Frequently Asked Questions
Exploring research questions
Research is the creative, systematic process of asking new questions and generating new knowledge. Across all career paths, people rely on research to make smarter decisions and develop innovative products, policies, techniques, and much more.
When you pursue research, you’ll learn how to apply classroom learning to real-world situations. You’ll work with a team or a mentor to more deeply understand complex social, political, economic, and/or scientific challenges, so that you can develop solutions that positively impact people’s lives and contribute to the public good. In the process, you’ll hone your skills in communication, teamwork, and project management, as you learn how to successfully design and execute long-term projects from start to finish.
Frequently asked research questions
Although many people associate research with the sciences, virtually every field and every profession practices some form of research! Depending on your major, pursuing research might involve:
- Running experiments in a lab
- Interviewing people in their schools, workplaces, or community spaces
- Studying historical documents in a library archive
- Conducting observational studies in a classroom
- Using statistical software to analyze large datasets or simulate different scenarios
- Collecting samples or studying wildlife in a nature reserve
- Administering customer feedback surveys and focus groups
- Designing, testing, and prototyping products using 3D modeling software
- And much, much more!
You’ll learn your field’s research methods by taking classes and engaging in hands-on research experiences. As a student, you’ll work closely with expert mentors (such as professors or community/industry professionals) to develop your skills and deepen your understanding of the big questions in your area of study.
The research on research is clear: students who participate in these types of hands-on, applied learning experiences gain skills and many other benefits compared to peers who don’t pursue these experiences. Undergraduate researchers:
- Earn higher GPAs, have a shorter time-to-degree, and graduate higher rates overall
- Report feeling a stronger sense of belonging and purpose in college
- Build strong support networks in college, including positive relationships with faculty, staff, and peers
- Gain real-world professional experience in their field and a deeper understanding of the professional paths available to them (career, graduate study, and more)
- Give back to their communities in meaningful ways—using their skills, learning, and passion to contribute to the public good
Getting involved in research will push you out of your comfort zone. You’ll have to talk to new people, adapt to unfamiliar situations, learn challenging skills, and reconsider assumptions you previously took for granted. But we promise you… taking the plunge will transform your college experience and change your life for the better!
Yes! Your professors aren’t just teachers—they’re also expert researchers who are making significant contributions in their fields. At any given moment, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of research projects taking place around you.
Look through the list below to read about select faculty projects happening at UW Bothell (many of which directly involve undergraduate students!)
- Study plant diversity and ecological resilience in the Mount St. Helen blast zone (Dr. Cynthia Chang)
- Design a chatbot that uses AI to support caregivers for children with chronic conditions (Dr. Dong Si)
- Preserve the work of feminist social justice organization in the Puget Sound area (Dr. Julie Shayne)
- Analyze acoustic data and seismic surveys to understand marine ecosystems and predict ocean behavior (Dr. Shima Abadi)
- Advocate for accurate depictions of indigenous history and culture in K-12 social studies curricula (Dr. Sarah Shear)
- Prevent sexual harassment in agricultural workplaces (Drs. Victoria Breckwich Vásquez and Jody Early)
- Develop marketing campaigns to help local businesses thrive (Professor Nick Cuhaciyan)
UW Bothell has been nationally recognized for its exceptional commitment to community engagement. Many of your professors closely with nonprofits, local community members, industry partners, government and tribal agencies, and other groups in Washington state and around the world. Learn more about how you can get involved in community-engaged learning and research.
Many UW Bothell students pursue research or creative projects as part of an independent study or capstone course, a professional internship, a study abroad experience, or a global learning course. Others work independently with professors to explore topics they’re passionate about.
Absolutely! In fact, students who get involved in research early in college reap the greatest benefits—personal, academic, and professional. Research experience can also make you a more competitive candidate for your desired major.
Some students work with the same lab or faculty member for all four years. Others choose to explore diverse interests and career paths by pursuing multiple research experience in different fields. Our advising team can help you plan your four-year research journey.
Yes! It’s never too late to get involved. For seniors, we recommend scheduling an advising appointment with our team as soon as possible. We can connect you with opportunities so you can make the most out of your remaining time in college. Note that graduating seniors may also be eligible for certain programs or research assistantships for up to one quarter after graduation.
As an international student, you can take research classes and receive course credit for faculty-mentored independent study courses without needing to complete any additional paperwork. You can also pursue research (on campus or in a community setting) as an unpaid volunteer.
If you hold an F1 visa, you can be hired as a research assistant for up to 20 hrs/wk on the UW Bothell campus. (Note that your paycheck must come through UW Bothell, so you are not eligible to be hired by professors on the UW Seattle or Tacoma campus.) You may also be eligible for cohort-based programs, such as the Digital Scholars program or certain summer programs, if they are paid via a stipend.
To learn more about international student employment visit the on-campus employment site. If you have specific questions about your work authorization, schedule an appointment with the International Student Services advising team in Navigate.
Get started in research
Find high-impact and experiential learning opportunities curated for UW Bothell students by following the Getting Started in Research Checklist and exploring your options in the Connected Husky Database below: