Frequently Asked Questions
What is research?
Undergraduate research is scholarly study in any discipline in which inquiry, discovery and creativity culminate in advancements in science, technology, the arts or humanities. It is the behavioral endeavor employed only by humans and, in this case, it is undergraduates who work under the mentorship of proven scholars, experts and professionals. Any undergraduate chosen by a mentor may participate in undergraduate research. Students from all disciplines – from anthropology, history, design and English to physics, microbiology and turf grass management – can engage in the excitement of scholarly research. Know that motivated students from high schools, community colleges and universities from North Carolina, the nation and the world are invited to participate.
It has been said that the "lecture" hall is all about answering questions. Conversely research (creative scholarship) is all about ASKING questions. If you are interested in the who? what? where? when? how?, then it is very likely that you will enjoy conducting research.
Why undergraduate research?
- Develop Skills to Conduct Research
The job market is continuously evolving and the rate of evolution is fast because of the rapid development of new technologies. The job market is also highly competitive as employers try to be efficient and do more with less. An adaptable work force gives employers an edge and hence the ability to adapt is a requirement and no longer a luxury. Furthermore, effective communication skills are now essential in nearly all fields of practice. Undergraduate research teaches students the process of developing creative ideas, formulating and executing research and presenting the outcome. The skills learned through undergraduate research enable the college graduate to develop and adapt to new ideas and pursue them in a systematic way. The ability to communicate, both in written and verbal form, enhances the overall effectiveness of the individual and makes her/him a success.
- Develop and Produce New Knowledge
One of the major roles of universities is to create and investigate new ideas. Undergraduate students can be an important part of teams that that often involve graduate students and research associates, all operating under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Because of their fresh and unbiased look at new ideas, undergraduate students often strengthen the research team and can positively affect the direction of research.
- Improve a Sense of Community and Group Dynamic
The exposure of many students to the university setting is often limited to attending classes and occasionally meeting with an advisor. Undergraduate research provides a mechanism for students to interact more closely and frequently with faculty mentors and other researchers on campus. The improved sense of belonging and accomplishment enriches the educational experience of the student and provides opportunities to explore potential career paths.
What can I expect of a research experience?
It depends on your level of experience, your academic discipline and the faculty mentor. Some students do a lot of work in the library while others work in the laboratory, at a computer or even out in the field. Still, other students work in the art studio or on perfecting a musical performance.
What experience do I need to do research with a UNCG faculty member?
It depends. Most faculty members are willing to take any enthused, hard working and dedicated student. Others expect that you have completed certain courses or surpassed a certain GPA.
Can I get paid to do research?
It depends. Some faculty members have grants in which they can pay you from. You can work with a faculty member to apply for a UNCG URA. Even if you don't get paid you might be able to earn academic credit for your work by enrolling in an independent study.
Will research help me get into graduate school?
The bar for getting into graduate school has been raised. Stellar GPAs and GRE scores are important, but today the importance of a student's own undergraduate research project is a significant contributing factor to acceptance into, and success in, graduate school.
Will research help me get a job?
Probably. There are many skills you are likely to improve as you work on a research project: thinking independently, writing, working with others, synthesizing information, creating new knowledge and organizational skills. All of these are valued by employers. Employers look for students who took advantage of a variety of learning opportunities and who demonstrated they were successful at them.