A Qualitative Review of Early Undergraduate Research from the Perspective of Faculty Members, Academic Advisors, and Undergraduate Researchers (Students) at a Two-Year College

Debra Lynn Frame


Over the past several decades, undergraduate research programs have offered special benefits to students that further develop critical professional and personal skills. Due to the special challenges faced by students at two-year institutions, early undergraduate research experiences may be exponentially important. With this in mind, this paper presents a qualitative review of the perceived benefits and challenges regarding early undergraduate research experiences from the viewpoint of faculty members, academic advisors, and several students who completed undergraduate research projects at a two-year institution. Generally, reflective measures suggest four main findings, which were most frequently communicated across all three participant groups: a clear definition, multiple benefits, agreed upon challenges, and the value of early undergraduate research. Despite reflective measures that suggest areas of agreement, there remained areas of confusion that need to be clarified including, a full understanding and emphasis on the importance of the mentoring relationship, breaking down the communication barrier between participant groups, and developing agreement regarding the specific goals for skill development. In the future, each of these areas needs to be addressed to realize the goal of offering a greater number of undergraduate research experiences at our college.

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