Student Efforts in and Perceived Benefits from Undergraduate Research

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College Student Journal







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The benefits of student engagement in undergraduate research are well-recognized by many higher education institutions. Increased emphasis on undergraduate research in these institutions has taken many forms resulting in considerable differences across institutions ranging from "light touch" to "heavy duty" involvement of students in the research process. We surveyed 44 undergraduate students who participated in undergraduate research projects in one mid-western university. The survey measured student effort and perceived benefits along many dimensions. Our findings reveal that the total hours worked on research projects is significantly and positively correlated with perceived benefits by students. At a more granular level, student effort was specifically linked to benefits in the areas of communication; data collection; professional development; personal development; professional advancement; information literacy; responsibility; and knowledge. Additionally, the total time spent on the undergraduate research project by the research mentor/faculty positively correlated with student effort. Furthermore, higher student effort also evidenced a higher intent to publish the research. Exploratory analyses examined if specific types of work correlated with total benefits. Findings revealed that the total benefits score was significantly positively correlated with tasks including developing a theory or conceptual model, defining the sample, interpreting the findings, and preparing the written report. Thus, our findings strengthen the current trends of increased emphasis on undergraduate research across the board in higher education institutions, and they suggest that "heavy duty" involvement may be most beneficial for students.

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Salsman, N., Chinta, R., Dulaney, C., Zascavage, V., & Joshi, H. (2013). Student efforts in and perceived benefits from undergraduate research. College Student Journal, 47 (1), 202-211.

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