Effects of a CURE Laboratory Module on General Chemistry Students’ Perceptions of Scientific Research, Green Chemistry, and Self-Efficacy

Liu / Journal of Chemical Education / June 2022

This study reported the effects of a research-based laboratory module on students’ scientific research, green chemistry, and research skills self-efficacy in a second-semester general chemistry laboratory course. The research-based laboratory module was designed based on the course-based research experience (CURE) model, which features materials science research with a green chemistry synthetic method. The results showed that only 8.0% of students had some research experience before the CURE module and students had positive perceptions of scientific research and green chemistry after the CURE module. Factorial analysis of variance showed that there was a significant sex main effect on research skills self-efficacy before the CURE module and females scored significantly lower than males; after the CURE module, females’ self-efficacy increased, and there was no evidence for main or interaction effects of sex and first-generation status on self-efficacy. The findings in the study suggested the need to engage students in research experience through a CURE model, especially in the introductory chemistry courses, which can promote student positive perceptions of scientific research and green chemistry understanding, and CURE modules like this one could be more beneficial for groups who are underrepresented in STEM and have the potential to close equity gaps between underrepresented groups and their counterparts in STEM.