There are many way to describe research. For our purposes, here
at East Tennessee State University, undergraduate research is defined
any creative effort undertaken by an undergraduate that advances
the knowledge of the student in an academic discipline and that
leads to new scholarly insights or the creation of new works that
adds to the wealth of the discipline.
Research methods, approaches, and outcomes vary with the field
- Composing or arranging music
- Creating a sculpture or painting
- Working in a science laboratory or doing a study outdoors
- Investigating a historic event
- Developing a marketing or management plan for a local organization
- Crafting a computer program or creating a website for a special
purpose or group
- Gathering data on peoples’ experiences or opinions
All of these are forms of creative endeavors we call research.
Undergraduates don’t work alone on their research projects,
but work with a faculty member in a particular department. Your faculty
mentor can assist you in helping identify and frame a significant
question in your discipline and then help plan the steps to the project.
You’ll also find that your faculty mentor has more experience
with managing the process on campus---in other words, all those
practical details about enrolling, meeting university policies,
purchasing supplies, reserving rooms, and other such things.