I am interested in doing undergraduate research, but I am not sure where to start. What should I do?

If you are interested in engaging in undergraduate research, you have come to the right place! SOURCE is here to help you to get started on the exciting journey of research. Make an appointment with us today using My Journey to discuss your interests and explore the options available to you! If you need assistance scheduling an appointment, send an email to source@case.edu.

I am a first-year student. Can I do research?

Yes, you can, and many students jump into undergraduate research during their first year at Case Western Reserve University. However, it is not a requirement, and for many students, we recommend taking some time (a semester, or even a year) to make the transition to life as a college student and adjust to your new academic, social and (perhaps) geographic environment. Once you are settled in, you may find it easier to identify and benefit from a research opportunity.

Can I do research outside my major?

Yes! As a research intensive university, many of our undergraduates are working with faculty at the School of Medicine, faculty and staff at the Cleveland Clinic, at the VA. and at the museums in University Circle.  Also, many research projects, whether students’ independent projects or those related to a faculty’s research program, are interdisciplinary. Students with various disciplinary backgrounds and skills can be especially useful in a large project. Be prepared to make a strong case for the specific skills that you can contribute to a project outside your major.

Can I get academic credit for my research?

In many cases, yes. Most undergraduate academic departments have a course number specifically for undergraduate research.  Some departments utilize the independent study course number for undergraduate research.  Some academic majors require undergraduate research.  Paid research activities are not eligible for academic credit.  However, students may receive funding for work beyond the course credit requirements. 

What do I need to do in order to receive academic credit for my research or creative endeavor?

Students who are seeking credit for research within their academic major, may make an appointment with their academic advisor to discuss receiving academic credit within the department.  Students may receive academic credit in their academic major if the project is within the discipline and even if their project mentor is outside of the major department's undergraduate faculty. For example, a biology major may work with a faculty mentor in the School of Medicine's department of genetics and genome sciences or with a mentor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Center.  

Students also may receive academic credit for research that is outside of their academic major. For example, a premed psychology major is working in a lab in the School of Medicine's department of physiology and biophysics. The student will want to make an appointment with the undergraduate academic representative in the undergraduate department for which they are seeking credit. To continue with our example: our premed psychology major may want biology undergraduate research credit for their project in physiology and biophysics. The student will want to make an appointment with the undergraduate academic representative in biology. The biology department's academic representative(s) can guide students through the biology department's process for receiving undergraduate research credit.

Can I receive pay during the academic year for participating in research?

If students are paid during the academic year, they are paid through their project mentors.

Can I do research away from the CWRU campus?

Absolutely! We encourage our students to take advantage of any good opportunity with which they are presented, whether it be on or off-campus. During the summer our students conduct research across the United States and around the world.  

Can I receive funding for summer research at my hometown university?

SOURCE considers summer applications in the social sciences, humanities and the arts with faculty mentors who are not CWRU faculty or affiliates.  SOURCE cannot provide summer funding for STEM projects with faculty mentors outside of the university or our area affiliated institutions.

Can I receive funding to travel to a conference to present my research?

There are several avenues to secure funding for conference travel. If you are working with a faculty mentor on their project, they may have funds to support a trip to a conference for you to present your work. If they do not have funds, they may be able to direct you to departmental resources or other funding sources. SOURCE also has the ability to fund a limited number of students to travel to conferences each year. Applications are considered throughout the year on a rolling basis. You can find information about SOURCE travel funding here.

How much of a time commitment is undergraduate research?

Your individual time commitment will be determined by you and your research mentor. During the academic year, most undergraduates spend between 5 and 12 hours a week on average doing research. Summer research opportunities are typically full-time and require a 40-hr/wk commitment (although a few are part-time).

What is Intersections: SOURCE Symposium and Poster Session?

The SOURCE Symposium and Poster Session is an opportunity for all undergraduate students to present their research and creative projects, whether current or recently completed, to the university community. It also allows students not yet engaged in undergraduate research or creative endeavors to see the broad and diverse work that is being done across campus and learn how to get involved in research or creative endeavors. Finally, the SOURCE symposium and poster session allows the university community (faculty, staff, students, and administrators) to discover and celebrate the work of our undergraduate students.

Who can participate in the SOURCE Symposium and Poster Session?

All undergraduate students who are or have been involved in research and/or creative endeavors are encouraged to participate. In addition, students who obtain any type of funding through SOURCE or an affiliated program are required to present at Intersections.

What are the benefits of participating?

Presenting your undergraduate research or creative endeavor project in a formal setting is a mark of accomplishment and is itself an educational experience. Some have said that research is never done until it is “out there” in presentation or article form. Presenting your work in a formal setting gives you the opportunity to speak about your work and take questions from others who know your field well and from those who do not. You learn from both experiences. In addition, the experience is excellent preparation for graduate school, and you can include your participation on your resume and graduate school applications.

Where do I go for assistance with preparing and printing my poster?

SOURCE offers information sessions throughout the year to help students develop the right skills to design and develop an effective poster. 

Several places on campus offer printing services