Title:  Insights Into The Development of NMR interpretation Ability

Presenter:  A/Prof. Ginger Shultz, Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan

Abstract: Most curriculum for teaching NMR spectroscopy draws on idealized spectra and does not fully engage learners with authentic data analysis. To better understand how chemists learn to interpret spectra, we investigated the development of NMR interpretation ability when participants responded to tasks that better resemble the actual practices of professional chemists. We monitored undergraduate and graduate students as they evaluated the success of chemical syntheses through IR and 1H NMR spectral interpretation. Participants completed a series of interpretation tasks while having their eye movements tracked and then participated in semi-structured, cued retrospective think-aloud interviews about their reasoning during spectral interpretation. These interviews were analyzed qualitatively to characterize chemical assumptions and heuristic reasoning strategies used by participants. Undergraduate participants exhibited uninformed bidirectional processing of all information, whereas doctoral participants exhibited informed unidirectional processing of relevant information. These findings imply that the community can support novices’ development of expertise by encouraging informed interpretation strategies, including the preliminary evaluation of relevant variables, prediction of expected spectral features, and search for complementary data across spectra.

About School research seminars

Seminars cover all aspects of chemistry and molecular biosciences and are delivered by visiting national and international academics. PhD completion seminars are also incorporated into the program.

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