Undergraduate research experiences support science career decisions and active learning

CBE Life Sci Educ. Winter 2007;6(4):297-306. doi: 10.1187/cbe.07-06-0039.


The present study examined the reliability of student evaluations of summer undergraduate research experiences using the SURE (Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences) and a follow-up survey disseminated 9 mo later. The survey further examines the hypothesis that undergraduate research enhances the educational experience of science undergraduates, attracts and retains talented students to careers in science, and acts as a pathway for minority students into science careers. Undergraduates participated in an online survey on the benefits of undergraduate research experiences. Participants indicated gains on 20 potential benefits and reported on career plans. Most of the participants began or continued to plan for postgraduate education in the sciences. A small group of students who discontinued their plans for postgraduate science education reported significantly lower gains than continuing students. Women and men reported similar levels of benefits and similar patterns of career plans. Undergraduate researchers from underrepresented groups reported higher learning gains than comparison students. The results replicated previously reported data from this survey. The follow-up survey indicated that students reported gains in independence, intrinsic motivation to learn, and active participation in courses taken after the summer undergraduate research experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice*
  • Education*
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Personnel / education*
  • Research Personnel / psychology*
  • Science / education*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Teaching / methods
  • Universities*