Student Quotes from Research Methods

Overall

“This semester of the Freshman Research Immersion program definitely provided me with a solid basis in oral presentation, individual research and reading of scholarly articles, and synthesis of information into a neatly prepared project. I enjoyed participating in both formal and informal meetings and presentations, as well as meeting and working with accomplished professionals in fields that I have an interest in. I would recommend the Freshman Research Immersion program to any motivated and hard-working freshman with a strong interest in science.”

“Before attending the first class this semester, I expected to be put in a lab environment and immediately begin conducting research on biofilms; however, after classes began I learned there was a more fitting approach to educate first year undergraduates on research and after nearly finishing the first semester of this three semester course, I can proudly state that this class exceeded my expectations. From this course I learned the ideal methods involved in conducting research experiment and how to properly present one’s scientific discoveries through power-point presentations, excel charts and graphs, and scientific poster sessions; learning these skills helped both my personal and professional growth as an undergraduate student.”

“The first time I went to lecture, I remember being nervous and intimidated. I thought that the semester ahead was going to be beyond what I am capable of. The way all the professors spoke of the goals, the agenda, and the expectations -- I was completely intimidated….Meeting my team and getting to know all the professors slowly proved my initial worries were all for naught. With each week, I learned how achievable all the things I feared actually are. The professors were guiding us at each step and my teammates were cooperative, friendly, intelligent, and helpful. I learned how to be part of a functional team and how it important it is to find my niche.”

“Unlike in previous research experience, where the conclusion inevitably lay before me, the research my group and I did had no clear end. I relished in the joy of not only creating criteria to evaluate the disinfectants we studied, but also discovering which of the disinfectants was the most efficient. For the first time in my research career, I felt that I had stepped out of a preordained line of research and carved my own findings into the monolith of scientific knowledge.”

“Something I discovered by doing this project is that when a large research project like this comes to an end, I feel very accomplished. Never having done something to this scale before, seeing it at the end is very rewarding. Standing in the poster talk and telling people about our research and actually understanding and comprehending what we found out was incredibly self-fulfilling.”

Teamwork

“Before I had started this project, I had always dreaded working in teams. However after working with this exceptional group of people, I found that working in a team can not only be just as effective as working individually but in fact even more effective. Working with this group of people, I found that we were able to read many more papers and gather much more information and data than any one of us could have alone. In doing this, all of us were able to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the subject and also to pinpoint directly the limiting factors on the viability of this new source of energy. In this way we were able to direct our research and develop a great poster and power point presentation.”

"The primary way this course helped me grow personally was through working in a group. In high school I had experienced group work, but not quite in the same way. First of all, this group project took place over a much longer period of time. Everything was very spread out, and I never felt as though I had to rush to complete my portion of the work. Partly because of this longer timeline, it allowed my group and I to meet outside of class much more frequently than I ever experienced in high school. Spending so much time together served to bond us together a lot. As we settled into our weekly meetings at the library, we would chat a bit, share anything interesting we had learned while researching, comment on how confident we felt on the progress of our project. I think this sense of community and friendship made us really cohesive as a group. Because we liked and respected each other, we were unwilling to disappoint our fellow group members if we didn’t complete the work assigned to us. That meant that we were almost always on the same page, and our project progressed very smoothly."

“There are plenty of times in my educational career thus far that I have been required to work on long term projects, but never one that spans an entire semester. FRI certainly helped me to layout goals to be met by specified dates and organize my time in order to keep my project on track and moving forward. Having a specific progression for planning and completion of the project really helped me to stay focused and ensure that our team was moving along appropriately. I think this can be credited to the fact that we attacked and organized this project from many different directions. We mapped out a plan, managed due dates and papers to be read using the wiki and created checkpoints along the way. Working on a long term project can be daunting and easy to lose track of so taking the time to plan ahead really helped.”

Research resources

“The library tutorials and class lectures have taught me how to take advantage of the library databases and how to refine my search. I now know how to properly search for articles from a scholarly journal and deduce whether or not an article is appropriate for a research project. Microsoft Excel was also a relatively new topic to me, until the tutorials I received in this class. I have successfully learned how to make scatter plot graphs, bar graphs, line graphs, and error bars on Excel, all of which I was unable to do previous to this course. I also learned a lot about statistics and its relation to the scientific method. The knowledge I gained in gathering data, sampling distribution, and analyzing data will be useful in many classes to come. I have already used the guides on how to find scholarly articles for another class this semester, so I know that the technical skills that I have developed over this semester will aid me in my future classes that require the use of library databases, Excel, and statistics and gathering and analyzing data.”

“Another way in which this course contributed to my professional growth is that it bettered my ability to read and analyze scientific literature. In order to obtain the data needed for my project, I had to read many long scientific journals and extract information that could help lead to a conclusion. I also had to interpret graphs and recreate them in simpler forms in order to make them more comprehensible for the poster's audience. These skills will be useful not only in future science courses, but in other courses that require critical thinking as well.”

“At first, I didn’t realize the importance of the team wiki page. But as the course went on, I saw how it simplified task delegation, deadlines, and how it documented everyone’s progress. The wiki kept every group member informed and up to date and without it I think keeping ourselves organized would have been difficult. I realized through the wiki that in the professional world, communication is key, and I thought that was a cool take away from this course.”

Career path

“On a professional level FRI also helped me out. I had to write a resume, cover letter and attempt to make a career path map, which before this class has never been something that I felt I need to do. This class also taught me how to do an elevator talk. This is something that now that I know what it is can see how it will be very useful later in my professional development. Also this elevator talk has allowed me to gain more confidence in public speaking.”

“This course also made me think about my career path. While I am still intending to pursue medicine, this course made me realize that research can be exciting. Not all research is mundane bench work, and the benefits that my efforts can have on society are too great to pass up. This first portion of the FRI program showed me that I still want to follow my dream of becoming a doctor but I also hope to conduct innovative research that can help solve the problems that are plaguing individuals worldwide.”

Support group

“Possibly the best part of this course was the fact that I was able to make friendships with people that I otherwise would never have met. My group members and I became close throughout the semester. We are all interested in different parts of science. Because of this, I was given multiple perspectives of science. Also, since this is my freshman year, I was able to have intellectual and scientific conversations with my peers to an extent that I never have before. We all had different experiences with science and being able to share these with each other was very interesting.”

Last Updated: 5/20/16