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Getting Started With Research

What is Research?

Research is a process of discovery that leads to our understanding of the world around us. Research has brought us new medicines, faster technologies and ideas that contribute to the betterment of our culture and society. This page is designed to introduce students to some of the cutting-edge research taking place at UC Merced and provide advice on how to get involved in the action as an undergraduate. 

Research consists of:

  • Asking a question that nobody has asked before
  • Doing the necessary work to find the answer
  • Communicating the knowledge you have acquired to the appropriate audience 

In practice, research methods vary widely, depending upon the academic discipline's accepted standards, the individual researcher's preferences, or a particular study's needs. Research in science and engineering often involves conducting experiments in the lab or in the field. Research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences may include archival work in the library or on the internet, conducting surveys or in-depth interviews, and a wide range of creative and artistic projects- from costume design to playwriting to curating a fine arts exhibit.

Click here to find out more about undergraduate research on a national level!

Why is Research Important?

Participating in undergraduate research gives you the opportunity to:

  • Work one-on-one with internationally distinguished faculty
  • Participate in cutting-edge research projects with far-reaching impact
  • Make significant contributions to a field you care about
  • Enhance your competitiveness for graduate or professional school admission or high-level employment

As a student researcher, you can receive instruction and experience in:

  • Developing and implementing research protocols
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Writing research papers
  • Presenting research findings at scholarly meetings (on-campus, statewide, national)
  • Collaborating with other researchers

How Do I Get Involved?

There are different ways to get into research:

  • Networking with your peers
  • Talking to professors
  • Identifying and applying to reserach programs at UC Merced
  • Identifying and applying to research programs across the country

The following materials are needed to complete the UROC application:

  1. UROC online application form
  2. Statement of purpose and personal essay, as described in the online application
  3. One letter of recommendation from a UC Merced faculty member
  4. One unofficial transcript from the protal
  5. Resume or CV

The most important thing to have is motivation. For some, it may be as easy as asking for a position, but for others it will require persistence and dedication to overcome obstacles and reach a goal.

UROC Campus Programs Pathways to Science National Programs UROC Research Portal

Click the links above to search for research opportunities. 

How Do I Find a Mentor?

Consider your research interests. Don't know what they are? Browse through faculty profiles on department pages and look at their research interests, maybe something they do interests you. You can also browse through research programs and take a look at the faculty involved. This will definitely help narrow your options.  Click here to view current UC Merced Faculty profiles.

I've Done Research, Now What?

Being able to communicate your research is just as important as conducting. You may have presented your work in a journal club or lab meeting, but to further yourself as a scientist, you need to be able to presented to a wide array of scientist, not just those in your field. To do practice this skill, you can attend conferences and symposiums. Click here for more information on presenting your research.