2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Documenting Shared Human Experiences of Loss and Grief

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. April Masarik


Every human experiences the world uniquely; however, there are also universal experiences that all humans share with one another, regardless of historical period or cultural setting. For instance, all humans experience loss and grieve those losses. The ways in which people mourn and cope may differ, but the experience of loss itself is part of the human condition. In a society where tensions and conflicts appear at the forefront of our minds, research that highlights commonalities rather than our differences is desperately needed.

To showcase the common features of loss and grief, we will analyze hundreds of undergraduate students’ narratives, where they are prompted to share important developmental experiences. Our analysis will include both quantitative and qualitative research methods. We will record the number of times loss or grief is discussed, and will systematically search for common themes, as well as use direct quotes. Results will show that although there is individual variation in the experience of loss and grief, there are also several points of universality.

This research is in its preliminary stages and pending IRB approval. The results from our research could help inform educators, researchers, and general audiences about commonalities across our species regardless of perceived differences.

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