This study describes a new module design for teaching research skills to analytical chemists based on the use of a student-led, in-class experiment involving coffee. The module was redesigned in response to feedback from students, and aims to give them the skills they need to be productive in future research projects both within the institution and beyond. Over the course of 10 weeks, postgraduate MSc students at the University of Glasgow design, carry out, and write up an experiment to determine the effect of pH on the perceived taste of coffee. The module is structured to introduce students to key concepts in research such as experimental design, health and safety, ethics, and bias, which the students incorporate into their final experimental protocol. Evaluations of the module for the 2015–16 academic year were positive, and questionnaire data on the participants’ self-efficacy with certain research tasks showed an overall increase across the range of skills covered during the module.
- graduate education/research
- analytical chemistry
- hands-on learning/manipulatives