ERIC Number: EJ1047325
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences Can Make Scientific Research More Inclusive
Bangera, Gita; Brownell, Sara E.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v13 n4 p602-606 Dec 2014
Current approaches to improving diversity in scientific research focus on graduating more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors, but graduation with a STEM undergraduate degree alone is not sufficient for entry into graduate school. Undergraduate independent research experiences are becoming more or less a prerequisite for admission into graduate school and eventually a career in academia; a quick look at the recommendations for any of the top graduate programs in biology or science career-related websites state an expectation for undergraduate research and a perceived handicap if recommendation letters for graduate school do not include a discussion of the applicant's research experience (Webb, 2007; Harvard University, 2013). Independent undergraduate research experiences have been shown to improve the retention of students in scientific research (National Research Council, 2003; Laursen et al., 2010; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011; Eagan et al., 2013). Participation in independent research experiences has been shown to increase interest in pursuing a PhD (Seymour et al., 2004; Russell et al., 2007) and seems to be particularly beneficial for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds (Villarejo et al., 2008; Jones et al., 2010; Espinosa, 2011; Hernandez et al., 2013). However, the limited number of undergraduate research opportunities available and the structure of how students are selected for these independent research lab positions exclude many students and can perpetuate inequities in the research community. In this article, the authors highlight barriers faced by students interested in pursuing an undergraduate independent research experience and factors that impact how faculty members select students for these limited positions. They examine how bringing research experiences into the required course work for students could mitigate these issues and ultimately make research more inclusive.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Undergraduate Study, College Faculty, Scientific Research, Research Projects, STEM Education, Graduate Study, Student Research, Barriers, Experience, Admission Criteria, College Admission, Teacher Student Relationship, Financial Problems, Mentors, Bias, Equal Education, Introductory Courses
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A