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What Constitutes Successful Undergraduate Research?

  • Colin Inglefield (a1) and Adam Johnston (a1)

Abstract

Research has become a point of much greater emphasis in the undergraduate science curriculum within the past few generations of undergraduate students. However, there is not universal agreement upon what constitutes a successful undergraduate research program, and how degrees of success should be measured. A model for a successful program based principally on student ownership of research projects will be presented here. This approach is an attempt to give undergraduate students the most holistic research experience possible, by involving them in all stages of a research project in a limited amount of time. A central goal for each student is a definable product of their particular project, which is disseminated to as wide an external audience as possible. Measures of success, from student perspectives, will be discussed. These measures include data from interviews of students before and after their research experience.

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1. Mulvey, P. J., and Nicholson, S.Physics and Astronomy Senior Report: Classes of 1999 and 2000” (American Institute of Physics, 2002).
2. Hakim, T. M., “At the Interface of Scholarship and Teaching: How to Develop and Administer Undergraduate Research Programs” (Council on Undergraduate Research, 2000) pp. 6366.
3. Lichter, R. L., “Research is Important, But…”, Academic Excellence: The Role of Research in the Physical Sciences at Undergraduate Institutions, ed. Doyle, M. P. (Research Corporation, 2000) pp. 4153.
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5. Spilich, G., Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly 18, 57 (1997).
6. Johnston, A., in Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2004).
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What Constitutes Successful Undergraduate Research?

  • Colin Inglefield (a1) and Adam Johnston (a1)

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