Undergraduate Research Ideas

Linking teaching and research is achieved when:

  • Students learn how research within their discipline leads to knowledge creation.
  • Students are introduced to current research in their disciplines.
  • Students learn the methods used to carry out research in their disciplines.
  • Students are motivated to learn through knowledge of and direct involvement in research.
  • Students carry out research.
  • Students participate in research conducted by their lecturers.
  • Students learn and are assessed by methods resembling research procedures in their discipline.
  • Students become members of a school or department and university culture within which learning, research and scholarship are integrated.
  • Students’ learning is supported by systems and structures at departmental, institutional, and national level that facilitate staff scholarship and research in the pedagogy of the disciplines as well as disciplinary scholarship and research.

Linking teaching and research is also achieved through:

  • University staff at all levels basing practice and policy on knowledge and learning obtained through research (and reflections on practice).
  • Academic staff using current pedagogic research findings when designing and delivering courses.
  • Institutional managers and national policy makers basing policies – including those on teaching-research relations – on the best available research and scholarly evidence.

Strategies for Course Design

Strategy 1: Develop students’ understanding of research

  • Develop the curriculum to bring out current /or previous research developments in the discipline.
  • Develop student awareness of learning from staff involvement in research (and perhaps research based consultancy and professional practice.
  • Develop student understanding of how research is organized and funded in the discipline, institution and profession.

Strategy 2: Develop students’ abilities to carry out research

  • Students learn in ways that “mirror” research processes.
  • Assess students in ways that mirror research processes.
  • Provide training in relevant research skills and knowledge.
  • Develop student involvement in staff research.

Strategy 3: Progressively develop student’s understanding

  • Ensure that introductory courses induct students into the role of research in their discipline and present knowledge as created, uncertain and contested.
  • Ensure that advanced courses develop student’s understanding of research, and progressively develop their capacities to do research.
  • Ensure that graduating year courses require students to carry out a major research study and help them integrate their understanding of (the role of) research in their discipline or interdisciplines.

Strategy 4: Manage student experience of research

  • Evaluate and research student experience of research and consultancy and feed that back into the curriculum.
  • Support students in making clear to them the employability elements of research and consultancy.
Adapted from A. Jenkins (2003). Reshaping Teaching in Higher Education (Pages 61-64)