University of Pittsburgh
Evidence and Discovery

Investigation and Discovery

August 22, 2018-December 19, 2018
16 sessions

Course Director
Peter Drain, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Cell Biology and Physiology

Course Director
John Maier, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Family Medicine



Course Description

In Investigation and Discovery, students apply their critical thinking and literature-review skills to exploring an area of interest and developing a scholarly project proposal. They also select a faculty mentor to work with on the project.

The goals of the course are:

  1. formulate a scholarly project proposal with the help of the faculty mentor and the Investigation and Discovery facilitators.
  2. thoroughly review relevant background literature.
  3. prepare a short written proposal for the scholarly project, and make a PowerPoint presentation of the project to present and discuss in class.
  4. critically evaluate peer proposals and provide substantive feedback.
  5. revise the written proposals, addressing critiques from faculty and peers, and make a PowerPoint presentation of the revised scholarly project proposal to the class.

The 36 faculty are from 11 departments: Anesthesiology; Cell Biology and Physiology; Emergency Medicine; Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences; Ophthalmology; Pathology; Pediatrics; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Psychiatry; Surgery; and Environmental and Occupational Health (School of Public Health).

Educational Methods


Self-directed learning Development of a research proposal Online modules    
Small-group discussion Oral presentation using PowerPoint        



Evaluation for this course is based on written proposals and PowerPoint presentations, both initial and revised; participation in discussions; written critique of a peer scholarly project proposal; attendance and timely completion of all assignments.

Grading: This course comprises 100% of the grade for the Evidence and Discovery Block, Section 3. Grading for the block is Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Course Director Peter Drain, PhD, and William Walker, PhD are recipients of the Sheldon Adler Award for Innovation in Medical Education. Peter Drain, Phd; Cynthia Lance-Jones, PhD; Peter Veldkamp, MD; and Diemthuy Bui, MD are recipients of the Kenneth E. Schuit Master Educator Award. In addition, Drs. Drain, Lance-Jones, andĀ Veldkamp; Diemthuy Bui, MD; and William McIvor, MD, are members of the UPSOM Academy of Master Educators.