Creating learning communities for undergraduate students participating in research

Jason Hickey, Mohamoud Adam, Kenneth Ryba


Anecdotal reports suggest that faculty members experience difficulties engaging undergraduate students as members of a research team. Faculty members often end up bearing the majority of work involved in the research process, and students become disengaged and uncommitted. The purpose of this paper is to: 1) Describe a “situated learning” framework, and teaching methods and approaches that may be helpful for future researchers to actively engage students in the research learning process; 2) describe our own experiences with creating a professional community of research practice with team; and, 3) offer some practical strategies for scaffolding students to gain research skills through working in close proximity to more experienced colleagues.  This article highlights a worked example of research undertaken in Qatar; however, it is relevant to any academic staff member who chooses to include undergraduate students in research.


Student research experience; situated learning; community of practice; scaffolding; teaching and learning process

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