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JCSU Undergraduate Research Overview

Every student conducts research for their student investigative paper as a requirement for graduation. This JCSU requirement provides a basis to not only learn about your topic in preparation for graduate study and your professional career, but also provides a means to applying what you are learning in the classroom. The Smith Institute for Applied Research staff is here to help you along the way. Below is a framework for thinking of the big-picture for college research success.

As a freshman, you can begin by looking at the world around you and start to notice what you’re curios about. Look at your natural talents that intersect with interests that might translate into a career. This is a great time to meet Smith Institute staff and put names with faces. This will be a time that we’ll start to get to know you and help you through getting to know your interests.

In your sophomore year, begin to think about how courses in your major could align with questions that you might be interested in investigating over the long-term. Throughout the academic year, Smith Institute offers workshops and activities to strengthen your research skills- including a -Smith Institute Research Ambassadors program-.

When you reach junior, your research methods course will provide you with an overall framework for how research is conducted in your discipline. This is a great time to get a jump-start on narrowing your topic by reading as much as you can on a casual basis, and bouncing ideas off of professors and Smith Institute staff.

In senior year, you’ll be writing your paper according to the standards in your discipline, and applying the coursework you’ve learned throughout your college career.

After graduation, regardless of your path, research will serve to give you the skills to be successful. The process of engaging in research helps to sharpen focus, critical thinking, initiative, and knowledge of your discipline- even if you choose not to earn a Masters degree, a Ph.D. If your path takes you to graduate study, the connections are more obvious and technical. You apply your skills in selecting a research topic, conducting literature reviews, developing methodology, and communicating research.

Why not get started now? Meet the team!


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