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The first step in the undergraduate research process, typically, is to find a faculty member whose team or lab you can work with and contribute to. After finding a mentor, work with them to propose a project and design your methodology. Once you have an idea of what your project will be, writing a brief abstract will help to describe your project and your goals to others for funding and conference applications.
Having a good idea is only one part of the equation in research. Having the funds to carry out the work is another very important element of the equation. Here are resources to help you get started.
- I don’t have a project, but I’d be interested in doing research with a professor. What should I do?
No matter what discipline you are in, STEM, humanities or social sciences or arts, approach your professors about the possibility of joining one of their projects.
In summer 2022, 7 faculty and 8 students from Computer Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Exercise Science, Art + Design, and History & Geography were involved in S.U.R.E. research projects. Another 5 graduate students had paid research projects during their academic year and summer through the Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) program.
If you don't know which professor to approach, discuss your idea with your faculty advisor.
- Should I talk to my professors?
Yes! Typically, professors love talking about their scholarship, even if for only a few minutes after class or during office hours or by appointment. If you find a topic covered in your class that intrigues you, ask your professor if that's an area that she or he is interested in or does research in. If not, at least it is a starting point for a conversation about opportunities, and you may get some leads to others who are doing research in related areas.
- Where else can I turn to learn about opportunities?
If you are still not sure whom to talk to, call the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research and we will be happy to talk to you and direct you to the right resources.
- How do I know what research is taking place in my department?
A good place to start is the departmental research listing