Data Analysis in Sophomore Organic Chemistry Lab

One of the outcomes of the OChemOnline dynamic sophomore organic chemistry laboratory is the collection and production of data sets. In this regard, there are at least two pertinent questions that need to be addressed: 1) What should be the student’s expectations for data analysis? and 2) Just how “good” is student-generated data? This week in lab, sophomore organic chemistry students at Dominican University are going to practice statistical analysis of data sets. My informal findings from last year suggest that students have very little background in analyzing data sets such as those created in the organic chemistry laboratory. Alternatively, students have the proper background but have difficulty in applying what they know to a new situation. My plan is to keep it pretty basic: averages, standard deviation, data graphing in Excel, and advice for dealing with “bad” data (such as the Q test). Hopefully, they will get the message that data analysis is a fundamental part of experiment reporting, as well as gain some skills to use when analyzing data. I have not put an emphasis on data analysis before last year and I am trying to feel out what is useful and practical for students to know as we move forward with the dynamic sophomore organic chemistry laboratory. A link to our TLC data set. 

TLC of 2-naphthol developed in DCM

TLC of 2-naphthol developed in DCM

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