Alumni perceptions used to assess undergraduate research experienceThe Journal of Higher Education, 74 , 210-230. doi: 10.1353/jhe.2003.0011
Past studies have examined current students’ perceptions of UR. These authors asked University of Delaware alumni about their participation in a number of campus activities, including UR. They were asked to rate whether their skills were enhanced because of their undergraduate degree on 32 items (e.g., write effectively, use statistics or math formulas, carry out research, maintain openness to new ideas, etc.). Some participants had participated in the university’s formal UR program (URP alumni), some stated they had engaged in UR but were not in the formal program (self-reported UR), and some had not engaged in UR (non-research alumni). URP alumni reported the most benefits from engaging in UR when compared to the other two groups, particularly for those who had completed a senior thesis. Both research groups stated that they were better able to carry out research than the non-research alumni group, with the highest scores from the URP alumni. URP alumni also scored higher than non-research alumni on other skills like intellectual curiosity, acquiring information independently, acting as a leader, and speaking effectively. For all alumni who engaged in research, those who participated for longer expressed greater benefit from the experience. UR had clear benefits for students as measured by their attitudes and self-reported skills.