Teaching Research to Undergraduates

Dr. Duane Knudson (Department of Kinesiology) teaches students to design, conduct, and report original research in biomechanics. He does this in Biomechanical Analysis (KINE 524), the capstone course of the B.S. in Exercise Physiology. This graduate-style course provides a valuable preview of the future training and professional careers of his students because many go on to graduate and professional schools. One of his students who did honors in the major through this course has recently earned her doctorate and is now a faculty member at a research-intensive university. So how does he get students interested in the hard, persistent work of library and laboratory research?

“I use several strategies to connect student’s own interests to possible research questions or similar big research areas being examined in biomechanics” noted Dr. Knudson. It also doesn’t hurt that the students have access to some of the latest biomechanics research technology at the biomechanics lab in Yolo Hall. Knudson guides students through progressive activities in learning to use the equipment, planning and conducting pilot studies in small groups. The final research projects are driven by these earlier experiences and their personal interest in the research question they have developed.

Dr. Knudson also models the excitement of discovery by sharing the latest research with his students, much of which is his own work. Since coming to Chico State in 1997, he has published over 35 peer-reviewed journal articles, three books, and been awarded eight grants for his research. He has three main lines of research and has been invited to speak about his research at scientific meetings in Australia, Austria, Belgium, the United States, and Korea. His research has appeared in some of the most prestigious journals in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. You can learn more about biomechanics and Dr. Knudson at myweb.csuchico.edu/~dknudson/.