Information About Mentoring and Research

What the McNair Program Expects of the McNair Mentor

A Mentor in the McNair Program has a two-fold responsibility that consists of advisement and research. Both are equally important for McNair Scholars to achieve their goal of being accepted into a doctoral program.

Advising Component

McNair Mentors are expected to:

  • Advise McNair Scholars on how to get into graduate school in their discipline.
  • Support McNair Scholars as they set up networks. As a professional, McNair Mentors are attuned to the importance of establishing and maintaining networks.
  • Advise McNair Scholars of professional journals, publications and organizations in the discipline.
  • See solutions and opportunities for McNair Scholars as well as the barriers they might face. A good Mentor respects their McNair Scholars real and serious problems and then helps find realistic solutions.
  • Help McNair Scholars set realistic and attainable goals.
  • Write supportive letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with the McNair Scholar regularly to monitor progress on their research and graduate school process. Additionally, discuss personal and social concerns of the McNair Scholar. These meetings may be an office visit, lunch/dinner, or an outing chosen by both the Mentor and Scholar.
  • It is strongly encouraged for Mentors to include McNair Scholars in academic symposiums, conferences and conventions. Some funds are available; call the McNair Office and ask.

The following activities will help McNair Mentors and Scholars get to know each other:

  • Exchange basic information
  • Name, address, telephone number
  • Class/work schedule
  • Discuss expectations
  • What I hope to accomplish in this relationship
  • What you can expect from me
  • Pet peeves/things that annoy me
  • Discuss where to meet/time available
  • Discuss any restrictions
  • How to address one another
  • Where I may be contacted (home/office) and appropriate times

Research Component

Research is an important component of a McNair Scholars preparation for graduate study. The grant requires each Scholar to complete a 15-20 hour per week research project with a Mentor. Students will work with their Mentors throughout the Winter semester in preparation for summer research. This entails writing a proposal, reviewing the literature, and, if appropriate, submitting their project for IRB approval.

Effective October 23, 2008, the GVSU Human Research Review Committee has stopped accepting paper documents and files and has converted to a secure, online document management program called IRBNet. McNair Scholars who conduct research on live human subjects must use this new system.

The McNair Mentor often assigns components of their larger projects to McNair Scholars, understanding that they will teach the process of research and that the McNair Scholar will present a report at the end of the project which may be on the process or product. Since the goal for the McNair Scholar is to demonstrate to a graduate applications committee the ability to do research in the discipline, the Mentor should choose a project that is significant and of publishable quality. We will publish the McNair Scholars projects in our Research Journal but also encourage McNair Mentors to submit the project to other academic journals that may be appropriate for their field.

Research Steps

While outcomes may vary, research steps are generally the same in each discipline and your McNair Scholar should participate in most, if not all of them.
These steps are:

  • Research design
  • Review of literature This component is essential and must be included in all research project proposals and final manuscripts.
  • Collection of results/observations
  • Conclusion
  • Editing and finalizing a final research manuscript to submit for publication

Manuscript Drafts

Because many McNair Scholars may be unfamiliar with the caliber of writing required or research formats for publication, the writing of the final research manuscript may be a lengthy process. As a part of the learning process, several drafts of the manuscript should be submitted to the Mentor for review and/or correction before the final project is submitted for publication.

Combined, the research and writing component create a summer experience that simulates the rigors of graduate school. The Mentors guidance through this process is essential to the learning experiences of Scholars in the program.

Due Date

The manuscript due date is the first day of the fall semester. Both the Mentor and the Scholar must sign the project before submission. Students may need to save a final copy to include as part of an application for graduate school.

Time Commitment

Before the summer research program begins, Mentors are expected to meet. We will discuss the programs expectations, give information on any changes in the McNair Program, answer any questions, and have Mentors sign a compensation form and an agreement to participate. In addition, Mentors may be asked to travel with a student to a conference, serve on an ad hoc editorial board, advisory board or speak at one of our workshops.
Academic Year: During the academic year, Mentors are expected to meet regularly with their McNair Scholar to monitor their academic progress and answer graduate school questions.
Spring/Summer Semester: Mentors will guide McNair Scholars during the completion of their substantial research project. This will include meeting with their Scholar weekly and signing a weekly research progress report.
McNair Scholars will be making oral presentations several times during the summer, and Mentors should assist with their presentations and attend the presentation to support their Scholar. As Scholars may also present at various research conferences both on- and off-campus, Mentors' encouragement and support is also valuable at these functions.

McNair Scholar's Research Proposal and Budget

Research Proposal

The Research Proposal will be drafted using a template which is provided to maintain consistency across the various disciplines of the McNair Scholars.

Please refer to guidelines outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition; MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Sixth Edition; Chicago Manual of Style, Fifteenth Edition; or the Council of Biology Editors' Style Manual, Fifth Edition. Each proposal must contain the following items:


McNair Scholar's Final Research Manuscript

Final Research Manuscript

Each research manuscript must be double-spaced with 1-inch margins. The abstract should contain between 100-120 words. The research manuscript should contain the following*:

  • Title Page
  • Authors Notes
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  • Appendix (if necessary)

*Depending upon the research, the above list may not be in the same order or some items may be eliminated. Please refer to the research style appropriate for your field. This paper should be considered an introduction to graduate level research and writing. Your guidance in this area may be crucial to the success of this joint project. The Scholar will need to complete several drafts of the research manuscript for review before the project is ready for publication. This can be a very painstaking process. Plenty of time should be allotted for writing the manuscript. The final project must be reviewed, dated and signed by the Mentor before the Scholar can submit it to the McNair office. It must be approved by the mentor, Director and the Editor of the McNair Scholars Journal before a final copy is accepted and monies are distributed.

Length of Research Manuscript

Given the focused nature of the research, the outcome should be in the range of 10-20 pages for research in the humanities and the social sciences, and perhaps shorter for disciplines that are more numerically oriented.

Performance Activities

Those McNair Scholars whose research project includes a performance or exhibition will submit evidence of completion, such as a program or videotape, and a final paper consistent with the above guidelines.

Presentations/Additional Scholarly Activities

McNair Scholars are expected to present at a National or Regional McNair Student Research Conference, as well as GVSU's Student Scholars Day. It is optional, although highly recommended that the Scholars present at additional conferences specific to their field of study. Mentors should encourage and assist scholars in finding options and funding.

Page last modified September 12, 2016