Guide to Undergraduate Research

Version 1. January 29, 2021

This section provides guidance on how physics departments and programs can meaningfully engage undergraduate students in research. This includes how to integrate research experiences throughout your program, support and enable faculty to successfully mentor undergraduate researchers, support students participating in research experiences on and off campus, ensure equitable access to these experiences, and promote and fund such experiences. Undergraduate research covers a range of potential experiences, including participation in the discovery of new knowledge and research-training experiences that emphasize the process and practices of science.

Benefits

Engaging undergraduate students in meaningful research experiences has been identified as a high-impact practice, has been shown to provide a wide range of benefits to students, and can be a powerful tool for recruiting and retention, particularly for students from

. Students gain direct experience of the practices, standards, and conventions of the discipline, as well as content knowledge, technical skills, communication skills, and the ability to analyze and propose solutions to complex, open-ended problems. Through the experience of participating in the physics community, students gain the opportunity to better understand what it means to be a physicist and decide whether to pursue research as a career.

Effective Practices

  1. Promote research for undergraduate students in your program or department

  2. Design meaningful research experiences for undergraduate students

  3. Create an institutional infrastructure to support undergraduate research

Programmatic Assessments

The Cycle of Reflection and Action

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1738311, 1747563, and 1821372. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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