HIP Undergraduate Research

by: Melynda Connor, PhD, High Impact Specialist, Office of Student Success, TBR – The College System of Tennessee

Many faculty in TBR English and History courses assign research papers. However, in the past, most of these papers to this point have not met the minimum definition to code these courses as an Undergraduate Research HIP. Here is information for how to turn these papers and courses into code-able high impact practices. 

Faculty can still have students write research papers as long as those papers are not just the literature review portion of a more complete study.

The papers should include all of the following elements:

  1. The question the student sought an answer to related to the discipline and their interests
  2. How the student set out to answer the question (content analysis, survey, etc.)
  3. What the student found in scholarly literature in regards to the question
  4. What the student found elsewhere in response to the question (results of content analysis, survey, etc.)
  5. The answer to the question as they found it
  6. Presentation of the paper information to a larger group either through presentation or publication in class or beyond. This can be done through a departmental showcase, publication, blog, library poster display, or other method.

The research does not have to be large or involved. It can be simple as demonstrated in the Survey and Graph Mini Research Activity Teaching Tidbit. Faculty could use this exercise as a jumping-off point for topics of research papers. The references provided within that Teaching Tidbit document are also helpful, especially the ExploratoriumSage Research Methods, and How Stuff Works.

Additional Suggested Resources:

  1. Embedding Undergraduate Research into the Community College Curriculum,” Peer Review article by Nancy Hensel and Brent Cejda
  2. The University of Michigan’s undergraduate research program provides examples of faculty-led research projects and outlines the students’ responsibilities within those.
  3. Undergraduate Research in English Studies, Amazon purchase link or pdf of introduction here
  4. See especially this downloadable pdf of the Downs & Wardle chapter on engaging first-year students in writing-related empirical research, “What Can a Novice Contribute? Undergraduate Research in First-Year Composition
  5. Undergraduate Research in History, A Guide for Students
  6. Students as Historians