Research Enables Undergraduate Students to Move From Absorbing Knowledge to Creating It

Duke is among the top universities for research, but when you think of research, do you think of undergraduates?

If you answered no, think again. Research isn’t only for faculty or graduate students; undergrads can begin participating in research in a multitude of ways from as early as their first year at Duke.

In partnership with Directors of Academic Engagement, faculty and students from across Trinity programs took time this year to explain the value of research experiences for undergraduates and break down the elusive process of finding a research project.

From Dance and English to Biology and Neuroscience, these faculty demonstrate the various types of research available to students in all areas of Duke while breaking down myths that research is out of reach.

Research is everywhere

The process of collegiate research is a new one for many students — often different from the type of research they have been exposed to in previous settings. These faculty discuss research not only as a way to achieve a particular outcome, but as a way to push towards truths and reach better understandings of the world around us.

“Every great thing in human history has been a product of research. And in fact you might be contributing to advances that may lead to other advances….It’s so exciting!” says Mohamed Noor, interim dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and professor of Biology.

Start with a passion

If students sometimes feel overwhelmed by the options available to them, they aren’t alone, says Bridgette Hard, professor of the practice of Psychology & Neuroscience. There are many options for students at Duke to pursue research, whether through independent study or working with established, interdisciplinary Duke programs like Bass Connections or Story+.

The first step in research is taking a step — any step — especially if it is still the first year.