Student Research by Department
Many departments have their own vision of student research. If a department has a student research page on its website, then the department name links to that page.
research in Biology seeks to answer questions about organisms or their
environments using scientific inquiry and to model scientific curiosity for
motivated and capable students. Research entails reading and synthesis of
literature, thoughtful reflection and discussion of problems and questions,
trial and error to learn and to teach techniques, large blocks of time to
accomplish these things, and adequate facilities and equipment to pursue
technical questions with modern approaches. Ideally it results in new knowledge
that is shared with the scientific community and society.
Research in the
Department of Chemistry typically entails undergraduate chemistry and
biochemistry majors working alongside faculty in their respective laboratories
for at least one calendar year, including extensive summer research funded
through available grants. Students choose a project within the various
sub-disciplines of chemistry (biochemistry, analytical, physical/computational,
inorganic, organic) that aligns with their interests and talents and students
are welcome to participate in more than one project during their studies.
Students present the results of their work at national meetings for the
American Chemical Society and their travel is funded via university sources.
considers the following things as undergraduate "research."
- Every student does a senior research project
and these also reflect "research" we do with undergraduates
outside of this requirement. These projects fall into three categories:
- confirmation research (reproducing a published experiment)
- discovery research (traditional research)
- development (producing a product for a customer)
- BROADSIDE - a center that allows us to
partner with local industry to develop a software/hardware solution for
- extra-curricular activities. We have a
number of extra-curricular groups that
develop innovative projects that we would also consider as undergraduate
research. Our Women in Computer Science builds something for
Maker Faires each year. Our Software Engineering Team has built
software applications for competitions and works with our Computer
Engineering Team to develop interesting projects like our upcoming laser
Over the past thirty years, criminal justice has steadily
become an evidence-based discipline.
From computerized crime analysis, to developing principles of effective
intervention and standards of best practice in corrections, practitioners are
increasingly required to understand and conduct empirical research to augment
these activities. To build on these
competencies in our undergraduates, the Department of Criminal Justice requires
its students to complete in-class research activities and encourages participation
in extended and extracurricular student-centered and student-faculty research
opportunities. These include, but are
not limited to:
- Empirical literature reviews to analyze,
interpret, and apply scholarly research to contemporary issues facing criminal
justice (e.g., trends, policy, practice);
- Collaboration with faculty on innovative
- Submission of individual and group projects for
presentation at local, regional, and national conferences (e.g., Ship’s Celebration
of Student Research Conference; Annual Meeting of the American Society of
- Submission of individual and co-authored evidence-based
theses for consideration in University and discipline-related publications.
The Research and Analysis course gives students the opportunity to
have a hands-on experience in applying various quantitative and qualitative
methodologies to address social and economic issues. Students working together
with faculty undertake research projects of significant interest. Students will
learn to create a research design, use statistical software to test hypotheses,
and write a professional research paper. Students also have the opportunity to
submit their papers for publication and present their findings to audiences on
campus or at regional and national conferences.
English involves the study of primary cultural texts (written, oral, visual,
virtual). Scholars in literary studies formulate original arguments about
the social, historical, political, artistic, or cultural significance of such
texts, informed by the work of other established scholars within our
discipline; they produce original creative work; and they develop materials and
approaches for use by other scholars and teachers of English and cultural
After completing most of their major coursework, students are ready to conduct their own research projects. Part of the capstone experience in the Exercise Science curriculum is the Research Design and Statistics course, where all students gather data and analyze and interpret results. Faculty within the Department mentor students through the process of creating and completing a scientific research project.
The Department of Exercise Science invests a tremendous amount of effort in support of undergraduate student research. Exercise Science students are encouraged to pursue funding from the Shippensburg University Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee to support their research efforts. Outcomes of these efforts are seen each year at the campus Celebration of Student Research Conference. Furthermore, Exercise Science students have been published in theKeystone Journal for Undergraduate Research and they have presented at regional and national conferences. Finally, students are encouraged to pursue professional development activities, such as attending the annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Conference, and broaden their knowledge within the field of Exercise Science.
in the field of Geography and Earth Science provides students the opportunity
to learn through direct experience. Students who become engaged in a
facet of this discipline discover a problem or an unanswered question in the
literature with a faculty mentor who assists the student off-load. Together,
student and professor devise a question and develop a method of study.
The answer comes through collection of original data in the field or in the
lab, analysis of these data, and the preparation of a plausible conclusion.
research is an interpretation of the past in a meaningful, original way, based
on the author's use of a variety of primary sources (first-hand accounts such
as government and other archival documents, newspapers, personal effects,
music, works of art, interviews, and participant observation, among others) as
well as secondary sources (scholarly accounts by individuals who did not
witness the events being described). The author reviews the source
material to construct an original argument that interprets the past in a new
way and to analyze the material's significance in the realm of politics,
economics, religion, gender, or a number of other categories. The
finished product may take a variety of forms, including books, journal
articles, poster presentations, or museum exhibits. Because historians
typically, though not always, work alone, student historical research is rarely
done alongside a faculty member. Rather the faculty member serves as a
mentor who potentially helps the student select a topic, find source material,
or sharpen his or her analysis.
Human Communication Studies
Department of Human Communication defines research as the systemic, rigorous
qualitative, quantitative or interpretive assessment of communication processes
and messages, which may include verbal, nonverbal, and/or visual cues. As a
discipline, Communication Studies values basic and applied research that
produces knowledge which furthers the understanding
and advances the efficacious practice of human communication.
In the mathematics department, students and faculty members may team up outside of class time to research interesting topics or problems in depth. Undergraduate research is a collaborative effort between the students and faculty, and often the research involves trying to find an answer to a problem whose solution is unknown. These problems may be in pure mathematics, or they may have applications to other disciplines and require interdisciplinary collaborations. Ideally, the research process involves literature review, new discoveries by the student, and implementing computational methods to approximate solutions or test hypotheses. We look for opportunities to share the results of our research at Ship’s Celebration of Student Research and also at regional or national mathematics conferences.
the languages, undergraduate research is a process
that includes the reinterpretation
or rediscovery of known artifacts
(texts and other cultural products) from a critical
or creative perspective to generate new analyses (scholarly research: literary studies, cultural
studies, linguistics) or innovative art
(literary authorship: creative writing, translation), under the close
mentorship and guidance of faculty.
Undergraduate researchers are expected to make
cross-cultural comparisons and connections between their first language
and the target language, focusing on linguistic (speech patterns at the
lexical, phonological and syntactical levels), cultural, artistic and/or
literary aspects, in order to answer questions about, and gain a
deeper understanding of, the target language, cultures, practices
and perspectives. It is also interdisciplinary,
and involves the coordination of historical-socio-political knowledge with
textual analysis or creativity (textual being broadly defined and being applied
to any artifact from the target language/culture).
Research in the languages is conducted individually,
is student-centered and focused on the process rather than on the
outcome. It entails identifying and acquiring a discipline-specific or
inter-disciplinary methodology, defining a concrete investigative issue,
carrying out the actual project through literature review (reading, analyzing,
interpreting and synthesizing) in the target language, articulating and
discussing the issues, and finally sharing
findings (which do not have to be
entirely new, other than to the student) with a paper or a poster in the target language.
Music and Theater Arts
For most musicians and theater artists, “scholarly
activity” means performance and/or composition and “research”
MUSIC- music history, musicology, music theory,
composition; performance - exploration of literature, suitability for student
ensembles, score study; all require countless hours of study, practice and
listening within the confines of a library, practice room/studio.
THEATRE- clothing and architecture, cultural
history and etiquette, dramatic literature and styles of performance and voice
Performers in each discipline spend months,
sometimes years in preparation before stepping on stage for a solo or ensemble
performance, lecture recital, recording session, or play.
research in the Department of Psychology is an intensive faculty-student
collaboration. Following the formal scientific method and using both
experimental and non-experimental methodologies, students generate testable,
novel hypotheses about human behavior, design and conduct both animal and human
studies, analyze study results using professional statistical software, present
their results at state, regional, national, and international professional
conferences, and participate in the writing and submission of resulting
manuscripts for publication. Research topics explored by undergraduate
researchers are as broad as their and their faculty mentor’s interests, ranging
from dating behavior, high-risk drinking, the development of wisdom, resilience
of children, parent-child attachment, cellphone use and thinking, women’s
self-defense behaviors, attitudes of sports fans, subliminal perception,
workplace behaviors, extinction of behavior, ego depletion, food preferences,
personality disorders, shunning behavior, health-related choices, optimism, and
death attitudes of extreme sports participants, to name a few.
the collection of primary and/or secondary DATA to find patterns and
correlations among variables. Research is a systematic collection of data to
answer a research question. Sociology is the study of human behavior,
especially in the context of social groups. Sociologists gather and
analyze to ask questions and find answers about human behavior. Our
questions may be exploratory, such as, “ What is this new practice called ‘butt
chugging’ on college campuses?” Sometimes we ask questions that are
descriptive, such as, “What type of romantic couple is most likely to break
up?” And finally, we may ask questions that are meant to explain a
behavior. Explanatory questions are posed with cause and effect
relationships between independent and dependent variables. An example of
an explanatory question is “Does the education of women influence the fertility
rate of a country?” We can use the scientific method with explanatory
questions, especially once we state the question as an hypothesis: “Countries
with low rates of education among women have high fertility rates.”
Senior Seminar Research Project
During their final internship semester, all students in the Department of Social Work and Gerontology complete an agency-based research project as part of their Senior Seminar course. Students go through the entire research process: developing a research question, completing an IRB application, conducting a review of literature, collecting data, analyzing data, interpreting data and finally, presenting their research at the formal senior presentations event that takes place at the close of each semester.
The Social Work Research Club
The Department of Social Work and Gerontology hosts the Social Work Research Club. This is a student led, and faculty mentored club that engages social work students in the processes of research methodology development, data analysis, and the presentation of research findings at local, statewide, and national conferences.. During the academic year, the typical process followed by the Research Club involves 1) coming up with a research topic and question during September of the Fall semester, 2) submitting an IRB application in October, 3) creating a measurement tool for data collection in November, 4) collecting data in December, 5) analyzing data in January of the Spring semester, 6) developing a poster for presentations in February, 7) presenting the poster at a national social work conference in March, 8) presenting the poster at the Celebration of Student Research conference at Shippensburg University in April. In the past, students have presented their research at conferences in Long Island, NY, Myrtle Beach, SC, Louisville, KY, and San Antonio, TX. In order to facilitate these presentations at national, state, and local conferences, Research Club members also have the opportunity to write, edit, and submit research proposals and grants to various on-campus organization as well as national and state social work organizations.