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J Microbiol Biol Educ. 2016 Mar 1;17(1):120-4. doi: 10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1004. eCollection 2016 Mar.

Incorporating Primary Scientific Literature in Middle and High School Education.

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Department of Biology, Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, GA 30054; The Journal of Emerging Investigators,
Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115; The Journal of Emerging Investigators,


Primary literature is the most reliable and direct source of scientific information, but most middle school and high school science is taught using secondary and tertiary sources. One reason for this is that primary science articles can be difficult to access and interpret for young students and for their teachers, who may lack exposure to this type of writing. The Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI) was created to fill this gap and provide primary research articles that can be accessed and read by students and their teachers. JEI is a non-profit, online, open-access, peer-reviewed science journal dedicated to mentoring and publishing the scientific research of middle and high school students. JEI articles provide reliable scientific information that is written by students and therefore at a level that their peers can understand. For student-authors who publish in JEI, the review process and the interaction with scientists provide invaluable insight into the scientific process. Moreover, the resulting repository of free, student-written articles allows teachers to incorporate age-appropriate primary literature into the middle and high school science classroom. JEI articles can be used for teaching specific scientific content or for teaching the process of the scientific method itself. The critical thinking skills that students learn by engaging with the primary literature will be invaluable for the development of a scientifically-literate public.

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