“Research skills are vital in all facets of life”: Research perceptions, expectations and experiences of undergraduate students

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

Our university, like many others in Australia, is determined to explore different strategies to build stronger research experiences for undergraduate students into the curriculum. During the course of a recent investigation, students were surveyed to ascertain their perceptions, expectations and experiences of research in their undergraduate degrees. The purpose of the student survey was to explore students’ attitudes to a proposal for a research intensive minor which was being proposed as an option in undergraduate courses. The student responses indicate that the majority of those surveyed had a varied and broad understanding of what constituted research. Many of the student opinions and definitions specifically related to the discipline that they were currently studying. We were pleased to find that many of those surveyed expressed an appreciation of the importance of independent research skills to their future employability. The findings from this survey contribute the student voice to the wider discourse around building stronger teaching–research links into undergraduate degree programs.

Keywords: research experience, undergraduate courses, student voice