Undergraduate Research at YSU
Research is the systematic search for knowledge; it’s purpose is to establish new facts, solve problems, test ideas, or develop products. Research can be basic to advance the state of science or it can be applied to address specific needs of society. Research may take many forms – including scientific experiments, engineering designs, musical scores, exhibitions, performances, and much more. The best way to learn any content is by getting actively involved; and asking and answering questions using scholarship and inquiry is a great way to learn in depth. At YSU, we teach scholarship by having students do research. It is not something you learn by watching; you learn by getting involved at every step with a supervising faculty member.
It is never too early to get involved in research. Whether you are a freshman or a senior, research opportunities exist. Start by talking to your instructors. All you need to start is curiosity; contact us to see where your interest may lead you. The place to start is with a question, idea, or inspiration. The world is full of problems to be solved, ideas to explore, or debates to be held. Classes are often the source of many interesting concepts. Once you have an idea, start reading in the academic literature for more information. What have other scholars learned? What do we know about a topic? What is the next step that needs to be taken to learn more Then, start talking to people on campus about participating in undergraduate research. Ask your academic advisor; talk to a faculty member in the department of the subject that you wish to study. Perhaps you may be interested in another department or topic than in your major or minor. The faculty members listed on the Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee have agreed to serve as contacts to point you in the right direction. They may not be able to serve as your supervisor, but they hopefully may be able to match you up with another faculty.
What is undergraduate research?
Undergraduate research is like any other form of research – an investigation or exploration into a significant issue in a particular field in order to produce knowledge and understanding. Other than the scope or size of the project, there is no difference in the research process between undergraduates, graduate students, or faculty members.
Who do I talk to for more information about undergraduate research?
There are many to people to talk to about participating in undergraduate research. Ask your academic advisor; talk to a faculty member in the department of the subject that you wish to study; check the faculty members listed on the Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee, or talk to the Associate Vice President of Research, Mike Hripko, at (330) 941-3092 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do you start doing research as an undergraduate at YSU?
The place to start is with a faculty member in your major department. Perhaps you may be interested in another department or topic. The faculty members listed on the Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee have agreed to serve as contacts to point you in the right direction. They may not be able to serve as your supervisor, but they hopefully may be able to match you up with another faculty. Once you meet with that faculty member, you can discuss ideas for research.
Why should I do research as an undergraduate? What are the benefits of doing research?
Many programs and departments require students to do research. Even if you are not required to do research, you are strongly encouraged to get involved in research. Everybody wins when you do scholarship. The field of study gains new information and knowledge. You learn critical thinking, organization, and communication skills. Prospective employers will be impressed with your experience.
Are there scholarships or funds to students for research?
You, along with a sponsoring faculty member, may apply for an Undergraduate Research Grant. They are typically available for up to $1000.00. Applications are available on this web site.
What can be expected of me if I perform a research project?
The type of project that you do depends upon the topic and discipline. For a project in psychology or biology (for example), you design an experiment and collect data. The results are then analyzed and can be written in a paper or poster that may be submitted to a scientific journal or conference. For a project in music or art, a performance or exhibition may be appropriate. There are many different forms of research and scholarship, and whatever is suitable in your academic discipline is acceptable.
How is the quality of your research facilities? What kind of equipment will I be working with?
As a student, you will access to the same equipment, labs, studios, and resources as faculty members and graduate students.
How easy is it to use library resources? What research resources does the library have?
In order to do a research project, you have to know what has already been done in that area. YSU has extensive books, journals, online databases, and access to OhioLink – a statewide network of library resources. Many research databases may be accessed on your personal computer.
Is a research done individually or will I be working in a group?
This depends upon the nature of your research project. Your sponsoring faculty member will help decide what kind of project may be best.
What kind of time commitments are involved in research at YSU?
That depends – research will usually take one semester, and perhaps even longer depending on your project. You will need to talk to your faculty sponsor. Many students like to do research over the summer months when they can focus on the research without having to worrying about course work.
Does any of the research students do ever get published in journals or presented at professional conferences?
Yes. The point of doing research is to share the results with other people in the discipline so that eventually society may benefit from the knowledge. Check back on this web page as we build a listing of student-driven research projects.
Do you have research events at YSU? How do I find out more about them and what they are?
Each year, YSU holds an event called QUEST – which is a one-day conference devoted to student scholarship. Students present their research and answer questions like in any other research conference. By participating, self-confidence and communication skills increase. Please click on the link to learn more about QUEST.
Can I receive academic credit for doing a research project at YSU?
Most definitely - You can get involved in research as an independent study project, or as part of courses, labs, or a senior capstone/thesis.
Can I do research outside of my major department or discipline?
Yes – talk to a member of the Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee to point you in the right direction. Today, many research problems benefit from a multi-disciplinary or inter-interdisciplinary approach.
Is research at YSU reserved to only for juniors and seniors?
No – it is never too early to get involved in research. There are always lots of exciting jobs to do, and you learn research by doing research.