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Is exploratory research frequently assigned to undergrads?

  1. Jun 28, 2010 #1


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    Is "exploratory research" frequently assigned to undergrads?

    I've hypothesized that professors always appreciate free labor since it can lead to “exploratory projects”. Exploratory projects tend to be higher risk (although it can lead to potentially unexpected insights) and professor time is important so it’s “safer” for professors to assign exploratory project work to undergrads, especially since undergrads can benefit most from the exploratory projects. Furthermore, perhaps undergrads also have a higher chance of "dropping out of research", so an undergrad who "drops out" does not halt the progress of a project that depends on the efforts of many individuals.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2010 #2
    Re: Is "exploratory research" frequently assigned to undergrads?

    No, the boring gruntwork that needs to be done but takes too much time for the reward is given to undergrads.
  4. Jun 28, 2010 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    Re: Is "exploratory research" frequently assigned to undergrads?

    I would not give exploratory projects to an undergraduate unless it was very carefully delineated. This is because exploratory projects, by definition, require some expertise to be successful.

    The research projects I give undergrads are very specific: there is a well defined end product, and only one or two techniques are required.
  5. Jun 28, 2010 #4
    Re: Is "exploratory research" frequently assigned to undergrads?

    This or at best, you'd be assigned like one specific task that is interesting but takes a while to accomplish (like a few months of work).
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