Evaluating the Undergraduate Research Assistantship Experience

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If you are a frequent reader of Eye on Psi Chi, you already know the importance of the undergraduate research experience for students planning to attend graduate school. The importance of this experience has been chronicled not only in the literature (Keith- Spiegel, 1991; Keith-Spiegel & Wiederman, 2000; Landrum & Clark, 2005; Landrum, Jeglum, & Cashin, 1994), but also in the pages of Eye on Psi Chi (Kaiser, Kaiser, Richardson, & Fox, 2007; Slattery & Park, 2002; Sleigh & Ritzer, 2007). The tasks of the undergraduate research assistant have also been defined in numerous articles. Some of these articles include rankings of the importance of tasks (Bauer & Bennett, 2003; Kaiser, et al., 2007; Kardash, 2000; Landrum & Nelsen, 2002), and other articles provide general information on the tasks to be performed by undergraduate research assistants (Sleigh & Ritzer, 2007). It is clear from the data that different faculty may have different expectations for undergraduates involved in research. What are the specific expectations that faculty members have for their undergraduate researchers? Do faculty members communicate these expectations, and do these expectations form the basis of evaluative criteria for the undergraduate research experience?

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