Can we empower science students with communication skills by eliminating the barriers of time and expertise?

University of Washington
Seattle, Washington
DOI: 10.18258/12407
Raised of $2,068 Goal
Funded on 3/15/19
Successfully Funded
  • $2,168
  • 104%
  • Funded
    on 3/15/19



This project will be evaluated with a blind review. Reviewers from a variety of different career fields, from academia to industry to policy, will rate the communication skills of each student by reading student essays. Reviewers will evaluate essays that were written before and after students went through the intervention. They will also evaluate essays written by students who took the class but did not go through the intervention. Because the reviewers won't know which essays are which, their evaluations will allow me to evaluate if the intervention was successful in improving students' communication skills.

To keep the evaluations consistent, reviewers will be provided with a detailed rubric that illustrates how each communication skill should be rated. Additionally, each essay will be read by three different reviewers.


I am pushing myself out of my field of expertise for this project, moving away from earth science and into the new arena of social science. So, to make sure that the implementation and evaluation methods are suitable and effective, I am partnering with other scientists from the Biology Education Research Group here at UW as well as consultants in the statistics department. The techniques I use may be new to me, but I will have experts to guide me in the right direction every step of the way.

Pre Analysis Plan

The results of the blind reviews will be analyzed with a conditional logit model. In a very basic sense, each student's pattern will be considered and then related to predictor variables, like their major and year in the program. This method will allow me to assess how much each student improved in each communication skill and what factors were most beneficial to learning achievements. 

In addition to evaluating student performance, I will also collect instructor perceptions on the strengths of each topic, potential areas of improvement, and their ability to sustainably implement this lesson plan in their science classes.


This project has not yet shared any protocols.