What to Expect
Researchers & scholars seek answers to questions of great interest to them, and now more than ever interdisciplinary collaborations are the norm; your research and scholarly experience may have you work alone or in a large team, and it rarely involves being in front of a computer all the time. Research may be conducted almost anywhere, in a laboratory, in the field or community, in a library, in a studio or in a museum.
Undergraduate students that want to enrich their academic experience, advance their research training, and achieve positive results in their projects also get involved in the following activities while conducting research and scholarly activities: reading, writing, and presenting.
- Reading/researching the literature
- Designing and testing new methodologies
- Writing abstracts
- Writing research proposals
- Writing progress reports
- Writing a thesis
- Designing and presenting posters
- Preparing and delivering oral presentations
- Exhibiting their art work
- Performing in a theatre
Additionally undergraduate researchers attend:
- Research group meetings
- Training workshops
Faculty-initiated research vs. Student-initiated research
Where do ideas come from? In most cases the faculty mentor is the source of research project ideas. In some (but rare) cases, students conduct research and scholarly work derived from their own ideas and they propose those ideas to a faculty mentor. Whether students join an established research project or pursue their own ideas; their research should be worthy of academic credit.
Undergraduate students conduct research, scholarly or creative projects under the supervision of faculty mentors. Day to day supervision may be delegated to a graduate student, a postdoctoral fellow or a research professional. Faculty advisors meet with students regularly on an individual basis to discuss research and academic progress.
There are internal (within the University) and external (at other universities, organizations, industry, centers and government) opportunities for undergraduate research. These opportunities can take place during the academic year, the summer, or both.
To be productive in research, scholarly and creative activities individuals must spend many hours focused exclusively on their project; undergraduate students should plan their schedules keeping this in mind. It is recommended that students commit at least 10 hours a week to their project in order to derive some benefits and contribute significantly to the advancement of their project.