Loyola University Chicago

Undergraduate Research

Center for Engaged Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship (CELTS)

Research Courses Panel Discussion

Research and student surveys attest to the benefit of mentored student research as an excellent teaching and learning opportunity. Yet much undergraduate research takes place through independent fellowships, lab work, and capstone projects without structured coursework and class meetings.

This webpage for teachers includes material, samples, and constructive suggestions for involving students in research through courses. The material was provided by participants in a panel discussion during the Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy's Focus on Teaching and Learning event, January 9, 2014. The video below includes audio from the discussion as well as a screen capture of the computer during the presentation. You will need LUC permissions to view the video.

Goals in Planning a Research Course

  • Identify reasons why guided research offers an excellent opportunity for teaching and learning
  • Articulate the benefits, and challenges, of involving undergrads in research through classes instead of mentoring them independently, and assess ways to capitalize on those benefits and meet those challenges
  • Identify and evaluate multiple ways to structure undergraduate research into a course, addressing issues of scheduling, group work, external partners, and assessment of final projects

Questions to Consider

  • What level of student will your course target?
  • What research skills do you want students to learn?
  • What type of research project would best help them learn those skills?
  • How will you assess student learning and give feedback on this project?
  • What would you like to see as the end result of the research project(s)(data, paper, poster presentation, etc.)?
  • Will you pick the research projects ahead of time or have students select them?
  • How will you balance teaching skills in class and having students work on projects in and out of class?
  • Who, if anyone, will the students need to work with outside of class (reference librarians, community partners, external lab, etc.)?
  • How will teaching a research-based course benefit you?
  • Would you like your course to be designated as an "engaged learning" course?

Contributors and Contributions

Robert Lombardo
Criminal Justice, Associate Professor

Dr. Robert Lombardo, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, draws from his experience teaching CRMJ 352, in which students interviewed gang members and worked in groups to produce a 50 page research report on one specific gang. Below, Dr. Lombardo has shared a PowerPoint presentation on involving undergraduates in research through course work, and his CRMJ 352 syllabus, both of which can be viewed in fullscreen.

Stacy Neier
Quinlan School of Business-Marketing, Instructor

Quinlan instructor Stacy Neier teaches two research-based courses, MARK311 in which students conduct group research projects for the Chicago Lights Festival, and BNHR353 in which students work in pairs to outline and execute a research question and methodology on a topic of their choosing. Below, she has shared one infographic produced by a student research group and her MARK 311 syllabus, both of which can be viewed fullscreen.

Lane Vail
Institute for Environmental Sustainability, Research Associate

Lane Vail, Research Associate at the Institute for Environmental Sustainability, teaches the IES’s innovative Solutions to Environmental Problems (STEP) Courses, which follow a strategic education model. Below, Lane has shared three documents from a recent STEP course, ENVS 350: Food Systems. These documents include the course syllabus, a project overview that outlines how students will conduct a research project, and a worksheet to help students plan their research projects. All can be viewed in fullscreen.