Connecting expectations and experiences of students in a research-immersive degree


Wilson A, Howitt S, Roberts P, Akerlind G & Wilson K (2013) Connecting expectations and experiences of students in a research-immersive degree. Studies in Higher Education, 38 (10), pp. 1562-1576.

Recent studies of undergraduates engaged in authentic research have suggested that students may benefit in a range of different ways from such experiences. However, these same studies have also shown significant variation in the extent and universality of these benefits. This article investigates the impact of one potential source of variation in perceived benefits: students' prior expectations of what research experiences might offer. The authors' surveys of students enrolling in a research-immersive undergraduate science degree indicate a range of anticipated benefits from or opportunities within the degree, only some of which address preparation for research or the development of generic research skills. The benefits that students report gaining from their involvement in the program appear to be constrained by these prior expectations. The authors suggest that these constraints may be connected to students' understanding of the nature of science and scientific research.

undergraduate research experiences; student expectations; motivation; research training

Studies in Higher Education: Volume 38, Issue 10

Publication date31/12/2013
Publication date online31/01/2012
PublisherTaylor & Francis