Research methods can briefly be defined as the strategies, processes or techniques used to collect evidence that can be analyzed for the purpose of discovering new information. Learning and understanding the methods used to conduct high-quality, rigorous research is imperative to an undergraduate researcher’s success as a future scientist. Unfortunately, the vast majority of research opportunities engaged in by undergraduate researchers often involve considerable time and effort spent on the data collection/analysis portion of a study typically initiated by a doctoral student or principal investigator; as a result, even many undergraduates with considerable research experience graduate from their degree with a minimal understanding of the following: 1) designing a research project from scratch, 2) identifying a suitable methodology for a research question, 3) justifying their (order of) steps taken in a research project.
The URNCST Journal team prides itself on its commitment to advocate for undergraduate STEM research. In our endeavours to promote undergraduate research, we have launched a new initiative, the URNCST Journal Research Methods Primer, which has been specifically designed to fill these aforementioned knowledge gaps in undergraduate research. This initiative has specifically been designed to provide individuals with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of a commonly used scientific research method of their choosing. The three-month program aims to actively support and mentor learners in navigating the complexities of research methodology theory and practice, culminating in the development and publication of an invaluable and accessible educational resource for future early-career researchers. Those wishing to learn more about how the URNCST Journal Mentored Paper initiative was developed can read our published editorial.
Students selected to participate will be presented with the opportunity to join a team of 2-6 mentees who will be partnered with a graduate student mentor to learn about a research methodology in detail, and subsequently collectively co-draft a research methods primer manuscript for submission to the URNCST Journal. As a result, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to improve their scientific writing skills and experience the entire process of writing an academic manuscript, while working under the supervision of a methods expert at the graduate student level. By the end of this initiative, participating students should have a thorough and detailed understanding of their selected research method spanning from the design stage all the way up to the manuscript write up. The final manuscript will be peer-reviewed by another graduate student with expertise in this research method, allowing the students to experience external-feedback.
Eligibility to Participate: The URNCST Journal Research Methods Primer is open to authors who are enrolled in an undergraduate (i.e. BSc, BEng, BA, etc.) or professional-undergraduate (i.e. MD, DDS, PharmD, OD, RN, etc.) degree program.
About the Initiative: Undergraduate students interested in applying for the URNCST Journal Research Methods Primer will be required to draft and submit an abstract summary of the 2-4 research articles selected by our mentors on specific research methodologies, listed below. Students must submit an abstract alone; successful candidates will then be paired into groups based on their research method of interest. These abstracts will be reviewed for suitability (i.e. understanding of topic, writing ability), and accepted students will be paired with the graduate student who proposed the topic and will mentor the undergraduate (team) in drafting a manuscript that is of suitable quality to undergo peer-review by the URNCST Journal. As participants will be under the guidance of a graduate student, they are not required to have a complete understanding of the topic, but should have done their due diligence in reading about the topic online and have the motivation and dedication to learn from the mentoring graduate student.
Topics Available: Please see below for a complete list of the available research topics for the manuscripts. Please note that these are the only research methods that accepted students should write on and they are not subject to change.
Deadline to Submit Abstract for Consideration: Saturday, February 05, 2022 @ 11:59PM EST
Mentorship Period: May-August 2022
Update: The URNCST Journal's call for abstracts for the 1st Research Methods Primer is now closed. Those who applied in advance of the Saturday, February 05, 2022 @ 11:59pm EST deadline should expect to receive an outcome on their submission by late-March/early-April. Should you have any questions about participating, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who did not have the chance to participate, please stay tuned for the 2nd Research Methods Primer (Fall 2022) for which we anticipate our call for abstracts will open in Summer 2022.
For Graduate Students: We are always interested in identifying new mentors who are able/willing to help keen undergraduate researchers design, develop, and write a full-length research methods primer. Eligible mentors must be enrolled in or a graduate of a graduate program (a Master's level degree at minimum) in any natural or clinical science or technology discipline and have expertise in the research method of their choosing. Please apply to be a mentor here.
After selecting a topic, please click "Learn More & SUBMIT ABSTRACT" below and follow the instructions provided.
RMP1.2: Stem Cell Differentiation
RMP1.3: Longitudinal Prospective Cohort Studies
RMP1.4: Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA)
RMP1.5: Systematic, Scoping, and Literature Reviews (Evidence Synthesis and Clinical Trials)
RMP1.6: Writing a Literature Review on Different Types of Evidence Syntheses in Healthcare