Research Methods in Marine Science

Course Description

The goal of this course is to introduce you to the many facets of ocean science, gain some familiarity with different aspects of marine science research, and become familiar with reading, synthesizing, and discussing peer-reviewed journal articles.

Coursework will include viewing presentations from science faculty, researchers, and Save the Bay staff, focusing on the methods and techniques used in their day-to-day work, data collection and analysis, and reading and interpreting peer-reviewed journal articles. Data collected and discussed during the course will be analyzed by you in a culminating report, where you will articulate the findings of your work to an audience of peers.

You will first walk away from this course with a general understanding of the four branches of Oceanography: Physical, Chemical, Biological, and Geological. A concrete understanding of the living and non-living factors affecting marine systems will build the foundation for further studies of the bay throughout the course of the class. In addition, an increased familiarity with the diversity of coastal marine habitats will give students an understanding of the complexity of Narragansett Bay as an estuarine ecosystem, as well as the important roles estuaries play in the health of all marine systems around the globe.

Through completing this course, you will be introduced to many scientific tools, instruments, models and gain insight into how they are used in collecting accurate and reliable data. Through introductions to both local researchers and to current peer-reviewed journal articles, you will gain an understanding of the many applications of the data collection methods they are being introduced to, as well as the many pressing issues on the front lines of marine science research where these data are being applied.

You will be tasked with taking ownership of a specific aspect of Narragansett Bay research and turning those associated data into a research project. Once collected, the data will be input, organized, analyzed, and interpreted, and finally used to articulate those results to your peers. In this process you will become a true researcher, gaining an abbreviated glimpse into the process of seeing research through from beginning to end.

Online section details:
An online version of this course will substitute pre-recorded videos in lieu of in-person field and boat work and introductions to local researchers and their work. Roundtable discussions of peer-reviewed journal articles will happen both on a discussion forum, and live Zoom sessions when possible, and your culminating reports will be recorded and uploaded for review.

In-person section details:
An in-person version of this course will include hands-on data gathering in the field, on-the-water boat work, and visits to outside research institutions to complete our goals. You will discuss peer-reviewed journals in person, and present a culminating report to each other.


No prerequisite coursework is required, but familiarity and comfort with the sciences will be helpful. It is expected that you have an interest in the fields of marine science and ecology.


Two Sections Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 08, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 8:30A-11:20A
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Grainne Conley
Chris Dodge
Course Number: 10413

Dates: July 11, 2022 - July 22, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Mostly Asynchronous
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): Grainne Conley
Chris Dodge
Course Number: 10275