You CAN be a student researcher!
The notion of performing research as an undergraduate student can be a bit intimidating. But doing research as an undergraduate can help you discover your hidden talents and interests. Research projects can also lead to scholarships and awards. Plus, it looks good on a resume or graduate school application.
UW Bothell's Office of Research has merit awards for students participating in undergraduate research. These awards allow students to focus more attention and time on their research. To learn about applying, click here.
The Undergraduate Research Database is a place where faculty will post research opportunities for students. To view these opportunities, click here. Also coming soon, new undergraduate kiosks which will be located throughout campus.
Here are some tips to help you get started in the world of research.
Talk to faculty
"Chat up your faculty members," says Linda Watts, professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (IAS). "It's not hard to get us talking, especially if you ask about our research." Most faculty members are involved in some type of research; don't be shy.
Start sooner rather than later
"The sooner you realize you might be interested in pursuing research opportunities, the more possibilities open up to you," Watts says. Student Brendan Mclane noted that "once you do some research, you find there is an audience beyond these walls who are interested in what you are excited about. There are opportunities out there."
Don't be intimidated
"All students can do research if they want to," says Julie Shayne, a lecturer in IAS. "We have amazing resources both at our campus and at the Seattle campus. There are many places to submit papers, attend symposia and compete for awards. The opportunities are available and our faculty members are very willing to work with students."
"Research is an 'unstructured beast' that requires the ability to clearly define problems," says Gwen Ottinger, assistant professor in IAS. "At the beginning of the research process, the only thing I have on a student is more experience of breaking things down. The only way to get that experience is by doing it hands-on."
"You're not going to ever know everything," Mclane says. "Sometimes you feel like you have to. Don't be intimidated."
Secret weapon #1: The librarian
Seven out of seven panelists agree: the librarian is your best friend and resource when it comes to performing research. "The library workshops are very helpful," Mclane says. "I founds great tools to use and the librarians are amazing."
Take small steps
"My first ideas were huge and vague," says Chris McRae, who won a Mary Gates Scholarship for his research on veterans. "Think of something you can do in a year." If you don't want to start from scratch, McRae recommends students ask to participate in a faculty member's research project. "You don't have to do all the back-breaking work yourself."
Steps you can take today:
Sign up for an independent undergraduate research course.
Check out the Research-In-Action a two-credit course through CUSP.
Consider the senior thesis option in IAS. "It just means it's a project you're going to work on for a quarter or multiple quarters," Watts says. "Don't let it freak you out."
Apply for a UW Bothell Undergraduate Award in the fall. Here is the application.
Attend Research in Progress seminars on topics of interest. They are held weekly in the library (nice and convenient when you need to take a break from your research). Click here for the schedule.
Check out the following for more opportunities:
The Undergraduate Research Database: Steps and lists of research opportunities at the UW can be found here.
UW Bothell's Undergraduate Research Fair: Opportunities specifically for UWB students. Find out when our next Research Fair is happening!