Research Methods Class

This course prepares students for research by engaging them in their own semester-long research projects. Each student identifies a problem in physics (or life) that they find interesting, reads literature pertaining to their problem, models it, simulates and/or collects data, and produces a final paper in the style of a research paper. These research papers are meant to be presented to faculty when the student seeks a research position, and evince the student’s experience in forming and framing scientific problems, extracting relevant data, and synthesizing a final product. The primary goal of this course is to bridge the experience gap between introductory coursework and practical research, thereby empowering students to access research positions at UCB and LBNL earlier in their undergraduate careers.

Students can access resources and develop broadly applicable research skills in the context of work about which they are passionate. The course emphasize both individual and group work; each student works on their own project, but utilizes feedback from their peers as they compose and iteratively refine their project. Students move through their projects on roughly the same schedule so that they face similar research hurdles together.