Although many undergraduate students participate in research, little is known about how their expectations compare to those of faculty overseeing the research. This study explored the attitudes, perceptions and expectations of undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Florida and of faculty supervisors overseeing undergraduate research. Students (n=3,933) and faculty (n=506) were contacted and 317 (8%) students and 81 (16%) faculty members completed questionnaires through SurveyMonkey®. Student responders agreed or strongly agreed that they play an important role in research (60%), are actively engaged (66%), are satisfied with the research experience received (77%), believe the tasks and projects they are assigned showcase their strengths and interests (55%) and are primarily motivated to participate in research due to a genuine interest (65%). Faculty agreed or strongly agreed that they believe the undergraduates feel they play an important role in research (79%), are actively engaged (79%), are satisfied with the research experience received (90%), assign tasks that showcase their students strengths and interests (72%) and are primarily motivated to participate in research due to a genuine interest (54%). In general, faculty had more positive perceptions of undergraduate student research experiences than did the students themselves. Further research is needed to identify specific outcomes for undergraduate research experiences, as well as methods for assessment of these outcomes.
Attitudes and perceptions, higher learning goals