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What are the benefits of undergraduate research?

There are a variety of benefits for undergraduate students who get involved in research. Research experience will allow undergraduate students to

  • gain better understanding published works
  • learn to balance collaborative and individual work
  • determine an area of interest
  • help jump start their careers

Exposure to UGR leads many students to discover their passion for research and continue on to graduate studies and faculty positions.

A direct benefit of research starts in the classroom. When investigating any phenomenon in class, it is useful to know how the original study was performed. By engaging in UGR, students will find it easier to understand the reasoning behind others' research. Additionally, UGR can provide students with an ongoing source of one-on-one mentorship that is unheard of in the undergraduate curriculum. A less direct benefit, and one that is more difficult to teach in the classroom, the balance between independence and collaboration. Research is often performed in collaborative teams, and one must learn to balance a collaborative effort in the laboratory with work that is capable of be accomplished independently. Interdisciplinary work is difficult to teach in the classroom, and on-the-job experience with teams is a bonus for any workplace environment. The nature of research today is such that interdisciplinary teams are becoming the norm, and gaining firsthand experience in teamwork should be encouraged.

Exposure to an area of research can assist students in exploring potential career fields. The earlier students become involved, the more experience they attain, which enhances their career choice. Some undergraduates who are unsure what to do when they attained their undergraduate degree, will proceed to graduate school with the ill-fated idea that it is the next logical step after undergraduate studies. This will leave them ill-prepared for the strenuous coursework to come. If they have undergraduate experience in research, they are more likely to know if they actually enjoy research. Through UGR, undergraduate students may discover a passion for research they never knew existed.

Steps for getting involved