Undergraduate Research Projects


Welcome to the Mini-Course Undergraduate Research Projects


Designed by Anne Deutsch


How engaged are your students in their research assignments?

Do you feel that they are engaging in critical inquiry or focused on fulfilling requirements?

How do you help them understand and participate in research processes?

While there is agreement that research is an essential skill for our professional, civic and personal lives, there is little agreement on how we can best help our students master research processes. This course will guide participants through their own process of critical inquiry that culminates in the creation of a new or updated research project.

In this mini-course participants will explore how students experience research assignments. In light of this information they will explore how they frame research in the classroom in preparation for research assignments. Alternative models to the standard research paper will be considered along with some of the common pitfalls of research assignment presentation and handouts. This will all come together as participants create a research project that includes mechanisms for making the research process visible, project handouts, and a strategy for assessing the research component of the project.

Participants are expected to have at least one year of experience assigning and assessing undergraduate research assignments.

How This Course Works

First take a look at the units and objectives listed below - this will give you an overview of the sequencing of this course. Each unit will have most, if not all, of the following elements:

  • Case Study - apply existing knowledge
Smooth-star.jpg You will answer questions related to each section of the case. Create a physical or digital course journal and record your answers. 
  • Introduction - overview, objectives, and tasks

  • Engage - actively engage with course materials and write responses to posted questions
Smooth-star.jpg Take notes and answer questions in your course journal.

  • Apply - apply what you have learned in assignments that will build and result in a research project for one of your classes.
Smooth-star.jpg Post your work in the unit's discussion page and give feedback to your colleagues.

  • Reflect - reflect on what you have learned, how you learned it, and how you can apply that learning.
Smooth-star.jpg Use your course journal for reflection.

There is also a diigo group where you can share useful resource - please contact me at deutscha@newpaltz.edu and include your email so that I can add you to the group.

Suggested Resources

While units will link directly to open access resources, there are two books that I highly recommend for this course and for your personal library. If you are curious to see the books before making a purchase they may be in your library and if not will surely be available through interlibrary loan:

Badke, W.B. (2012). Teaching research processes: The faculty role in the development of skilled student researchers. Oxford, England: Chandos.

Bean, J.C. (2011). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Click on the units below to begin

Unit 1 - Research on Student Research


  • Participants will Identify common hurdles experienced by undergraduates in the research process.
  • Participants will reflect on previous research assignments.

Unit 2 - Reconsidering Research Projects


  • Participants will create a research project plan that reflects how research is conducted in a specific discipline and makes the research process visible.

Unit 3 - Presenting the Research Project


  • Participants will identify how assignment handouts can create barriers or bridges to understanding.
  • Participants will create a project handout that develops bridges to understanding for students.

Unit 4 - Assessing the Research Project


  • Participants will create a research project assessment plan that incorporates both formative and summative assessment.
  • Participants will create a project rubric that facilitates assessment of the research process and product.