Evaluation of Undergraduate Students’ Involvement in Research Projects

By Isabel Huet, Ana Vitória Baptista, Nilza Costa, Alan Jenkins and Marta Abelha.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Major changes have been taking place in Higher Education (HE) systems, part of them emerging to face the demands of the so-called Bologna Process. Within this context, researchers show a great concern with issues that may promote the quality of students’ learning. One of these concerns focuses on the importance of linking teaching and research in undergraduate studies since year one. A recent initiative of the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education is the creation of conditions to straighten this link by creating a set of research grants to undergraduate students, the so called BII (“Bolsas de Integração na Investigação”). The students can apply to these grants and get involved in research projects coordinated by senior researchers. At the University of Aveiro (Portugal), and in particular at the Department of Education, there are already undergraduate students engaged in several research projects, starting in the academic year 2008/09. Due to the novelty of these grants at Portuguese universities it is urgent to proceed to an evaluation process aiming to improve this initiative in subsequent years. Thus, the ultimate goal of this study is to (i) evaluate student outcomes of undergraduate research experience in Education; (ii) understand how the work developed is translated to European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), and (iii) identify the advantages and possible constrains of undergraduate students’ involvement in research activities. In this paper the authors will explore in detail phase one of the study, more specifically how this initiative is taking place at the Department of Education, and the data referred to a questionnaire delivered at the beginning of the research process.

Keywords: Higher Education, Linking Teaching and Research, Evaluation

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp.575-588. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.301MB).

Dr. Isabel Huet

Researcher in Higher Education, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

Dr. Isabel Huet has a Ph.D. in Education and is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Aveiro in Portugal. Her research interests include new teaching and learning approaches with emphasis on engineering and science education, e-learning, collaborative learning, and linking teaching and research in Higher Education. Currently she is also interested on professional training of university teachers and the implications of the Bologna process in curricula design, teaching and learning.

Dr Ana Vitória Baptista

Ph.D Student and Researcher, Department of Didactics and Educational Technology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

M.Ed Ana Vitória Baptista is a Ph.D Student at the University of Aveiro in Portugal. At the same time, she is finishing the writing of her M.Ed thesis, which is focused on a new public that is entering Higher Education (HE) Institutions: non-traditional adult students (or mature students). Her main interests include Higher Education policies; the Bologna Process and its consequences to HE Institutions, namely in the curricula, in the teaching and learning process, and in quality assessment and assurance; lifelong learning perspectives and discourses; non-traditional adult students; and postgraduate supervisory practice.

Prof. Nilza Costa

Full Professor, Department of Didactics and Educational Technology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

Prof. Alan Jenkins

Emeritus Professor, Oxford Brookes University, UK

Professor Emeritus on Higher Education, Consultant for the Higher Education Academy; Reinvention Fellow for the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research: University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University.

M.Ed Marta Abelha

PhD Student and Researcher, Department of Didactics and Educational Technology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal


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