When undergraduate students go from experiments in the teaching laboratory to a research project in their final year, they often find the transition difficult. This is because 'cookbook' experiments often get students to follow procedures, but without having to think about the theory. However, research requires students to apply that theory to design their own procedures, making their own decisions about how experiments should progress.
The team aimed to address this issue by designing experiments, workshops and simulations that specifically teach students how to use their knowledge to design and develop the procedures of open-ended experiments.
The team have published these experiments and activities in peer-reviewed journals. Many other universities have adopted them into their own curricula. The resources have helped students become more ready for research, with some saying that these have helped them secure industrial placements.