Chemistry 100 Fall 2017
Case Study Presentations
The case study is composed of two things:
- A written report on the plant you choose.
- A 20 minute presentation to the class (15 minute presentation + 5 minutes for questions). The presentation should be a distillation of the most important parts of your written report. In other words, there will be more information in your report than you will use in your presentation.
The grade for the case study is worth 30% of the course grade (click here
for the form I will use to evaluate the case studies). The grade you will receive will be derived from:
- Quality of the presentation itself (35%)
- Quality of the written report (40%)
- Audience feedback on your talk (10% form)
- Your participation in the audience feedback process (10%)
- Whether or not you meet with me in advance as described below (5%)
Choosing your Topic
- For your report you need to select a medicinal plant that interests you. Please put some thought into this, and consider doing some preliminary research before deciding on a short list. Be careful: "famous" medicinal plants tend to have a lot of research on them and it can be challenging to sift through it to find the information appropriate to your case study.
- The presentations dates are on the class schedule page. About a month ahead, I will ask you about your preferences as to a presentation date.
- Do not assume you can present on a topic until you have checked with me, as someone else may have chosen that topic already. You may not change your topic w/o checking with me in order to avoid duplication.
The following suggestions are good places to get started finding information about your plant. Some will be a bit technical: you'll need to scan for keywords, read the key headings, abstract etc. YMMV!
- Web databases such as Google Scholar and the Web of Science are good places to get starting finding materials. In both cases, searching on your plant's Latin binomial is a very effective strategy to locate articles. For Web of Science, I suggest you limit your search to the title of articles. Once you have your initial set of hits, use the panel on the left to limit the answers to reviews (see under document type). These will probably be the most useful.
- Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Human Health W. H. Lewis and M. P. F. Elvin-Lewis, Wiley.
- Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology and Applications Edited by K. H. C. Baser and G. Buchbauer, 2nd Edition CRC Press 2016.
- Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs by M. Blumenthal, A. Goldberg and J. Brinkmann. American Botanical Council 2000.
- The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs by M. Blumenthal. American Botanical Council 2003.
- Some additional books that might be useful are listed here.
- There are additional links that might be useful here.
Check Point Meeting
- Everyone should plan to make an appointment with me about 7-10 days in advance of your presentation to discuss your progress. The purpose of this appointment is to answer questions, make sure that you are progressing, and to make certain you are preparing something that is neither too broad nor too narrow. If you make and keep such an appointment, and come prepared having done some serious research and thinking, you automatically get 5% toward your grade on the case study. If you come largely unprepared, you get 2.5%. No appointment gets you zilch.
- As you begin thinking about your topic you may wish to run some ideas by me or get some questions answered. This kind of short consultation would be outside the check point meeting and is strongly encouraged.
What to Turn in When
- By 12 noon the day before your presentation:
- An electronic copy of your presentation in "2-up" format, ready to print. I will provide copies (b/w) to the class so people can take notes on them.
- An electronic copy of your bibliography, ready to print. I will provide copies to the class.
- The easiest way to ensure that these items print like you want them to is to convert them to pdf before sending them to me. Please check the pdf's a final time before sending them to me.
- The day of your presentation: Bring your computer with your presentation ready to go and we'll plug it into the display system.
- The day of your presentation: Your written report is due to me in both electronic and printed forms.
- You must prepare a bibliography with complete information on your sources. This should demonstrate that you have done a careful job in researching your plant. It should serve as a resource to your listeners if they want more information about the plant you chose. Please provide this as a separate document. Be sure your name and the name of the plant are clear.
- Web resources should be scrutinized VERY carefully. You may assume that in the field of medicinal plants most web sites are scientifically suspect. All proposed web site citations must be approved by me well in advance.
- You may provide your citations in any format you like as long as the information needed to find the resource is given and you are consistent in your format. Some options are given here.
What to Include
- Latin name of the plant
- Common names for the plant
- Where the plant grows (geographical region; a map perhaps, habitat preferences)
- Photos or line drawings of the plant showing both overall form and details of flowers or fruits, as appropriate to the medicinal use and identification
- Economic importance of the plant
- Is the plant commonly adulterated, and if so, with what?
About 2 minutes of the 15 minutes should be devoted to this botanical background.
Historical and Cultural Context of the Plant
- History of the plant's medicinal or nutriceutical use (ancient to modern)
- Indigenous group(s) that gave us the plant (particular tribes or broad groups of indigenous peoples)
- Cultural aspects/traditions of the plant's use (shamanism, ordeal poison, hunting poison etc)
- Traditional medical uses of the plant (avoid long lists as described elsewhere - make a short list which includes the uses you have decided are most important based on your research)
About 5-6 minutes of the 15 minutes should be devoted to the context.
How the Plant Exerts its Medicinal Effect
- What modern science has to say about how the plant is believed to improve health, prevent or cure a disease, etc.
- Important chemicals found in the plant that have been associated with its biological activities (include structures)
- Where in the human body the chemicals work (particular organs and the molecular target)
- Summarize the results of any clinical studies (but don't drone on with lists and numbers - digest the results yourself and present the most important to the audience)
- Summarize any structure-activity studies done on the important chemicals
The majority of your presentation should address these issues. Depending upon your plant and what is known about it, you may have a lot of detailed research available. Make certain you consult several major works about your plant to be sure you have the topic covered.
Things to Keep in Mind
- You should allow plenty of time to research your topic and obtain the necessary books and articles and digest the information in them. If you hope for an A on this, don't start a few days before it is due!
- You should plan to finish your written report several days in advance of your presentation date so that you have time to decide what you should talk about, organize it, and practice it. You will be strictly limited to the 15 minutes so that there is time for questions and for another person to speak during the class period. If I have to cut you off for time reasons it will be tough luck.
- There must be "meat" in your report and presentation. Your listeners have to come away knowing something significant that they did not know before. They must be able to follow and understand you during your presentation.
- Don't say things you don't understand or use words whose meaning you don't know.
- Avoid long lists ("This plant is good for blah blah blah..." or "The following chemicals have been found in the plant..."). You can provide additional handouts with this information if you wish but it does not make good listening.
- Take pride in your work and prepare a visually appealing presentation, but focus on content.
- Stylistically, your presentation and paper should be aimed at the educated layperson (you know, people in our class!). It should not be too technical, nor too superficial. It should also be objective: you should be reporting on the research you have done, not offering opinion or advice.
- The DePauw policy on academic integrity is described here and of course it applies to the case study.
- If molecular formulas are needed, learn to do superscripts and subscripts properly.
- In all cases, you will need to provide chemical structures. Many of these can be downloaded from Wikipedia or obtained via screenshot. Be sure these are of good quality, and be sure to cite your source (a small font footnote will be fine).
- Please prepare your report with 1" or less margins, 12 point font (no weird fonts), double or 1.5 line spacing.
- In the report, figures and tables should be numbered separately and each should have a caption. To avoid clutter, you don't need to do this in the presentation.
- Most of you will probably use PowerPoint to prepare your presentation, but any similar program you prefer is fine. Just be sure you can print you slides "2-up" for distribution to the class.
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