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Models for Student Participation

Here are some ways that undergraduates typically participate in research.

Individual Project

Individual research includes theses, independent studies, honors projects, and creative projects. This model of research allows students to create a product that reflects their unique interests, as well as their passion and commitment to learning.

Assistance on a Research Project

Serving as a research assistant involves working with a faculty member or graduate student on an existing research project. Such an experience provides students with valuable training in how to conduct research. As a research assistant, they typically assist with a project rather than conduct their own study. It is not uncommon for graduate students to take a large role in supervising an undergraduate research assistant.

Study Abroad Program with a Research Component

Study abroad can provide excellent opportunities for students to pursue research and gain cross-cultural skills and experiences. The Study Abroad Office helps make international learning experiences available to every student. Depending on the study abroad program, students may need or want a UT-affiliated faculty mentor, in addition to supervising faculty at the research site.

Connecting Coursework

With so many options for students to share their research and creative activity, the Office of Undergraduate Research encourages faculty to connect course-based research activity with the following opportunities.

If you’re asking students to present their work, consider structuring the assignment so that the end product can serve as a submission to the Texas Student Research Showdown, the Longhorn Research Poster Session (LRPS), or another on-campus research event relevant to your discipline.

Texas Student Research Showdown: In this creative outlet for sharing scholarly activity, students submit 2-minute videos explaining their work to a general audience. The videos are voted on by the student body and a panel of faculty judges, and creators receive prizes recognizing their excellence in research communication— $2500, $1000, and $500 for the top three videos, and $1000 for the audience choice winner. Videos are scored on how well they capture an audience’s attention, how well they tell a narrative about the work, whether the methods suggest a rigorous scholarly activity, and how well the student is targeting a general, rather than expert, audience. The Showdown is the perfect format for practicing research communication and spreading the word about impactful projects. Individual and group submissions are welcome.

Longhorn Research Poster Session: Students from all academic disciplines present research posters at this interdisciplinary, campus-wide event. Research posters for this event (and for most other campus poster sessions) are sized 50” wide x 42” tall. The Office of Undergraduate Research offers research poster design workshops and templates; we can also visit your class to give a more targeted workshop. $2000, $1000, and $500 awards are presented to the top student posters, in addition to a $500 poster design award. Poster award winners are selected by a panel of faculty judges, who score the posters for ~20 finalists (as selected from LRPS participants by the dean’s offices of the academic colleges). Posters are scored on the clarity of the research question or impetus for creative activity; clarity of methods; presentation of results; how well justified the conclusions are; oral presentation; and visual design of the poster (communicates findings visually; is aesthetically pleasing in terms of typographic design, layout, images).