Kinds of Research

Arts and Performance

In disciplines such as art, theatre, dance and music, research may blend the search for answers with creative work. Students may create and/or analyze art, such as a painting, a dance routine or a musical piece. Exhibits and performances as well as the artist statements and exhibition catalogues that accompany them are good examples of what research looks like in the arts. Increasingly, scholars are using technology to augment what is sometimes called “practice-based” research.


In disciplines such as communication studies, English, modern languages, philosophy and religion, students may conduct archival research or an analysis of a series of “texts” in order to understand the human experience. These “texts” may be written texts such as novels, memoirs or historical documents, but may also include films, advertisements and other media. The result of such research can be a poster or paper, or it could incorporate technology as a multi-media project.

Social Sciences

In disciplines such as anthropology, criminology, geography, history, political science, psychology and sociology, students may use quantitative (numerical data) or qualitative data (textual data) to understand a social problem or phenomenon. Students often relate their results through a poster, but the data they collect can also be shared with the public.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

In disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and nursing, students may engage in experimentation in a lab or work with theories to explain questions that arise in relation to the physical world.

Business and Economics

In disciplines such as accounting, economics, finance, management and marketing, undergraduate research provides opportunities to engage in the identification of problems, implementation of solutions and communication to stakeholders through hands-on experiences that resonate with potential employers. Students can apply what they learn in classes to real-world businesses through writing their own business cases and plans and conducting market analyses on actual businesses.

Education and Human Services

In disciplines such as  education and special education, social work, communication sciences and disorders, athletic training, and kinesiology, students can implement “evidence-based practice” by designing and implementing their own studies and write their own policy-analysis papers which can be shared with community stakeholders and result in social change


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