Undergraduate Research

Why Do Research? and Other Frequently Asked Questions

1:  What is research?

"Research is the scholarly pursuit of new knowledge, discovery, or creative activity in an area with the goal of advancing that area's frontiers or boundaries." 

With this definition, "research" is an integral component of all disciplines including the arts & humanities, business, education, as well as medicine, sciences, mathematics, engineering, etc. Implicit also in this definition is the peer review and dissemination of the advancement gained from the scholarly pursuit. This is what distinguishes “research” from “independent study”.all disciplines

2:  Why should I do research?

First, it brings to life what is in the textbooks.  Second, it allows you to take on a project that isn't "just another known exercise".  It is rewarding when you realize that you were the the first human to see those results that could hold the key to future advances in your field.  All human knowledge was obtained through research of some way, shape, or fashion if you look deep enough.  Third, it allows you to work closely with a professional, usually in the field you have chosen for your career path.  (Plus, it's fun!!)

3:  Are there other benefits to conducting research?

Definitely!!  A research project requires you to purposefully take on a task, diligently work on it, and sharpen your deductive reasoning and communication (written and/or verbal) skills.  These will benefit you throughout your educational/professional careers.

4:  When do I start doing research?

As soon as possible!! Don't wait until your junior or senior year to start.  We are starting a new, competitive program at UT to allow at least nine freshmen to conduct research the summer of their freshman year.  We are planning to expand this program in the upcoming years.

5:  How do I start?

Talk to the faculty members and/or other professionals in the area you're interested in pursuing research.  Talk to the FYI/FYE instructors.  Visit the OUR-UT website often to check out the various posted research possibilities.

6:  What research is there for me at UT?

It's wide-open.  UT is a comprehensive university, so the research possibilities are limitless.

7:  Do I have to stay on campus to do research?

No!!  Many of the research projects are done off-campus.  Some research projects take you to different states, countries, and/or continents. You may also wish to consider a research project if you are participating in a Study Abroad program.

8:  Is there money and/or course credit involved?

That's the BIG question!!  There could be money and/or course credit involved with your research experience.  There are internally- and externally-funded programs that will provide funds (stipends, supplies, housing, etc.) for you to conduct research.  These programs are usually highly competitive.  Most -if not all- departments/programs have a course called: "Independent Study" or "Research" or similar title under which you could obtain course credit for your research.  Even if you just volunteered your time and efforts on your research project, the experience could be rewarding to you.

9:  How will this help me after college?

Most graduate schools, medical schools, and industrial job positions are competitive.  A research experience can allow you to stand out from the crowd.  It tells your prospective employer/interviewer that you are capable of taking on a project, working independently, and seeing the project through to a conclusion. 

10:  Other Questions?

Please contact me (Thomas Kvale) or (Undergraduate Research) if you have additional questions or to talk about the research possibilities here at UT.  We're here (UH3190, 419-530-2983) to help you!!
Last Updated: 6/26/15