One of the first steps for inviting undergraduate researchers into your area is to identify how students can fit into your current program. Questions to ask when brainstorming:
- Do graduate students or post-doctorates need assistance?
- Are there pieces of your project that can be delegated to undergraduate students?
- Is there a study you would like to pilot for preliminary data but do not have the time?
- Do you want to start a new research area but need a literature review completed?
Remember: The experience is key for an undergraduate researcher not the publication. Working with you will allow the student to gain experience necessary for their future career success – even if it does not result in a publication.
Find Student Researchers
If you do not have a student in mind or teach courses at the time, here are some methods to recruit students:
- Post your research opportunity through the Office of Undergraduate Research
- Ask colleagues to announce the opportunity in relevant courses or with their advisees
- Post fliers in hallways where students you would like to hire are at frequently
- Contact former undergraduate researchers or students you are connected with to ask them or for recommendations
If a potential student researcher is less experienced than you hope, but seems to be a good worker, think of other ways to engage them while they complete coursework or other experiences. Other ways to engage these students include student work in your area, short literature reviews for projects, invitations to journal clubs, and meetings with your research team.
Clarify the Role and Logistics of the Student
Clearly articulated and agreed-upon expectations and roles are crucial for a successful research mentorship. Ensure when starting a new project with an undergraduate researcher, to ensure the project is realistic, challenging, and feasible. Here are suggestions of discussions to have at the beginning with the student:
- What is the weekly schedule and the hours they will work? Hold the student accountable to a regular, weekly schedule until more freedom is appropriate.
- What are your expectations of the experience, including readings?
- How do you want this student to communicate with you? Who do they go to when you are gone?
- What is the project timeline and description? What is their responsibility?
- When are regular meetings time for the two of you or with your research team?
Locate Funding Opportunities
The Office of Undergraduate Research offers the OUR Scholars scholarship program to support $1,000 to the student for one academic year. Contact the OUR to learn about deadlines and the timeline.
Students who are completing undergraduate research during the summer should seek out various Purdue programs that are available that could help financially support the researcher.
If you are writing a grant proposal and would like assistance with budget suggestions, text, or structures for including an undergraduate research experience in the proposal, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Research.