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Harvard Forest Data Archive

HF279

Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology Pre/Post Survey 2006-2015

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Data

Overview

  • Lead: Aaron Ellison
  • Investigators: Brad Rose, Manisha Patel, Andrew McDevitt
  • Contact: Aaron Ellison
  • Start date: 2006
  • End date: 2015
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Harvard Forest
  • Latitude: +42.53
  • Longitude: -72.19
  • Elevation: 340 meter
  • Taxa: Homo sapiens (human)
  • Release date: 2016
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.279.3
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • Related links:
  • Study type: long-term measurement
  • Research topic: historical and retrospective studies
  • LTER core area: disturbance
  • Keywords: education, surveys
  • Abstract:

    Program Context

    Since its inception in 1985, when a single undergraduate worked on a study of old-growth forests, the Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology (HF-SRPE) has developed into a thriving and well-coordinated program that is central to the educational and research mission of the biological field station. With core support since 1993 from a succession of NSF REU Site awards and NSF REU supplements, and with additional funding from Harvard University, HF-SRPE has grown to support 20-30 undergraduate students annually. Students are mentored by principle investigators and senior scientists in conducting research in ecology, soil science, paleoecology, wildlife biology, conservation biology, and atmospheric sciences.

    The research conducted by our HF-SRPE students contributes substantially to long-term scientific investigations supported by NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) and National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) – Earth Ventures (EV) programs, The Smithsonian Institution’s ForestGEO network of plots, and Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Institute for Global Environmental Change (NIGEC). The overarching objectives of the program are to: enhance the ability of students to undertake high-quality interdisciplinary research; build teams of researchers in which students bring different strengths to the table, collaborate on cutting-edge projects, and find their own intellectual “voice”; encourage students to link fundamental and applied issues in their research; and cultivate the next generation of ecological scientists and educators that reflects the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of students in the United States.

    Problem Statement

    Starting in 2005 the National Science Foundation (NSF), as one of the largest funders of undergraduate research programs, began emphasizing the use of project evaluations to both qualitatively and quantitatively measure the success of REU programs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Supplements and Sites: Program Solicitation NSF 05-592, 2005). One of the primary objectives of this initiative was to evaluate the degree of student learning aligned with specific programmatic goals. A comprehensive assessment tool for BIO REU programs would not implemented until 2010 using the Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment (URSSA) survey. Although the implementation of URSSA does provide national programmatic benchmarks, it is limited to a single post assessment which does not capture the change associated with the intervention project. This inability to capture the degree of gains is further exacerbated by the high caliber students recruited by HF-SRPE, presumably entering with more extensive skillsets.

  • Methods:

    In 2005, we developed a survey instrument to systematically evaluate participants' program experiences and persistence in science. Data was gathered at four points during the summer program. First, students completed a short survey upon their arrival at HF-SRPE to determine how they were recruited, their expectations of the program goals for the summer, and their educational and occupational aspirations. Second, students were administered a mid-summer survey. Questions probed whether the program was meeting their expectations; their satisfaction with each element of the program (i.e., mentors, field trips, independent studies); their interactions with scientists, staff, and other student participants; and changes that could improve their experiences. At the conclusion of the summer, students completed a third survey containing follow-ups to the questions in the first and second surveys. These were supplemented with individual semi-structured interviews to examine students’ survey responses and to provide them with an opportunity to discuss in detail their experiences and specific aspects of the program. This design allowed the evaluator to explore new topics that arose during the interviews and to follow up on compelling responses. Interviews explored students' relationships with their mentors; how, if at all, their educational and occupational aspirations had changed; and their perceptions of science and the field of ecology.

    Upon review of this pilot study, the decision was made to reduce the yearly assessment of participant experiences to a single pre-post survey according to NSF guidelines for REU Site evaluation. This survey consisted of 22 multiple choice questions and 2 open response questions. The pre survey was sent out to all 263 HF-SRPE participants with over a 91% response rate to all questions. Percent responses were calculated for all binary questions about previous experiences. A similar post survey was sent to all 263 HF-SRPE participants with over 71% of the individuals responding to both pre and post paired questions.

    To ensure confidentiality of participant responses, all open-ended responses have been removed from this dataset.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Ellison A. 2016. Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology Pre/Post Survey 2006-2015. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF279.

Detailed Metadata

hf279-01: REU survey questions, 2006-2015

  1. question.code: question codes as they appear in data file hf279-02-REU-survey-answers-2006-2015.csv
  2. question.text: survey questions that correspond to each question.code
  3. question.type: type of survey question
  4. data.type: type of data generated by survey question
  5. code.0: value for each survey question when answer=0
  6. code.1: value for each survey question when answer=1
  7. code.2: value for each survey question when answer=2
  8. code.3: value for each survey question when answer=3
  9. code.4: value for each survey question when answer=4
  10. code.5: value for each survey question when answer=5
  11. code.6: value for each survey question when answer=6
  12. notes: notes

hf279-02: REU survey answers, 2006-2015

  1. year: HF-SRPE program year
  2. student: unique identifier randomly assigned to participants based upon program year (first two digits) and total number of students within the cohort (last two digits)
  3. question1a.pre: Have you ever conducted laboratory research?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  4. question1a.post: Have you ever conducted laboratory research?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  5. question1b.pre: Have you ever conducted research in the field?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  6. question1b.post: Have you ever conducted research in the field?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  7. question1c.pre: Have you ever participated on a research team (not as part of a class)?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  8. question1c.post: Have you ever participated on a research team (not as part of a class)?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  9. question1d.pre: Have you ever worked with an experienced researcher (e.g. faculty, senior researcher) on a scientific research project?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  10. question1d.post: Have you ever worked with an experienced researcher (e.g. faculty, senior researcher) on a scientific research project?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  11. question1e.pre: Have you ever presented scientific findings to colleagues or professionals from a research project in which you participated?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  12. question1e.post: Have you ever presented scientific findings to colleagues or professionals from a research project in which you participated?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  13. question1f.pre: Have you ever contributed to the production of a scientific paper or article?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  14. question1f.post: Have you ever contributed to the production of a scientific paper or article?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  15. question1g.pre: Have you ever authored or co-authored a scientific paper or article?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  16. question1g.post: Have you ever authored or co-authored a scientific paper or article?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  17. question1h.pre: Have you ever participated in a paid internship in a scientific field?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  18. question1h.post: Have you ever participated in a paid internship in a scientific field?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  19. question2a.pre: Have you ever felt like a respected member of a scientific research team?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
    • 3: not applicable
  20. question2a.post: Have you ever felt like a respected member of a scientific research team?
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
    • 3: not applicable
  21. question3a.pre: Would you say that your scientific research skills are:
    • 1: Need development
    • 2: Adequate
    • 3: Strong
    • 4: Very strong
  22. question3a.post: Would you say that your scientific research skills are:
    • 1: Need development
    • 2: Adequate
    • 3: Strong
    • 4: Very strong
  23. question4a.pre: Would you say that your confidence in your scientific research skills is:
    • 1: Low
    • 2: Moderate
    • 3: High
  24. question4a.post: Would you say that your confidence in your scientific research skills is:
    • 1: Low
    • 2: Moderate
    • 3: High
  25. question5a.pre: How well prepared are you now to participate in interdisciplinary research with a team of researchers?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  26. question5a.post: How well prepared are you now to participate in interdisciplinary research with a team of researchers?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  27. question5b.pre: How well prepared are you now to conduct research supervised by a research mentor?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  28. question5b.post: How well prepared are you now to conduct research supervised by a research mentor?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  29. question5c.pre: How well prepared are you now to analyze scientific data?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  30. question5c.post: How well prepared are you now to analyze scientific data?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  31. question5d.pre: How well prepared are you now to write-up scientific results?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  32. question5d.post: How well prepared are you now to write-up scientific results?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  33. question5e.pre: How well prepared are you now to present scientific results?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  34. question5e.post: How well prepared are you now to present scientific results?
    • 1: Not at all prepared
    • 2: 2
    • 3: 3
    • 4: 4
    • 5: Very prepared
  35. question8a.pre: Would you say that your long term post-college goals, either for education or employment, are:
    • 1: Uncertain
    • 2: Pretty clear
    • 3: Very clear
  36. question8a.post: Would you say that your long term post-college goals, either for education or employment, are:
    • 1: Uncertain
    • 2: Pretty clear
    • 3: Very clear
  37. question8b.post: Would you say that your long term post-college goals, either for education or employment, are:
    • 1: Uncertain
    • 2: Pretty clear
    • 3: Very clear
  38. question9a.pre: What are your plans immediately after graduating from college:
    • 1: Grad school environmental
    • 2: Grad school non-environmental
    • 3: Job environmental
    • 4: Job non-environmental
    • 5: Not certain
    • 6: Other
  39. question9a.post: What are your plans immediately after graduating from college:
    • 1: Grad school environmental
    • 2: Grad school non-environmental
    • 3: Job environmental
    • 4: Job non-environmental
    • 5: Not certain
    • 6: Other
  40. question10a.pre: The likelihood that you will pursue a career in an environmentally related scientific field is:
    • 1: Not at all likely
    • 2: A little likely
    • 3: Moderately likely
    • 4: Quite likely
  41. question10a.post: The likelihood that you will pursue a career in an environmentally related scientific field is:
    • 1: Not at all likely
    • 2: A little likely
    • 3: Moderately likely
    • 4: Quite likely
  42. question11a.pre: If you attend graduate school someday- what degree will you seek:
    • 0: Do not plan to attend
    • 1: Masters
    • 2: PhD
    • 3: Other
  43. question11a.post: If you attend graduate school someday- what degree will you seek:
    • 0: Do not plan to attend
    • 1: Masters
    • 2: PhD
    • 3: Other
  44. old.q10a.pre: The likelihood that you will pursue a career in an academically related scientific field is:
    • 1: Not at all likely
    • 2: A little likely
    • 3: Moderately likely
    • 4: Quite likely
  45. old.q10a.post: The likelihood that you will pursue a career in an academically related scientific field is:
    • 1: Not at all likely
    • 2: A little likely
    • 3: Moderately likely
    • 4: Quite likely

hf279-03: R script for analyzing survey results

  • Compression: none
  • Format: R code
  • Type: R code