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Why Do Research?

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Undergraduate Research @ Boise State

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What is undergraduate research?

Research is the pursuit of knowledge.  Undergraduate research is self-directed work in which students from all areas of study work individually or as part of a team to explore issues of interest to them.  Students and faculty mentors work together to design and implement a research, scholarly, or creative project and then communicate the results to others.

Why should I participate?

Participation in research at Boise State will enhance your undergraduate experience.  Benefits of conducting research at the undergraduate level include:

  1. Expanding understanding and knowledge of your academic field.
  2. Defining your academic, career, and personal interests.
  3. Establishing valuable connections with faculty.
  4. Gaining academic experiences that help expand your resume, such as presenting at research conferences, publishing, and working with a research team.
  5. Developing critical thinking, leadership, time management, and communication skills.
  6. Exploring research techniques.

Who can complete research projects?

Research is limitless.  ANY student may choose to do undergraduate research no matter what your major or level in school.  Boise State students have conducted a variety of research projects in areas ranging from financial planning to choreography, cancer prevention to economics, art history to genetics, substance abuse to alternative energy.

How do I get started?

The first step is to identify your field of interest. You might become curious about more than one topic through your courses, current events, or by reflecting on things that appeal to you. Talk to other undergraduates who are currently conducting research. They can let you know how they got started.

Next, identify potential faculty sponsors.  Networking is a great way to learn about available opportunities.  Start by talking with instructors, teaching assistants, advisors, and classmates.  Talk to current and past professors from courses you have taken and were very interested in.  Even if the professor is not currently sponsoring undergraduate research, he or she may know of colleagues that are seeking research assistants.  Finally, request to work with a faculty sponsor.

After completing a research project, what then?

Present a summary of your research discoveries at the 11th Annual Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Conference on April 21, 2014 (applications due Friday, February 28, 2014).  Students showcase their achievements in research, scholarly, and creative projects at the annual conference held on campus each spring. Industry representatives are invited to attend this forum for student achievement and exemplary work.  You may present your work in poster, podium presentation, or other visual formats.


For additional information, please contact Erin Muggli in Undergraduate Studies, Office of the Provost, at or by calling 426-4062.