A composite textual phenomenological approach to CUREs versus traditional laboratory experiences

Amie S. Sommers, Dana Richter-Egger, Christine E. Cutucache

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here we present unique perspectives from undergraduate students (n=3) in STEM who have taken both a traditional laboratory iteration and a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) iteration of the same introductory chemistry course. CUREs can be effective models for integrating research in courses and fostering student learning gains. Via phenomenological interviews, we asked students to describe the differences in their perspectives, feelings, and experiences between a traditional lab guided by a lab manual and a CURE. We found that (i.) critical thinking/problem solving, (ii.) group work/collaboration, (iii.) student-led research questions and activities, and (iv.) time management are the top four emergent themes associated with the CURE course. Students also indicated that they learned more disciplinary content in the CURE, and, importantly, that they prefer it over the traditional lab. These findings add another dimension of success to CUREs in STEM education, particularly surrounding student retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-524
Number of pages18
JournalQualitative Report
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Best practices
  • Discipline-based education research
  • Phenomenological theoretical framework
  • STEM undergraduate education
  • Transmittal lecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


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