See below for links, tips, and resources that are relevant to undergraduate research at KU amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Our office will update this page as new topics and resources arise. If you have a question that you would like to see addressed on this page, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!
For the most current information about KU's response to the coronavirus outbreak, see the official KU Coronavirus Information page.>>
Last updated: January 19, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions:
A: Yes, undergraduates at KU can still do research right now, it's just that some of the opportunities might look a little different. Some undergraduate research projects can be done remotely, such as students working on large data sets or examining archival sources that can be accessed online.
Other students’ research relies more on a physical presence on campus, such as students working in research labs or those who need access to art studios to do their projects. Depending on the guidelines for each research space on campus, some students are able to be on-campus to do research as long as they adhere to safety guidelines related to COVID-19. Other students working in these types of fields have adjusted their projects to focus on other parts of the research process or analyze data that has already been collected so that they can work remotely.
There are still lots of research opportunities out there, some of them just might look a little different. In some areas, especially lab research, faculty may be less likely to be able to take on new students this academic year; it's a good idea to go ahead and ask, but know that options may be limited until on-campus research is safer to manage. For tips and guidance, visit our getting started page!
- Undergraduate Research Awards: Continuing. Information for Summer/Fall 2021 UGRA applications is posted online.
- Presentation opportunities: We will be hosting an online Undergraduate Research Symposium that will go live at the end of April.
- Travel Awards: While official KU travel is restricted, we will be using Travel Award funds to help students pay for conference registration fees. Many professional conferences have switched to online formats, and some have waived student registration fees. Undergraduate students should talk with their research mentors about possible conferences they could present at, as the online format may actually make presenting at a professional conference more affordable and accessible for undergraduate students this year compared to other years.
- Emerging Scholars Program: Continuing, though students may be doing remote work instead of in-person.
- Computer/Internet access: If you need assistance to access a computer or reliable internet at home so you can carry out your research project remotely, check out this website for resources available to students to borrow laptops or hotspots>>
- KU Virtual Lab: Virtual Lab provides remote access to software commonly available in campus labs. Now you can also use Virtual Lab to directly access computers within specific department and campus public computer labs. For example, engineering students can remotely access computers within the Engineering school computer lab, including the specialized software installed on those machines. Log in at virtuallab.ku.edu and see our section at howto.ku.edu/virtuallab to learn more.
- Proactively communicate: maintaining good communication with your research mentor is always an important part of having a good undergraduate research experience, but it is especially important right now. Be proactive about setting up regular phone calls or Zoom meetings with your mentor to give updates about your research progress and get feedback. Filling out an Undergraduate Research Contract can help to establish clear expectations.
- Guidelines from the Office of Research for undergraduates who will be on-campus to do research during the COVID-19 pandemic>>
- List of online training courses offered by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) office, including those related to COVID-19>>
- Take extra time to set expectations about how to communicate, goals for research, and any additional safety protocols or behavioral expectations that may be necessary for students who are doing research on-campus. Using or adapting the Undergraduate Research Contract through our office is one way to clearly set expectations.
Research in Classes
- Undergraduate Research Symposium: The Center will be hosting our annual Undergraduate Research Symposium online this spring. You can have your students present their research projects virtually, and/or have your students view presentations online as a class assignment or extra credit opportunity. See the website for the most current information.
- Flexible Teaching Guide for 2020-2021 classes (CTE)>>
- KU Libraries instructor support resources>>
Tips for course-based research experiences for the 2020-2021 year:
- Don’t take on too much: clearly identify the research-related learning outcomes you would like to focus on and backwards-design from there. You can use this visual of the Research Cycle and the corresponding learning outcomes (.doc) to generate ideas.
- Students new to research often need more explicit scaffolding of research skills than many faculty realize. If you are teaching an online or hybrid course this year, use the time as an opportunity to create videos, modules, or online activities to build up students’ research skills. You can use them this year, and continue to use them in future semesters for your classes and with undergraduate and graduate students you are mentoring in research.
- Think about what primary data sets you might be able to use to give students hands-on research experiences online. You can design assignments around interview transcripts, archival materials, large data sets, and raw data from experiments in order to give students exposure to the “messy” parts of the research process that facilitate deep learning.