Department of Enrollment


Faculty Mentor Name

Jane Grassley, PhD, RN, IBCLC

Report Date


Document Type

Student Project


Specific Aims:The specific aim of this study was to explore student nurses’ perceptions of the benefits of being an undergraduate research assistant.

Background: Undergraduate student nurses gain benefits from collaborating outside of the classroom with faculty as a research assistant. Students can explore the faculty role of researcher through their experiences, and these experiences may encourage students to become faculty in the future. Boise State University School of Nursing (BSU SON) students have been encouraged to participate with faculty members through the Faculty-Student Research Support Initiative, funded by the DeMeyer Endowment. Through this research experience, undergraduate research assistants from BSU SON have participated in local, regional and national research conferences to present their research. However, students’ perceptions of the program have not been investigated.

Methods:This study used a mixed methods research design. Quantitative data was collected using a survey which consists of a list of 37 potential benefits, skills, and abilities that undergraduate research assistants may experience. Qualitative data was collected from two open-ended questions. Former and current SON students were contacted by email and invited to participate in the study using a web-based cover letter. Those interested in participating completed an on-line Qualtrics survey. Data were analyzed using the following statistics. Mean responses for the “achieve” and “importance” dimensions were analyzed using descriptive statistics. A principal component, varimax rotation factor analysis was used to analyze the 37 importance items. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze participants’ responses to the two open-ended questions. The themes related to students’ descriptions of the undergraduate research assistant experience were identified.

Results: Cronbach’s alpha estimates of internal consistency was 0.9. Rotated component matrix resulted in a three factor scale: 1)the benefits of being an undergraduate research assistant; 2) gaining research skills; and transferrable skills for the future.

Significance to Nursing. This research will provide the School of Nursing with valuable information about student outcomes of the SON Faculty-Student Research Support Initiative, which can be used by faculty in writing NIH R15 AREA grant proposals. The study findings could be used by other nursing education programs to develop similar projects that encourage their undergraduate students to partner with faculty in conducting research.

Included in

Nursing Commons