Undergraduate Research Projects: practice and perceptions

Brewer, Gayle orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0690-4548, Dewhurst, Annie M and Doran, Dawn (2012) Undergraduate Research Projects: practice and perceptions. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 11 (2). pp. 208-217. ISSN 1475-7257

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/plat.2012.11.2.208


Undergraduate research forms an integral part of higher education, and the research project in particular represents an important component of the undergraduate degree. This study investigated current practice and student and supervisor perceptions of undergraduate research, using both online surveys and telephone interviews. Important differe nces between student and supervisor perceptions
of undergraduate research were identified. In particular, whilst both students and supervisors viewed the research project as a collaborative process, students reported that the project was more student led than supervisors rated it as being. Students were also more likely than supervisors to view activities as part of the supervisor role or to believe that the supervisor should act as a mentor. Students were less
likely than supervisors to report that the research project enhanced skill development or that they were members of the departmental or psychological research community. There were no differences between supervisor estimates and direct student ratings of student satisfaction. Students were more
satisfied if they believed that their project was student (as opposed to supervisor) led and that it advanced knowledge in the subject area.

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