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Getting Started

Research: studious inquiry or examination; especially : investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws. (Merriam-Webster) 

Here at Shippensburg University, we encourage you to collaborate with faculty in their ongoing projects, or perhaps even develop your own original research agenda. If you would like to present your research, there are several journals and conferences devoted to undergraduates (see the Sharing Your Work menu to the left).

Why should I do research as an undergraduate?

  • Greater gains in learning – science/math/logic, problem solving, literature/language/context mastery, and personal initiative and communication skills
  • Stronger enrollment in graduate education
  • Increased employment in major-related fields: Employers value creative and independent thinking
  • Disciplinary learning beyond traditional courses:
    • Learning laboratory techniques in depth
    • Application of knowledge and skills in a research setting
    • Significant use of the literature
    • Seeing how contributions to the knowledge base permit others to build upon one's effort

OK, you convinced me!  How do I get started?

  • Talk with your advisor or other professors about opportunities for research in your discipline.
  • Think about expanding a class paper or topics from class you found particularly interesting.
  • Find other students that share your interests. Many departments have student clubs.
  • Check out the program from last year's Minds@Work: Celebrating Student Research, Scholarship, and Creativity to see what kinds of projects students and faculty have worked on.  You can find the program by clicking the  Minds@Work Conference menu item to the left.
  • With a faculty mentor, apply for an  Undergraduate Research Grant.
  • Present your work at the  Minds@Work: Celebrating Student Research, Scholarship, and Creativity.
  • Present your work with your faculty mentor at other local, regional, and national meetings.
  • Apply with a faculty member to take part in Ship's  SURE program.
  • If you want to try some research, but you're not sure about a topic, approach your favorite professor.  They often have ideas for research projects they can involve students in.

What are research ethics?

When Humans are Used in Research: Shippensburg University complies with federal regulations regarding the use of human subjects in research. This means that any project using humans must gain the approval of the SU Committee on Research with Human Subjects before any data is collected. For help in submitting a proposal to the Committee on Research with Human Subjects please click here:

For more information on the federal regulations on the use of human subjects in research, click here: Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

Contact the following campus faculty for more information:

  • College of Education and Human Services: Dr. Jennifer Clements, Co-Chair of the Committee on Research with Human Subjects
  • College of Arts and Sciences and College of Business: Dr. Dorlisa Minnick, Co-Chair of the Committee on Research with Human Subjects

When Animals are Used in Research: Students research that includes the use of live animals must seek the approval of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee before the project commences. Contact Dr. Kathryn Potoczak for detailed information on the procedure for gaining this approval.

Contact the Institute for Public Service and Sponsored Programs Old Main 207 1871 Old Main Drive Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1251 Fax: (717) 477-4053