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Undergraduate Student Attitudes and Perspectives of the Accessibility, Supportiveness, and Appreciation of Research Opportunities in the Health Sciences

Owen Dan Luo
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Sabrina H. Lin
Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Sanya Grover
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Praveen Sritharan
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Stine Hansen
Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation, and Excellence in Teaching, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

Published 2022-12-08

Keywords

  • undergraduate research,
  • accessibility,
  • mixed methods,
  • student perspectives,
  • post-secondary students,
  • higher education
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How to Cite

Luo, O., Lin, S. H., Grover, S., Sritharan, P., & Hansen, S. . (2022). Undergraduate Student Attitudes and Perspectives of the Accessibility, Supportiveness, and Appreciation of Research Opportunities in the Health Sciences. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 26–41. https://doi.org/10.47678/cjhe.vi0.189439

Abstract

Undergraduate research is a “high-impact” educational practice that enriches student learning and facilitates student career advancement. This sequential explanatory mixed methods study, composed of a quantitative online questionnaire followed by qualitative focus group interviews, sought to explore undergraduate student attitudes on research and elicit perceived facilitators and barriers to undergraduate research engagement. The survey respondents (N = 377), all undergraduate health sciences students at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, generally had positive attitudes toward undergraduate research, but had polarized perceptions of its accessibility, supportiveness, and appreciation. Follow-up focus group interviews with selected participants (N = 11) revealed four main themes: (1) the hidden curriculum of undergraduate research, (2) the paucity of meaningful research work for emerging student researchers, (3) the administrative barriers within the undergraduate research landscape, and (4) the inequitable access to undergraduate research opportunities. This study’s findings suggest potential avenues to improve the undergraduate student research experience,

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