Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship

Why Do Research?

What do we mean by Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship?

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) defines undergraduate research as "an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline."

Undergraduate research is faculty-mentored, self-directed work that enables individual students or small groups of undergraduate students to explore an issue of interest to them and communicate the results to others.

It includes all types of scholarship — traditional lab research, creative works, quantitative, qualitative, includes all facets of the Boyer Model of scholarship.

What makes research distinct from your other class work is that the final product, the "research output," must include the process of scholars in the field and include this process in the product. For example, a music student may produce a song that reflects a certain style or historical period or which is created to inspire a particular mood or make a political statement. The process of researching how to achieve the goal should be clearly documented in a scholarly way and presented along with the final product. This documentation could be shared with others in the form of a poster, verbal presentation, or formal paper.

Often undergraduate research is only different from other activities you do in that the "packaging" is organized and specific. A typical research project includes a background for why the project is important, a clear statement of the question, the process used to answer the question, the results and a discussion of the implications of your results.

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