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Name of presentation Month 2008 A multi-disciplinary study of the benefits students gain from engaging in research experiences Dr Kirsten Zimbardi & Dr.

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Presentation on theme: "Name of presentation Month 2008 A multi-disciplinary study of the benefits students gain from engaging in research experiences Dr Kirsten Zimbardi & Dr."— Presentation transcript:

1 Name of presentation Month 2008 A multi-disciplinary study of the benefits students gain from engaging in research experiences Dr Kirsten Zimbardi & Dr Paula Myatt The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia HERDSA July 2011

2 HERDSA 2011 Undergraduate Research For the students who are the professionals of the future, developing the ability to investigate problems, make judgements on the basis of sound evidence, take decisions on a rational basis, and understand what they are doing and why is vital. Research and inquiry is not just for those who chose to pursue an academic career. It is central to professional life in the twenty first century. (Brew, 2007) Consider…

3 HERDSA educational research suggests these practices increase student retention and engagement 1.First-Year Seminars and experiences 2.Common Intellectual Experiences 3.Learning Communities 4.Writing-Intensive Courses 5.Collaborative Assignments and projects 6.Undergraduate Research 7.Diversity/Global learning 8.Service learning, Community-Based Learning 9.Internships 10.Capstone Courses and Projects High-Impact Educational Practices From Kuh, G. (2008) High-Impact Educational Practices

4 HERDSA 2011 Undergraduate Research – a definition Undergraduate Research: Any teaching and learning activity in which undergraduate students are actively engaged with the research content, processes or problems of their discipline. We acknowledge that this is a broad definition. Designed to be inclusive of many activities across all disciplines.

5 HERDSA educational research suggests these practices increase student retention and engagement 1.First-Year Seminars and experiences 2.Common Intellectual Experiences 3.Learning Communities 4.Writing-Intensive Courses 5.Collaborative Assignments and projects 6.Undergraduate Research 7.Diversity/Global learning 8.Service learning, Community-Based Learning 9.Internships 10.Capstone Courses and Projects High-Impact Educational Practices From Kuh, G. (2008) High-Impact Educational Practices

6 HERDSA 2011 Benefits of undergraduate research experiences Benefit theme Hunter et al 2006 Thinking and Working like a “Scientist”23% Becoming a “Scientist”20% Personal-Professional gains19% Career Clarification16% Career/Graduate School Preparation 10% Skills8% Generalised gains4% Working Independently<1% Hunter et al (2006)

7 HERDSA 2011 This study aimed to further our understanding of the benefits of undergraduate research experiences currently available across a range of disciplinary contexts at a research intensive university. The investigation asked the questions: 1.What specific student learning outcomes are believed to be achieved through undergraduate research experiences? 2.Do the findings match those of previously reported studies? What difference, if any, can be identified? 3.Are the most commonly (frequently) reported benefits in this Australian study similar to or different from the benefits reported in previous studies in different educational contexts? Undergraduate Research at UQ ‘Bridging the Gap’

8 HERDSA 2011 Searched for examples of students actively engaged in research 135 cases of undergraduate research identified Semi-structured group interviews of coordinators ~50% participation rate  72 detailed descriptions –Case studies available in Farrand-Zimbardi et al (2010) Covered broad range of disciplines (26 Schools) 94% of cases were courses Benefits to students of participating in these research activities Identified in transcripts Matched with 8 themes from Hunter et al (2006) Represented as the proportion of total benefits represented by each theme Characterisation of undergraduate research experiences

9 HERDSA 2011 Benefits of active participation in undergraduate research Benefit theme Thinking and Working like a “Researcher or Professional” * Becoming a “Researcher or Professional” * Personal-Professional gains Career Clarification Career/Graduate School Preparation Skills Generalised gains Working Independently *Originally “Scientist” in Hunter et al (2006) Thinking and Working like a “Scientist”  Thinking and Working like a “Researcher or Professional” Becoming a “Scientist”  Becoming a “Researcher or Professional”

10 HERDSA 2011 Benefits of undergraduate research experiences Hunter et al (2006) Benefit theme Hunter et al 2006 UQ study %Rank % Thinking and Working like a “Researcher or Professional” * 23%1 2 Becoming a “Researcher or Professional” * 20%212%4 Personal-Professional gains19%38%5 Career Clarification16%48%5 Career/Graduate School Preparation 10%5 18%3 Skills8%6 25%1 Generalised gains4%72%7 Working Independently<1%84%6

11 HERDSA 2011 Particularly communication skills Linked explicitly to assessment “…and finally, the most important thing is documentation. Whatever the design, when we are presenting this to your client, the client doesn’t want to know whether you did an elastic analysis or linear and whatever. It’s important which documents you are presenting” (Civil Engineering) “So they actually have to think about a research question and then in their final paper they have to do a literature review, pose their hypothesis, do the analysis, interpret the results, come up with the conclusion” (Sociology and Criminology) Lopatto (2009) noted same shift moving from summer to course based models of undergraduate research Skills

12 HERDSA 2011 Thinking and Working like a Researcher or Professional Experiential learning Embedded in design of student activities “From the beginning of the semester the idea is really that the research that they’re doing will be the kind of things that architects do anyway.” (Architecture) Applying research skills to solve complex industry-relevant problems “The projects we use are real industry projects…if we get them familiar with the real industry projects, they will not be afraid of tackling any project they are … given in industry when they start working.” (Mechanical and Mining Engineering)

13 HERDSA 2011 Research experience for a broad range of career destinations Using the outcomes of their research projects in interviews to gain employment “…because they do a project, there is an output at the end of it and so they have management plan or a really comprehensive report that they have developed or something that they can take to interview.” (Environmental Management) Enhancing their CV and developing networks of contacts “I think it gives students who are participating in these competitions get a real head start in their careers, not only because it looks good on your CV and because… members of the profession are often involved in judging practice moots” (Law) Career and/or Graduate School Preparation

14 HERDSA 2011 Benefits from narrow context applicable across much broader contexts Science  26 disciplines Summer  curriculum Apprenticeship  diverse models of research experience Changes in relative frequency of reported benefits Experiential learning ranked near top Skills and Enhanced Career and/or Graduate School Preparation more highly ranked in broader context Use of assessment to ensure skills attained Engage a greater number of students with career plans outside academic research Conclusions and Implications

15 HERDSA 2011 Undergraduate Research For the students who are the professionals of the future, developing the ability to investigate problems, make judgements on the basis of sound evidence, take decisions on a rational basis, and understand what they are doing and why is vital. Research and inquiry is not just for those who chose to pursue an academic career. It is central to professional life in the twenty first century. (Brew, 2007) Consider…

16 HERDSA 2011 Contact details for authors: Dr Kirsten Zimbardi Dr Paula Myatt Acknowledgements Research Project TeamPeter Adams, Caroline Crosthwaite, Julie Duck, Lesley Lluka, Margaret Wegener & Joanne Blanchfield Research assistantsNicole van der Burg, Amelia Arnold & Liam Coulthard URE CoordinatorsFrom across all 7 Faculties! FundingUQ Strategic T&L Grant

17 HERDSA 2011 Brew, A. (2007) Research and Teaching from the students’ perspective, Southampton Solent University, Research and Teaching International Colloquium, April. Available from: Farrand-Zimbardi, K., van der Burg, N., & Myatt, P. (2010). Undergraduate Students’ Research Experiences: Bridging the Gap Between Teaching and Research in a Research-Intensive University. Paper presented at the Report for the University of Queensland Strategic Teaching and Learning Grants Scheme. Available from: Healey, M. & Jenkins, A. (2009) Developing undergraduate research and inquiry. The Higher Education Academy. The Higher Education Academy. (149 pages) Available from: publications/DevelopingUndergraduate_Final.pdf publications/DevelopingUndergraduate_Final.pdf Hunter, A., Laursen, S. & Seymour, E. (2007) Becoming a scientist: the role of undergraduate research in students’ cognitive, personal and professional development. Science Education, 91, Kuh, G. (2008). “High Impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter.” Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), 44 pages. Lopatto, D. (2009) “Science in Solution: The Impact of Undergraduate Research on Student Learning”, Published by Research Corp. for Science Advancement, 132pp. References


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