Researching with Undergraduates: Strategies and Best Practices

Research collaboration between political science faculty and undergraduate students is often identified as a goal of instructors and departments, but can be difficult to successfully implement. As part of National Undergraduate Research Week (April 17 – April 21, 2023), APSA and Pi Sigma Alpha convened a webinar illuminating best practices, unexpected challenges, and the benefits to supporting undergraduate research. On April 21, 2023 we heard from faculty with decades of combined experience designing and executing undergraduate-faculty research projects, mentoring undergraduate scholars, publishing work with undergraduates, and helping them succeed after graduation.

Pi Sigma Alpha and the American Political Science Association thank the panelists and audience for a successful event.

  • Efrén Pérez, University of California, Los Angeles (Moderator)
  • Kelebogile Zvobgo, College of William & Mary
  • Maruice Mangum, Jackson State University
  • Aaron Sparks, Elon University

Additional Resources

  1. Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics 
  2. International Justice Lab
  3. The UCLA Race, Ethnicity, Politics, & Society (REPS) Lab

Select Research from PS: Political Science and Politics

  1. Zvobgo, K., Pickering, P., Settle, J., & Tierney, M. (2023). Creating New Knowledge with Undergraduate Students: Institutional Incentives and Faculty Agency. PS: Political Science & Politics, 1-7. doi:10.1017/S104909652300001X
  2. Mangum, M. (2023). Collaborating on Research with Undergraduate Students: A Comparative Institutional-Racial Analysis. PS: Political Science & Politics, 56(1), 150-153. doi:10.1017/S1049096522001093
  3. Sullivan, H., & De Bruin, E. (2023). Teaching Undergraduates Research Methods: A “Methods Lab” Approach. PS: Political Science & Politics, 56(2), 309-314. doi:10.1017/S1049096522001366
  4. Velásquez, Z., Esmail, J., Stoltz, H., Turkmen, F., Kuffuor, O., Burnett, J., . . . Dionne, K. (2023). Undergraduates and Political Science Research: Insights from Research Assistants in a Minority-Serving Institution Lab. PS: Political Science & Politics, 1-6. doi:10.1017/S1049096523000215
  5. Bang Jensen, B., Bresee, B., Dreier, S., Farrokhi, R., Gade, E., Jeffers, W., . . . Villa, D. (2023). The Lab as a Classroom: Advancing Faculty Research Through Undergraduate Experiential Education. PS: Political Science & Politics, 1-8. doi:10.1017/S1049096523000033
  6. Mueller, L. (2023). Accidental Scientists: How Undergraduate Research in Political Science Can Help to Patch the “Leaky Pipeline” in STEM Education. PS: Political Science & Politics, 1-6. doi:10.1017/S1049096522001263
  7. Nonnemacher, J., & Sokhey, S. (2022). Learning by Doing: Using an Undergraduate Research Lab to Promote Diversity and Inclusion. PS: Political Science & Politics, 55(2), 413-418. doi:10.1017/S1049096521001633
  8. Becker, M., Graham, B., & Zvobgo, K. (2021). The Stewardship Model: An Inclusive Approach to Undergraduate Research. PS: Political Science & Politics, 54(1), 158-162. doi:10.1017/S1049096520001043
  9. Wilson, S., & Herrera, Y. (2019). Teaching Computerized Content Analysis for Undergraduate Research Papers. PS: Political Science & Politics, 52(3), 536-542. doi:10.1017/S104909651900026X
  10. Knoll, B. (2016). Learning by Doing: Mentoring Group-Based Undergraduate Research Projects in an Upper-Level Political Science Course. PS: Political Science & Politics, 49(1), 128-131. doi:10.1017/S1049096515001146
  11. Elman, C., Kapiszewski, D., & Kirilova, D. (2015). Learning through Research: Using Data to Train Undergraduates in Qualitative Methods. PS: Political Science & Politics, 48(1), 39-43. doi:10.1017/S1049096514001577
  12. Druckman, J. (2015). Merging Research and Undergraduate Teaching in Political Behavior Research. PS: Political Science & Politics, 48(1), 53-57. doi:10.1017/S1049096514001607
  13. Huerta, J. (2015). Challenges to, and Suggestions for, Merging Research and Teaching in Undergraduate Regional Public Universities. PS: Political Science & Politics, 48(1), 58-60. doi:10.1017/S1049096514001619

Select Research from the Journal of Political Science Education

  1. Claire Timperley, Isabel Doudney & Rita Shasha (2022) Publishing as Pedagogy: Creating a Peer Reviewed Class Journal, Journal of Political Science Education, DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2022.2143366
  2. Aaron C. Weinschenk (2021) Creating and Implementing an Undergraduate Research Lab in Political Science, Journal of Political Science Education, 17:1, 284-296, DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2020.1795873
  3. Ian G. Anson (2021) Goal Orientation in Political Science Research Instruction, Journal of Political Science Education, 17:1, 403-420, DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2020.1791144
  4. Megan Becker (2020) Importing the Laboratory Model to the Social Sciences: Prospects for Improving Mentoring of Undergraduate Researchers, Journal of Political Science Education, 16:2, 212-224, DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2018.1505523
  5. Rebecca A. Glazier & Warigia M. Bowman (2021) Teaching Through Community-Based Research: Undergraduate and Graduate Collaboration on the 2016 Little Rock Congregations Study, Journal of Political Science Education, 17:2, 234-252, DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2019.1629299
  6. Matthew Schuster (2018) Undergraduate Research at Two-Year Community Colleges, Journal of Political Science Education, 14:2, 276-280, DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2017.1411273
  7. John Ishiyama (2021) What Kinds of Departments Promote Undergraduate Research in Political Science?, Journal of Political Science Education, 17:3, 371-384, DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2019.1667242
  8. Darrell Lovell (2019) Promoting Original Research: Designing a Course to Produce Quality Undergraduate Political Science Research in the Community College Setting, Journal of Political Science Education, 15:3, 392-398, DOI: 10.1080/15512169.2018.1487304

Browse all of APSA’s Teaching & Learning webinars

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