Getting Started in Research

Frequent Questions:

What is Undergraduate Research?

Conducting undergraduate research typically entails serving as a research assistant to a faculty member on an ongoing research project. This means you will be responsible for one aspect of the professor's larger, existing research project. There are some students who conceive of their own research ideas, and then this project is mentored by a faculty member, but this is not the norm.

Why Undergraduate Research?

Allows you to work ONE-ON-ONE with a faculty member
Promotes ACTIVE and ENGAGED learning
Facilitates COLLABORATION with faculty members
Cultivates LEADERSHIP skills and TEAMWORK
PREPARES students for life after college
Allows for ORIGINAL contribution to scholarship 
Encourages CREATIVITY and FLEXIBILITY in thought
ENHANCES critical thinking skills

Success of Undergraduate Research

97% of OUR students believe conducting undergraduate research:
Enhanced their education;
Enabled them to be more successful professionally;
Increased their competitiveness for applying to graduate and professional school and;
Created a personally and intellectually gratifying experience 

(These numbers include all students surveye who have participated in mentored research projects through the Office of Undergraduate Research.)

How Do I Get Started in Conducting Research?

  1. Start by talking with faculty you know.  Talk to current and past professors from courses you have done well in and have enjoyed. Even if the professor is not currently seeking an undergraduate researcher, he or she may know of colleagues that are seeking research assistants within your discipline.
  2. Consult an academic advisor from your department to inquire about faculty members currently conducting research in your discipline.
  3. Consult this listing of UH faculty members seeking undergraduate researchers to assist them in ongoing research projects. This list is not comprehensive. There are many other faculty members on campus conducting research, but this list can get you started.
  4. Read the faculty profiles from your home department. This is perhaps the best way to learn more about what research is in your field, and it will assist you in determining what type of research you would like to conduct. Many faculty web pages list some of the publications that the faculty member has authored. It is a good idea to try to read some of these articles if possible.
  5. Join the Office of Undergraduate Research's Facebook page. You will receive weekly updates on available research positions and scholarships for undergraduates.
  6. Talk to other undergraduates who are currently conducting research. They can let you know how they got their foot in the door. And join HURN the student organization for undergraduate research. This will allow you to connect and network with other UH undergraduate researchers.
  7. Register for the eDISCOVERY online portal which connects faculty, staff, and employers with UH students interested in real-world research on campus and beyond.

For Faculty: How Do I Get Started?

Simply send the Office of Undergraduate Research a posting of your available position. In the posting, please include the nature of the research project, necessary qualifications for applicants, and how the undergraduate will be supported (through PURS, SURF, independent study, thesis program, grant, volunteer, etc).

The position will be distributed via:
OUR web page
OUR Facebook page
OUR student listserv

Once the position have been filled, please inform Karen Weber and the posting will be removed from the electronic mediums.

How Do I Email a Faculty Member about Conducting Research?

The Email Should Include:
  1. Contact information
  2. Background information, such as academic information and any previous research experience
  3. Unofficial transcript
  4. One page resume
  5. SPECIFICALLY what about the professor’s research is of interest to you
  6. WHY would you be a good fit for the position
  7. Your availability to conduct research

If you don’t hear back from the faculty member the first time you email, you may want to send another email within a week or two.

I Found a Mentor to Work with, So Now What?

Potential Options Include:
Apply for PURS, OUR part-time semester research program
Apply for SURF, OUR full-time summer research program
Enroll in an independent study course (see your academic advisor for course number and appropriate number of credits)
Enroll in the Senior Honors Thesis Program
Get paid hourly through the department
Volunteer your time

I Need Some Help with My Research!

Library's Research Guides

Contact a Subject Librarian

Last but Certainly Not Least…

Present your research at Undergraduate Research Day

Good luck! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Undergraduate Research



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