Scaffolding research-like laboratory projects for first year students

Rikke Frøhlich Hougaard, Birgitte Lund Nielsen

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Research-based teaching is the cornerstone of university teaching and collaborative work with research-like methods in the laboratory and with content from authentic research might be a key to develop students’ sense of belonging to a specific academic field of science and technology. A central part of research-based teaching relates to students’ work in inquiry-based projects, guiding them in making sense of and using research literature in relation to these inquiries. During the first years of university teaching, research-based teaching is however often challenged since first-year students do not yet have the qualifications to work with an authentic research project. The present paper discusses findings from two first year courses in chemistry and biotechnology. Both courses are situated in the second semester. Students are in both courses working with authentic research in the form of research papers and laboratory work with research-like activities. The design of the courses is compared showing differences, e.g. in the amount of collaboration, feedback and peer-feedback. Based on data from repeated questionnaires with open reflections and likert-scale questions issues discussed are the perceived learning outcomes, the possibilities and challenges students emphasize after participating in the two courses, the students’ sense of belonging to the department, and if and how the courses contribute with a research-like experience.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventESERA: 2019 - Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Duration: 26 Aug 201930 Aug 2019


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  • learning, educational science and teaching


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