How Does Institution Type Impact Students’ Experiences in Undergraduate Research?

Participating in research as an undergraduate is known to be a highly influential experience that can increase student motivation and persistence in science. In a typical undergraduate research experience, a student joins a faculty member’s research lab, and is mentored by a senior member of the lab as the student contributes to research projects. Research experience provides students an opportunity to learn if scientific research is a career they would like to pursue, and ultimately has been linked to increased graduation rates and career success. However, not all research experiences are positive, and occasionally students end up leaving their research experiences before they graduate. Understanding why students leave can help institutions better support their student researchers, address equity and inclusion issues, and ultimately maximize student benefits from these experiences.

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