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A Guide for Undergraduate Research at UCalgary

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Undergraduate research activities are meaningful Experiential Learning (EL) opportunities where students “learn by doing” and develop research and transferable skills. High-quality research experiences intentionally evoke students’ curiosity, engage students in the discovery process, ensure opportunities to disseminate findings, and extend learning through critical reflection. With thoughtful design and mentorship, undergraduate research immerses students deeply in a topic while encouraging students to take risks, develop as people and professionals, and build resiliency by overcoming inevitable challenges that arise in research. Research is a meaningful way to engage students as partners in inquiry, inviting them to become creators and contributors of discovery and knowledge.

Our intended audience for this guide is instructors designing curricular undergraduate research experiences or research mentors supporting undergraduate research experiences in an apprenticeship model during curricular or non-curricular undergraduate research experiences. We have written this guide with an awareness of the disciplinary differences in research and student diversity while still providing meaningful guidance and direction for the research process. We hope you will use this guide to design research-based courses or develop support for one-on-one mentorship of research experiences. We may use the terms “instructors” and “research mentors” interchangeably throughout or use one title or the other to signal curricular or non-curricular research experiences. Graduate Teaching Assistants supporting undergraduates conducting research will also find value in this guide. Finally, undergraduate students undertaking a research project may also find this guide beneficial in understanding the research process and designing their investigation.

Dr. Kyla Flanagan, PhD | Academic Lead, College of Discovery, Creativity, and Innovation, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary

Rachel Braun | Evaluation, Reporting and Support Specialist, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary

Dr. Ariane Cantin, PhD | Instructor, Faculty of Science, University of Calgary

Kara Loy | Educational Development Consultant (Experiential Learning and Undergraduate Research), Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary

Dr. Mindi Summers, PhD | Senior Instructor, Faculty of Science, University of Calgary

This guide is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons — Attribution Non-Commerical Share Alike License 4.0 International, which permits sharing and adapting of this material, provided the original work is properly attributed (see recommended citation below), any changes are clearly indicated, and the material is not used for commercial purposes.

Recommended Citation

Flanagan, K., Braun, R., Cantin, A., Loy, K., & Summers, M. (2022). A Guide for Undergraduate Research at UCalgary. University of Calgary, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning Guide Series.