Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Student Research
- What is research?
- Why should I do research?
- Do I have to be an upperclassman to participate in research?
- I have not declared a major or have a major outside of science. Can I still participate in research?
- Do I need to do research to go graduate or professional school?
- Where do I start?
- How do I find out about research opportunities?
What is research?
Simply put, research is the investigative process you take to learn things. But for more of an in-depth look into the research process, we recommend you visit this excellent site. *Note: though this site specifically addresses bioscience research, most of the principles on the site apply to any type of research.*
Why should I do research?
There is no one single reason to do research. However, generally speaking: participation in research teaches you about the field(s) in which you are interested while also helping you define your own skills and style.
Do I have to be an upperclassman to participate in research?
Not necessarily. While funding opportunities for undergraduate students and graduate students have eligibility requirements based on the number of credits completed, we still encourage any student to get involved with research. If you have interest in a particular area, you should express it as soon as possible. Some research projects may require students to complete certain classes, but you can always ask a faculty sponsor if they are willing to working with less-experienced students.
First and second year students are encouraged to explore their options early, so they can develop the necessary skill sets for more involved research later.
I have not declared a major or have a major outside of science. Can I still participate in research?
Absolutely! One of the biggest myths surrounding research is that it is limited to hard sciences (biology, chemistry, engineering, etc.) Research can be as diverse as the student who is engaged in it. Students participate in research in humanities and social sciences as much as they do in the natural sciences.
University of Michigan-Flint faculty are involved in an assortment of research projects. In many cases, they are willing to work with students from all different types of backgrounds, research interests, and skills.
Do I need to do research to go graduate or professional school?
Undergraduate research is typically not a requirement for graduate or professional school admission. But undergraduate research does demonstrate intellectual abilities, critical thinking, indepedence, and problem-solving, all skills that are highly sought after by graduate and profressional schools.
Where do I start?
Students interested in getting research experience should start by visiting the "Getting Started" section.
How do I find out about research opportunities?
The simple answer would be to do homework. But more specifically, students can find out about research opportunites by doing some of the following (note, most of this is covered in more detail in the "Getting Started" section):
- Networking. Talk to faculty. They can be professors in your classes, faculty in your department, or faculty with whom you are comfortable. Many researchers will attest that finding research opportunities is about individual persistance AND by asking around.
- Visiting departmental websites. Often times, departments will list some of the research being conducted by their faculty. This can help students search for potential research opportunities.
- Interacting with other students. Perhaps one of the most valuable resources available to you are other students who have the experiences of conducting research. They often know the in and outs of finding research opportunities and they may also know which professors to contact.