1. What is research?
Taking multiple forms, research includes scholarly and creative
activities that can lead to new knowledge, improve our ability to
solve problems, result in new theory, or in the creation of new art or
an artistic performance. Research is a process of careful inquiry
leading to the discovery of new information. Research can culminate in
a written or oral presentation as a means of making the body of
academic knowledge or creative exploration accessible to other
investigators in the field, as well as to the general public.
Undergraduate research is a unique opportunity for students to work
with faculty on their scholarship and produce an original output that
contributes to the knowledge or activity of a particular academic
discipline. Some students will work on part of a faculty member’s
current research project. Other students may develop an independent
project of their own that is guided by a faculty member. Either way,
students have opportunities in a variety of disciplines from art
history to zoology to engage in original hands-on research and scholarship.
2. What does research look like?
Undergraduate research can vary widely, and take place inside and
outside the lab. You might be analyzing human health data,
interviewing study participants about their culture, collecting
samples from wetlands, observing mammals in captive environments, or
even performing a critical analysis of a TV show.
3. What are the benefits?
Get to Know Faculty. At most universities, hands-on
experiences with faculty members are reserved for graduate students,
but at GVSU we have faculty mentors working with undergraduate
students as soon as the first year. GVSU faculty are looking for
anyone who has a passion to do research. If you have the motivation,
the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship will advise you
on how to find a faculty member to assist you in your research.
Additionally, OURS hosts the Undergraduate
Research Fair to help you network and to meet faculty who work
with undergraduate students. Furthermore, GVSU is a teaching-focused
institution, which means faculty members want you to succeed.
Get Paid for Your Work. OURS has both full-time and
part-time paid research opportunities available to our students.
Access Resources. The Office of Undergraduate
Research and Scholarship will help you along the way with the
resources that you need: funding opportunities, networking
opportunities, research opportunities, and more.
Build Your Portfolio. GVSU is a prominent
university that is recognized for its scholars and research.
Therefore, having a research background can add real-world
experiences to your future job search, schooling, and more.
Discover Your Passion. Participating in research
early in your college career can help you decide on a major, and
allow you to begin planning your future career path.
Make a Difference. Research can change the world,
and undergraduate research is no different! You can take pride in
knowing that you’ve contributed new knowledge and understanding to
Have Fun. The Office of Undergraduate Research and
Scholarship takes pride in helping its students. Not only is
research a fun experience, your collaborations with your faculty
mentor and OURS is too! In fact, OURS always welcomes students to
pop in for questions, say hi, and to shake our magic eight ball that
we have at our front desk.
4. What can I do to prepare?
Work Hard in Class. OURS programs are typically
competitive, and you want to make sure you put yourself in the best
possible position when you start your research career.
Do Your Research. Start reading about current
trends and issues in fields that interest you. Find what intrigues
you! Look at faculty in your major that could be teaching you and
see what research they’re doing.
Talk to OURS. We’re here to help! Use the form
below to set up a virtual advising appointment with one of our staff members.
5. Why GVSU?
Transferring to a 4-year university to transfer to can be tricky.
Becoming a part of the undergraduate research community can make a
bigger campus feel smaller, as you build relationships with fellow
students, faculty, and professionals within your field and beyond.
GVSU has countless research opportunities that will not only
help your resume, but also help you learn a little bit about yourself.
You will learn from your faculty mentor, the research experience, and
even yourself, about what you're passionate about. Additionally, GVSU
is a teaching-first institution that will put you first through your
If you want to learn more, feel free to contact the Office of
Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. We can pair you up with any
one of our ambassadors who can explain the dos, don'ts, and benefits
of research at GVSU.