Cited Authors

Christopher D. Shaffer, Consuelo J. Alvarez, April E. Bednarski, David Dunbar, Anya L. Goodman, Catherine Reinke, Anne G. Rosenwald, Michael J. Wolyniak, Cheryl Bailey, Daron Barnard, Christopher Bazinet, Dale L. Beach, James E. J. Bedard, Satish Bhalla, John Braverman, Martin Burg, Vidya Chandrasekaran, Hui-Min Chung, Kari Clase, Randall J. DeJong, Justin A. Emerson, Amy Frary, Donald Frolich, Yuying Gosser, Shubha Govind, Adam Haberman, Amy R. Hark, Charles Hauser, Arlene Hoogewerf, Laura L. M. Hoopes, Carina E. Howell, Diana Johnson, Christopher J. Jones, Lisa Kadlec, Marian Kaehler, S. Catherine Silver Key, Adam Kleinschmit, Nighat P. Kokan, Olga Kopp, Gary Kuleck, Judith Leatherman, Jane Lopilato, Christy MacKinnon, Juan Carlos Martinez-Cruzado, Gerard McNeil, Stephanie Mel, Hemlata Mistry, Alexis Nagengast, Paul Overvoorde, Don W. Paetkau, Susan Parrish, Celeste N. Peterson, Mary Preuss, Laura K. Reed, Dennis Revie, Srebrenka Robic, Jennifer Roecklein-Canfield, Michael R. Rubin, Kenneth Saville, Stephanie Schroeder, Karim Sharif, Mary Shaw, Gary Skuse, Christopher D. Smith, Mary A. Smith, Sheryl T. Smith, Eric Spana, Mary Spratt, Aparna Sreenivasan, Joyce Stamm, Paul Szauter, Jeffrey S. Thompson, Matthew Wawersik, James Youngblom, Leming Zhou, Elaine R. Mardis, Jeremy Buhler, Wilson Leung, David Lopatto, and Sarah C. R. Elgin

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2014


There is widespread agreement that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs should provide undergraduates with research experience. Practical issues and limited resources, however, make this a challenge. We have developed a bioinformatics project that provides a course-based research experience for students at a diverse group of schools and offers the opportunity to tailor this experience to local curriculum and institution-specific student needs. We assessed both attitude and knowledge gains, looking for insights into how students respond given this wide range of curricular and institutional variables. While different approaches all appear to result in learning gains, we find that a significant investment of course time is required to enable students to show gains commensurate to a summer research experience. An alumni survey revealed that time spent on a research project is also a significant factor in the value former students assign to the experience one or more years later. We conclude: 1) implementation of a bioinformatics project within the biology curriculum provides a mechanism for successfully engaging large numbers of students in undergraduate research; 2) benefits to students are achievable at a wide variety of academic institutions; and 3) successful implementation of course-based research experiences requires significant investment of instructional time for students to gain full benefit.

Publication Information

© 2014 C. D. Shaffer et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2014 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution—Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (

Published in final form at:

Shaffer, C. D., Alvarez, C. J., ... Haberman, A. S., ... Lopatto, D. E., Elgin, S. C. R., (2013) A Course-Based Research Experience: How Benefits Change with Increased Investment in Instructional Time. CBE Life Sci Educ,, 13, 111-30.