Instructional Models for Course-Based Research Experience (CRE) Teaching

CBE Life Sci Educ. 2022 Mar;21(1):ar8. doi: 10.1187/cbe.21-03-0057.


The course-based research experience (CRE) with its documented educational benefits is increasingly being implemented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. This article reports on a study that was done over a period of 3 years to explicate the instructional processes involved in teaching an undergraduate CRE. One hundred and two instructors from the established and large multi-institutional SEA-PHAGES program were surveyed for their understanding of the aims and practices of CRE teaching. This was followed by large-scale feedback sessions with the cohort of instructors at the annual SEA Faculty Meeting and subsequently with a small focus group of expert CRE instructors. Using a qualitative content analysis approach, the survey data were analyzed for the aims of inquiry instruction and pedagogical practices used to achieve these goals. The results characterize CRE inquiry teaching as involving three instructional models: 1) being a scientist and generating data; 2) teaching procedural knowledge; and 3) fostering project ownership. Each of these models is explicated and visualized in terms of the specific pedagogical practices and their relationships. The models present a complex picture of the ways in which CRE instruction is conducted on a daily basis and can inform instructors and institutions new to CRE teaching.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Engineering
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Educational*
  • Students*
  • Teaching