Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title


Conference Name

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference


This Work in Progress paper will cover the development of an online course in research practices for undergraduate students. Active participation in research is an important part of experiential learning, which can help to prepare students for careers in a variety of settings including industrial R&D departments, academia, and government research labs. Undergraduate students’ research experiences may be limited in their value, however, by the learning curve students face as they begin to conduct research. The quality of their training may also be limited, with some receiving excellent training and orientation from a strong research lab or faculty mentor, and others receiving little guidance. In order to better prepare undergraduate students for research, faculty members in different departments at a midwestern STEM-focused University received an internal grant to develop a class in research for undergraduates. This class, which is designed to be offered online either for cohorts or for individual students as an independent study, contains information and resources on a diverse range of issues such as motivation for research, research ethics, planning a research project, conducting literature searches, experimental procedures, keeping lab documentation for various types of projects, data analysis, technical writing, intellectual property, and issues relevant to scoping out one’s own research project.

This paper will give the background for the course development, evaluation of the required content and decisions on structure and format, and describe the various modules in the course. It will also describe the future plans for deployment, evaluation, and continuous improvement of the course, and suggest ways in which it could benefit a wide range of undergraduate students in different disciplines.

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© American Society for Engineering Education, 2021

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