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Research Advisor Guidelines

Student Research Symposium (SRS) 2018

Documents from the Council on Excellence in Undergraduate Research (COEUR) and the ACS’s Committee on Professional Training were consulted to generate suggestions on scope and participation as a research advisor.
Advisors are/can/should 
  • have small groups (2-4 students) from a class participate: advisors are encouraged to have novel, creative or interpretive work that students conducted as part of a class present at the symposium. 
  • begin doing research without funding (external or internal): It is important to demonstrate that funding is helpful but not necessary to begin doing research.  Starting with a small inexpensive project can establish a pattern of success that can lead to funding opportunities.   
  • train the student in sound methodology according to the discipline (such as the scientific method): This will benefit the student in their problem solving and communication skills.  
  • have high expectations: advisors that provide high expectation for students are rewarded by high achievement. 
  • include a broad range of students: Everyone’s ideas, work-ethic and determination are welcome.  
  • discuss the scope of the project: The scope and expectations of progress should be monitored and reevaluated as the project progresses.  
  • develop milestones or concrete timeline goals: This allows students to gauge their progress.  It will be different from class because there is no grade to mark progress.  What is a great accomplishment to the advisor can be lost on the student because they are looking for “the right answer.”  It is also helpful to distinguish between goals of the project and tasks to be completed.   
  • assess progress towards those goals: This ties to the scope and milestone goals. This could be simple check sheet or weekly summaries or short meetings.  
  • connect research to current events, societal issues or other relevant topics: This puts the project in perspective.  
  • encourage interdisciplinary teams: Multiple perspectives can lead to a creative answer.  
  • help the student draft and edit the abstract for submission to the symposium: This may be the first time they have ever written an abstract.  Constructive criticism is most appropriate.  Our planning committee also edits the abstract and may contact you for clarification.  
  • help the student with final presentation:  While students can cram for a final paper or exam, they cannot cram for a presentation. Editing a poster requires many eyes to catch typos and plan the poster layout.  Typically posters can take up to several days to print.  While the committee will financially support the cost of printing as much as we can, our prices are determined by non-rush printing.   
  • encourage team work: Peer-peer interaction is very important to the student’s success.  Get a small team of students to work on the project.  Most research is done in a group.  
  • demonstrate, express and illustrate the beneficial value of novel research: Be a supportive research mentor.  
  • seek help and support from your colleagues: The faculty who are part of the SRS planning team are willing to help you and your student succeed.

Contacts: Sarah Preston, Melissa Barranger Mathys, Elizabeth Kavran
Get excited! Research is fun!