An undergraduate experience in research can be beneficial when considering post-graduation plans such as an advanced degree or a potential career path. It also poses a unique opportunity to work with those who are interested in the same field as you and to strengthen your overall communication skills.
Why participate in undergraduate research?
Many who choose COMM 4982 are considering graduate school and would like to get a head start on research experience. Upon the completion of hours, students often report a stronger understanding of the process of a research study and see it as a practical application of knowledge acquired in COMM 2000Q/3000Q (Research Methods in Communication) or PSYC 2100WQ (Principles of Research in Psychology). Undergraduate research has been known to help students “mature as thinkers and doers” (Stanford University, 2019) as well as improve one’s understanding of information literacy, problem-solving, and technical skills.
What kinds of duties will I perform?
Roles will vary based on the project. Commonly, hours are fulfilled with projects in coding, collecting samples, literature reviews, and analyzing data from surveys.
How do I find a research project to work on?
The course supervisor will communicate to students any opportunities that arise for them to participate in research. Also, during the first (and only in-person) meeting there will be presenters from various professors and graduate students who have studies underway and need require assistance. It is also common for students who are presented with opportunities from instructors wanting their help. You must confirm all participation with the course supervisor.
It should be noted that students are responsible for independently seeking out research activities – no student will be assigned to work on any particular study by the course supervisor.
Are there any required trainings?
The UConn Institutional Review Board (IRB) requires UConn faculty, staff, and students (graduates and undergraduates) at the Storrs and regional campuses, who are conducting research as investigators or key personnel, to take the research-appropriate course on the CITI Program website and complete certification before protocol applications for initial approval, amendment, or re-approval of such research will be approved by the IRB. Training is required of all key personnel regardless of whether the study qualifies for exempt, expedited, or full board review. The CITI Basic Course certification is good for three (3) years at which time, the CITI Refresher Course must be taken to maintain certification.
There are two basic CITI Courses for Human Subjects. Group 1 is the basic Biomedical Research course and it consists of the following [modules.pdf] and Group 2 is the basic Social and Behavioral Science course and it consists of the following [modules.pdf]. Please note that the Responsible Conduct of Research Courses DO NOT satisfy the human subjects training requirement.
This year all undergraduates involved in human subjects research must complete the online COVID-19 safety training. There are two options for completing the online training and either training is acceptable: “Returning to Research Training Course ” OR “Returning to Campus Training Course.” Students only need to complete one of the trainings even if they are engaged in multiple research or experiential learning opportunities. Students must provide email confirmation that they have completed the training to their research mentor/supervisor/faculty advisor.
How do I receive COMM credit for research?
Students wishing to complete research for COMM 4982 credit must meet the pre-requisite requirements (be a junior or higher and will have completed at least 12 credits of 2000+ level COMM coursework, including COMM 2000Q (3000Q)/PSYC 2100WQ) and then complete a request form to enroll. Requests will then be reviewed and upon approval, the student will be issued an email with a permission number as well instructions on how to enroll and how to complete the required CITI training.
Students will earn 1 credit for every 25 credits, completed. Additionally, the tasks completed much change every 25 hours. For example, if you want to work on one particular study for 3 credits, you must complete a different task for every 25 hours (e.g. 25 hours coding, 25 hours reviewing literature, 25 hours collecting data).
For each project worked on, students must complete a contract with their project supervisor which will outline the expectation of duties as well as hours. It will be completed and signed by the project supervisor and students are asked to make two copies, one for their own records and the other to be submitted to the course supervisor. Students will also need to complete a mid-semester evaluation form - details will be given during the one (and only) semester meeting.
Additionally, students will need to complete a Work Recording Form where they will record a breakdown of all dates, hours of assignments completed for each contract. Forms can be found here:
Upon completion of the aforementioned students will be issued a grade for the number of credits they enrolled in, in accordance with their performance.
How many credits can I receive through COMM 4982?
The number of credits issued can vary from 1 – 3 and are based on the number of hours completed. The breakdown is as follows:
1 Credit – 25 hours
2 Credits – 50 hours
3 Credits – 75 hours
Are there any required course meetings?
The course will meet only once, at the beginning of the semester, and the time and date will be included in your approval email.
For Fall 2021, the meeting will be held _________ on _________, from ________. Dr. Stifano will contact you with the meeting information via email.
Can I participate if I am not a Communication Major/Minor?
Yes, as long as you meet all the pre-requisites (be a junior or higher and will have completed at least 12 credits of 2000+ level COMM coursework, including COMM 2000Q (3000Q)/PSYC 2100WQ), then you are eligible to complete an enrollment request.