Student Research

This one to three credit course is designed to introduce students to philosophies and techniques of discipline specific research methodologies and critical thinking. Research projects are supervised by individual faculty members who provide direction and focus for students. The course will culminate with a 10 minute presentation of each research project accompanied by a poster.

STUDENT RESEARCH

Prerequisites

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7
  • Sophomore status and above
  • Approval of the supervising professor, the student’s academic advisor, and the department chair of the supervising professor and department chair of the student
  • Approval of the Student Research Committee

Academic Credit

  • 1-3 credits depending on the individual project and the hours planned to spend working on the project each week.
  • Hours per week will vary depending on the credits registered for.
    • 1 credit = 45 hours/semester
    • 2 credits = 90 hours/semester
    • 3 credits = 135 or more hours/semester

Academics

  • Under the supervision of a Faculty Mentor, students intending to register for student research will need to submit a 1-2 page proposal to the Student Research Committee for approval. Proposals should include an abstract, project time line, budget, and any funding requests. Following approval of the project by the student research committee the student can then register for SR4041. Registration is through the student’s department chair.
  • Budget: Students will submit a budget with their proposal. There are limited funds available for students through a student research fund. The supervising faculty member is responsible for ensuring there are departmental funds available for most of the supplies.
  • With each proposal, please submit a signed Proposal Application cover page which is located in the CSPD office. Please note that the cover letter needs to be signed by both the student’s mentor and the student’s department chairperson.
  • If the project involves the use of animals please contact Becky Hughes or Dr. Charles Heise for Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval. If the project involves human subjects, please contact irb@delval.edu for Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  • Registered students will meet with the Student Research Committee at the beginning of the semester, half-way through the semester and at the end of the semester to present their projects to the campus community. Students should meet on a regular basis with their faculty mentor. At the end of the semester students will present a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation describing their experiments and results. Additionally, a poster of the project is required. The final grade will be determined by the student’s faculty mentor and will be based on the students’ knowledge of the subject, clarity of the presentation and commitment to their project. Faculty mentors will provide a detailed explanation on how they plan to evaluate the students’ performance. Additional requirements may vary by Faculty Mentor.
  1. Secure a Faculty Mentor to discuss research project idea(s) and the Faculty Mentor’s expectations and requirements.
  2. Review Student Research Policies and Guidelines
    a. Review academic requirements / prerequisites to assure your eligibility
  3. Finalize Research Proposal idea
  4. If the project involves the use of animals, contact Becky Hughes for Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) forms and submit forms to Dr. Charles Heise for approval. If the project involves human subjects, contact irb@delval.edu for Institutional Review Board (IRB) forms and submit forms to irb@delval.edu.
    a. Please allow for 2-4 weeks for approval before proposal deadline (see below).
  5. Complete Proposal which must include:
    a. Title page with proposal title, student’s name and mentor’s name
    b. 1-2 pages describing the proposed project and rational
    c. Project Timeline
    d. Budget
    e. Funding Requests- supplies not covered by your department
    f. References
  6. Complete Student Research Proposal Application (found in CSPD office, Segal Hall) with all necessary approvals:
    a. Your Faculty Mentor must sign your form verifying their mentorship
    b. Your Faculty Mentor’s Department Chair must sign your form approving the faculty member’s participation
    c. Your Academic Department Chair must sign your form approving your participation
    d. IRB / IACUC approval if applicable
  7. You must review and comply with all Student Research Program policies, procedures and expectations. Your signature on the Proposal Application indicates that you understand and agree to Student Research policies.
  8. On Proposal Application, note if you are seeking Experiential Learning (E360) credit in order to fulfill an E360 graduation requirement, or for DelVal Experience Transcript recognition.
    a. If yes, once approved, your proposal will be forwarded to the Center for Student Professional Development for E360 credit.
  9. Submit Proposal Application and Proposal by the appropriate deadline to the Student Research Coordinator - Dr. Cynthia Keler. Submit both an electronic copy via email at cynthia.keler@delval.edu and hard-copy via mailbox: Mandell 113 or office: Mandell 224.
  10. The Student Research Committee will review your proposal for acceptance. Once approved, you will then be registered for the course in WebAdvisor after your form is submitted. Please check WebAdvisor for verification.
  11. Attend Student Research meetings – see Student Research Policies and Guidelines for information on course requirements.

MENTORING A STUDENT RESEARCH PROJECT IS A CONSIDERABLE TIME COMMITMENT.

Students, especially those that are brand new to research, need to be trained and encouraged. You will need to meet with your student(s) at least once a week. All of the work they do, including the final presentation and poster, will require your review and suggestions for revision. Agreeing to mentor a student’s research project is an agreement that you will commit your time and mental energy to this project throughout the semester.

CONSIDER WHETHER YOU ARE THE APPROPRIATE MENTOR GIVEN THE STUDENT’S RESEARCH INTERESTS.

Students may approach you for a research opportunity simply because they like you as a professor. When you learn of their research interests, you may find that you are not the best advisor for the project being proposed. If you are not the most appropriate advisor for a given project, be willing to direct the student to a faculty member who is a better match for the project.

ASK THAT YOUR STUDENT SUBMIT HIS/HER RESEARCH PROPOSAL TO YOU BEFORE THEY ARE SUBMITTED TO THE CHAIR OF THE STUDENT RESEARCH COMMITTEE.

Make sure there is time for you to review the original research proposal and for your student to revise it before final submission to the committee. If you are able to sign off on the quality of the proposal and are convinced that all sections are included, the student is much less likely to have to rewrite and submit a second time.

DECIDE ON STUDENT TIME COMMITMENT WHEN REGISTERING FOR THE STUDENT RESEARCH COURSE.

Students may earn one to three credits when taking the student research course. Each credit requires three hours of research time each week. Mentors should consider the project proposal and determine the student time commitment at the time of registration. So that all credits are earned, make sure the student is fulfilling the time commitment for which he/she has registered.

BE EXPLICIT ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND HAVE STUDENTS AGREE TO A GRADING SCHEME FOR THE SEMESTER.

As an advisor, you will provide your student(s) with a grade for the student research course. Outline your expectations and grading scheme and share these with your research student at the start of the semester. Students feel more comfortable when they understand the expectations. The poster, oral presentation, and weekly meetings are required of all students in the course and are all assessable components. The specific project may demand others, such as a notebook.

DEVELOP A DETAILED TIMELINE WITH YOUR STUDENT.

A detailed timeline helps keep your student(s) on track to completion. You may need to revisit the timeline as the semester develops, but deadlines are important for student motivation. Expect that certain phases of the project will end at specific times so your student budgets his/her time appropriately. Sometimes firm start dates are as important as end dates. For example, your student(s) shouldn’t spend half the semester on the poster.

MAKE SURE APPROPRIATE DATA ANALYSIS IS APPLIED TO THE DATA COLLECTED.

Students should apply appropriate statistical analyses to their quantitative data. If sample sizes are too small or if analysis is being reserved for a future phase of the project, this explanation should be explicitly stated in presentation and poster. There should be an expectation that data have been or will be analyzed.

STUDENT RESEARCH SHOULD BE CONDUCTED IN A WAY THAT WOULD ENABLE THE STUDENT TO PRESENT THE PROJECT AT A PROFESSIONAL CONFERENCE.

Not all student research projects may be ready for a professional conference after a single semester of work, but all projects should be conceived with professional conferences in mind. The Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science is a student-friendly conference that takes place in state every March. Especially because student conference fees are supported by our student research grant, students and their advisors are encouraged to aim for professional conference presentation.

ASK THAT YOUR STUDENT SUBMIT HIS/HER POSTER AND PRESENTATION TO YOU BEFORE THEY ARE SUBMITTED TO THE CHAIR OF THE STUDENT RESEARCH COMMITTEE.

Make sure there is time for you to review your student’s final presentation materials before final submission. Oral presentation and poster should both be approved by the mentor before they are submitted to the Student Research Committee.

INFORMATION ABOUT USING GRANT FUNDS TO ORDER MATERIALS:

Student research is supported by a grant from Bristol Meyers Squibb which covers equipment, supplies and conference fees for students. The grant does not cover professional services, such as, a veterinarian. On average, there is approximately $500.00 per student, but this amount can vary depending on the number of students enrolled in the course. All purchases not in the proposal should be approved by the committee chair before ordering. Copies of all orders need to be submitted to the committee chair for recording keeping and budgeting purposes. If you have a question about purchasing, please contact Cynthia Keler, Chair of the Student Research Committee. Purchases can be made in one of three ways:

  1. Filling out a requisition form and submitting to the committee chair.
  2. Personal cash or credit card purchase and then submission of a filled-out check request form with the receipt(s) attached.
  3. P-card purchase that has been approved before the purchase. Then submission of the receipt and P-card statement for the committee chairs signature.

The suggested grading rubric.