UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH EXPERIENCES – THE ART OF COMMUNICATING RESULTS
The practice of introducing undergraduates in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to research activities has been a common practice in the United States, since the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, invited all of its undergraduate students to join the professional research activities of the faculty in 1969 and, more recently, in Europe. Most students relish the laboratory experiences, but are often leery, in fact frightened, by the aspect of presenting their work professionally. In this report the authors compare and contrast processes, strategies and procedures for training students to clearly and confidently communicate their results. Our motivation is to move the discussion to a global level in order to adapt best methodologies for training students in this increasingly global community of science.
For this study, we will present data from both a classroom research experience and a summer research experience. The classroom experience has been held during the last seven years, while the summer research experience is in its fourth year. The classroom experience took place in Spain with Spanish undergraduates while the summer experience was held both in Spain and U.S.A. with American undergraduates. In both cases the students were junior or senior students. We will compare methods for training and strategies for encouraging student success. We will discuss content and format requirements for both oral and poster-type presentations. We will also discuss evaluation and assessment of programs, both internally and externally.