, poster presentations, research proposals or contributions of data (Dolan & Weaver, 2021). Whether through writing or oral presentation, these experiences provide students with opportunities to learn about scientific communication, including how to communicate what is often highly technical or specialized information to a lay audience. As well, students develop presentation and writing skills, applicable to future coursework and careers. One avenue for communicating research is through formal publication. This relates to the information literacy frame “scholarship as a conversation” in which students contribute to the scholarly conversation, recognizing how their work builds upon existing knowledge (ACRL, 2015). Xavier’s institutional repository, Exhibit, offers a means for students and faculty to publish research findings in an open access format. This allows students to share the research results with other interested parties without charge and can be tied to a larger discussion on the information literacy frame “information has value”. Here, opportunities exist to teach students about authors’ rights, fair use, and proper attribution. In addition, it provides learners with the opportunity to view themselves not only as information consumers but also information contributors (ACRL, 2015). For presenting research, annually, Xavier hosts the Celebration of Student Research & Creative Activity, which is an opportunity for students to showcase research projects. The library also subscribes to Cabells Journalytics and Clarivate Journal Citation Reports. These resources may be utilized to discover publication avenues and to analyze a journal’s impact factor.

Association of College and Research Libraries. (2015). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. 

Dolan, E. L., & Weaver, G. C. (2021). A guide to course-based undergraduate research : developing and implementing CUREs in the natural sciences. W.H. Freeman.


Suggested Reading

  1. Auchincloss, L. C., Laursen, S. L., Branchaw, J. L., Eagan, K., Graham, M., Hanauer, D. I., Lawrie, G., McLinn, C. M., Pelaez, N., Rowland, S., Towns, M., Trautmann, N. M., Varma-Nelson, P., Weston, T. J., & Dolan, E. L. (2014). Assessment of course-based undergraduate research experiences: A meeting report. CBE - Life Sciences Education, 13(1), 29–40.

  2. Brownell, S. E., Price, J. V., & Steinman, L. (2013). Science communication to the general public: Why we need to teach undergraduate and graduate students this skill as part of their formal scientific training. The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 12(1), E6–E10.

  3. Cirino, L. A., Emberts, Z., Joseph, P. N., Allen, P. E., Lopatto, D., & Miller, C. W. (2017). Broadening the voice of science: Promoting scientific communication in the undergraduate classroom. Ecology and Evolution, 7(23), 10124-10130.

  4. Crowe, M., & Brakke, D. (2019). Assessing undergraduate research experiences: An annotative bibliography. Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research, 3(2), 21–30.

  5. Dillon, H. E. (2020). Development of a mentoring course-based undergraduate research experience (M-CURE). Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research, 3(4), 26–34.

  6. Irby, S. M., Pelaez, N. J., & Anderson, T. R. (2019). Student perceptions of their gains in course-based undergraduate research abilities identified as the anticipated learning outcomes for a biochemistry CURE. Journal of Chemical Education, 97(1), 56-65.

  7. SERC. (2022, March 15). EvaluateUR-CURE. Retrieved from

  8. Shortlidge, E. E., & Brownell, S. E. (2016). How to assess your CURE: a practical guide for instructors of course-based undergraduate research experiences. Journal of microbiology & biology education, 17(3), 399-408.

  9. Watts, F. M., Spencer, J. L., & Shultz, G. V. (2020). Writing assignments to support the learning goals of a CURE. Journal of Chemical Education, 98(2), 510-514.

  10. Wiley, E. A., & Stover, N. A. (2014). Immediate Dissemination of Student Discoveries to a Model Organism Database Enhances Classroom-Based Research Experiences. CBE - Life Sciences Education, 13(1), 131–138.