What is Research?


Alaska EPSCoR and UAA undergraduate research grant recipient Lorraine Perez Castillo and faculty mentor Jocelyn Krebs.

Research is the exciting process of discovery.  It is the aim, the inspiration, and the heart of all learning. It is a key to student success and the mechanism of active learning for the undergraduate experience.

Undergraduate research creates opportunities for hands-on, active learning that takes students beyond the classroom and introduces them into the global community of scholars.  Students can participate in the research endeavors of a faculty member, or in a project of their own design.

Examples of research and creative activities vary according to discipline and may include: 

  • surveys
  • analyses
  • library research with primary and secondary sources
  • fieldwork
  • original works of creative expression
  • theses
  • laboratory experiments

Why Participate in Undergraduate Research?

Engaging in research activity as an undergraduate provides a student with opportunities to:

  • apply what is learned in real-life situations
  • anticipate problems and generate solutions
  • work one on one with faculty mentors
  • collaborate with faculty and community organizations
  • be involved as part of a research team
  • study something of personal interest and discover knowledge
  • further develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and presentation skills
  • integrate research as a component of a course of study
  • prepare for graduate study or entry into the workforce

Examples of undergraduate research were discussed at the Jan. 29, 2010 Workshop on Undergraduate Research.