Broadly defined, undergraduate research includes scholarly, creative, and artistic activities that lead to new knowledge, improve problem solving capabilities, offer original or historical theory and interpretation, and/or produce art or creative performances. A collaborative effort between students and their research mentors, undergraduate research and creative activities are interactive, discovery-based experiences that teach and engage students about the numerous components involved in the research and creative process. Research and creative opportunities occur in and outside of the formal curriculum.
Students’ individual abilities, time commitment, and length of involvement will affect their productivity as undergraduate researchers. Undergraduate students may not engage in a research or creative opportunity long enough to make an original contribution to a discipline. However, if students learn and work on essential components of the research or creative process (e.g., review literature and identify knowledge gaps, design hypotheses and experiments, collect and analyze data), we posit that they begin to more deeply engage in an academic discipline by learning about research or creative methods, practicing advanced critical thinking, and participating in key steps of the research and/or creative continuum.
Some students will work on part of a faculty member’s current research project. Other students may develop an independent project of their own that is guided by a faculty member. Either way, students have opportunities in a variety disciplines from art history to zoology to engage in original hands-on research and creative projects.
Learn more about Undergraduate Research here.