UGR Best Practices
Steps Toward Selecting A Student
- Get the word out! Post your research opportunity on this website.
- Identify an application process for interested students (e.g., consider a combination of written materials and interview).
- Try to ascertain the level of intellectual independence of student applicants (e.g., may consider past accomplishments, extra-curricular activities, and interest level).
- Define your role as a faculty research mentor to clarify expectations.
Set Up and Communicate a Work Plan
Meet with the selected student to determine the number of credits a student can earn, draw up a work plan and meeting schedule, and benchmark anticipated accomplishments.
Provide an orientation to introduce the student to other group members and the payroll process (if paid position).
Establish from the outset what work habits are important to you and the project, such as showing up when expected, documenting and following through on project work.
Identify any specific training the student will need, and how she or he will go about getting the training. Are there independent study materials, or will you or your designee do the training one-on-one? How quickly do you expect the student to master required skills, and how should she or he practice those skills?
Keep Communications Open
Be sure that students regularly report to you or your designee to:
- Discuss their progress
- Ask questions
- Review resources and documentation of research
Written project status reports are a good idea as it helps the student integrate the details of their day-to-day work into a larger research framework.
Identify Benchmarks and Recognize Accomplishments
- Help the student identify the key measures of quality research in the project.
- Students often feel very frustrated in a research setting, so be sure to recognize their accomplishments, large and small, as their work progresses. You may need to help them understand that in many cases frustration is an integral part of moving forward.
Maintain a Research Log or Notebook
- Students should keep notes of what they do and record results regularly for their own records and in some cases so that another student or researcher may continue the project after the student leaves.
- Many students do not know how to keep a research notebook, so an example would be helpful. Be sure to discuss any proprietary issues concerning the student's research, particularly if it is a part of an ongoing and/or funded project.
- A common problem is student-generated software on protocols that are impossible for others to run once the student is gone.
- Be sure the student is conducting research in an ethical manner, understands concepts of intellectual property rights and academic integrity. All students should be familiar with the CCU Code of Conduct and the role of the Office of Academic Integrity.
Encourage Students to Present Their Work
- Tell the student about CCU events at which students may present their work to faculty and peers, including annual Undergraduate Research Competition each spring
- Students who have had noteworthy accomplishments may benefit from presenting professional conferences or symposia. Departments should pursue travel or registration funding for qualified students through their major department or college.
Save the Date
National Council for Undergraduate Research (NCUR)
April 16-18, 2015
Eastern Washington University
Call for Papers:
September 8, 2014
Deadline for Abstract
December 2, 2014
For more information, visit
April 10-11, 2015
Buies Creek, North Carolina
Office for Undergraduate Research
Sands Hall 111