Busting myths about undergraduate research
Welcome new and returning UAlberta students!
Thinking about getting involved in undergraduate research this year, but not sure if it’s for you? Read on as we bust some common misconceptions about who can get involved in undergraduate research.
MYTH #1. Undergraduate research is only for science and engineering students.
When you hear the term “research”, maybe the first thing that comes to mind is someone in a white lab coat. But research happens in all disciplines. We’ve had students do research on diverse topics such as healing through storytelling, what Shakespeare can teach us about leadership, and how to preserve endangered languages. At URI, we support students in all disciplines, and encourage interdisciplinary research.
MYTH # 2. Research is only for those interested in graduate or professional schools.
Research is a great extra-curricular activity to bolster your CV or resume, and it can be an important stepping stone towards graduate or professional school — or even your first job! The skills you develop in research are highly sought after by employers, even for positions that aren’t directly research-related. The ability to solve problems, manage your time effectively, and collaborate with others in a team are all examples of transferable skills that are applicable to different settings.
MYTH # 3. You need to have an original idea or a lot of knowledge to get started.
A common fear we hear from students is “I don’t know anything yet, so why would a professor take me on in their research?” Getting started doesn’t require you to have a fully-formed research idea. Sometimes, all you need to start is a question that ignites your curiosity and motivates you to learn more. Remember, we all started somewhere, and even the most experienced researchers are learning, all the time.
Start with URI — we can help you figure out how to turn your questions into your next research opportunity!