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General Card #3277
Flip videos promote literature reviews for student researchers
Updated: 1/4/2023 9:38 PM by Erick Vasquez
Reviewed: 1/5/2023 7:29 AM by Nathalie Lavoine
Video lessons that "hook" students to analyze published manuscripts, hypothesis formulations, technical and research concepts, and research communication.

Have you ever struggled to motivate students to perform a literature review or find publications related to a research topic? Tasks can vary from finding available evidence to support a hypothesis to completing an extensive literature review or writing a section of an analysis/discussion section. In this card, you will find a methodology to "hook" students into finding research articles and summarizing their findings by recording a video using flip (https://info.flip.com/), posting it in a general forum, and then discussing the papers

Summary: Initially, the instructor—or Lead Investigator (PI)—will explain the research topic of interest and give the assignment to a cohort of students, including a class, summer undergraduate researchers, or a PI's research group. The students will investigate a research topic of interest for everyone involved and will find a published paper related to the topic. Then, each student will prepare a two-minute video presentation using Flip. Once all the students record and upload their videos, they will form groups and discuss common observations, limitations of the studies, theories that support their work or efforts, and relevance or connections to other research studies. For example, students could discuss a relevant reference in the study or a paper that cited their work. Students could also use EM micromoments discussions as listed in instructor tips. 

Assignment: Once a publication (peer-reviewed paper) is identified, the student will discuss the primary outcomes and goals of the study, limitations, and potential improvements that need to be presented to the class in the form of a recorded flip video. 


1) Short flip video (~ 2 min) where the student explains the three most unique concepts or novelties they learned from a paper, as discussed earlier in the assignment section.

2) Summary of the reviewed paper or publication. Students can turn in a report or a concept map or prepare paragraphs for a paper-in-progress based on the single reviewed publication.

3) Alternative deliverables: Comprehensive assignments could build from multiple reviewed paper iterations (e.g., after reviewing multiple papers during a semester). The PI could ask the student to prepare the following deliverables:

  • A concept map
  • Introduction for a manuscript in preparation
  • Reference collection
  • Missing gaps in the literature review or tasks to pursue for future research (proposal)

Evaluation/feedback. The student will receive feedback from a cohort of students. The instructor/PI could use an assessment of the initial and the last assignment to track improvement in communication and analytical skills. For this example, approximately 75% of the students who participated found the activity helpful when using the flip video recording to prepare a literature review of a laboratory report. 

Duration: Students will deliver a 2-minute video at the end of each week. For example, a summer undergraduate research program could use this method during the entire program (~ 10 - 12 weeks), and the students must discuss their findings weekly. 

EML concepts. By connecting research aspects with video explanations, the students will find research connections that need to be made to succeed in their research productivity. Moreover, the students will learn to use scholarly databases (Google Scholar, web of science, or library databases) to support their curiosity about a specific topic. Lastly, the students will have weekly discussions or written assignments (1 - page memos) summarizing their findings and the literature cited. The students will also generate short video clips (2 mins) explaining a concept they learn through this technique and present it in layperson's terms so that future undergraduate research students can see previous group members' work. The memo and short video will create value for improving students' research communication. Assessment of students' efforts should be performed weekly (Note: It is only a 2 min video). Instructors can participate in and moderate the discussions.  

Example video submissions.

The following link contains students' discussions on the importance of calibration for engineering/scientific equipment. 


Assignment description example: Students were assigned to identify a published paper highlighting the importance of calibrating equipment for experiment data collection. 


  • Demonstrate constant curiosity about our changing world
  • Integrate information from many sources to gain insight
Creating Value
  • Identify unexpected opportunities to create extraordinary value
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