Reviews of The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research: Success in and Beyond College

We are very grateful to the reviewers of The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research: Success in and Beyond College:

“I am delighted to endorse The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research.  The Guide goes well beyond the usual “how to” approaches, even ones that would seek to be comprehensive.  The book is more like a crucial and extended advising session with a set of seasoned or “favorite” professors who take the measure of the whole student and embed the traditional idea or treatment of undergraduate research as a discrete “project” into a compelling discourse about research as a window into an overall education; a kind of extended meditation on the relationship between academic goal-setting and the building of a good life.

The notion of acquiring “skills” and preparing for the job market is of course an important part of that but what I love about the book is the broader, humanistic conversation about how pursuing research becomes a window into how one becomes a supremely informed and critical citizen and member of a community, whether that is an academic community or a very different one. The professorial voice of advice is deeply personal in an almost disarming way and certainly serves to demystify so much about how faculty think and operate with students in the area of undergraduate research.  This functions to very effectively draw students in.

My sense is that the book succeeds especially well in passing on all the social capital students would need to do research and in the process to navigate their entire academic institution.  The book teaches students how to become competent researchers but also how to clarify long term goals of various kinds and to become successful persons. Again, the voice is that of a caring but direct advisor and coach who never speaks down to students but communicates an infectious enthusiasm for all things related to doing serious academic inquiry. This voice is uniquely successful among other “guides.”

The chapter on student identities is one of the best discussions I’ve read about personal and political identity formation in the context of the academy for underrepresented students.  The summary of extant research is very useful not only to students but to those who are typically their academic and co curricular advisors, including faculty.”

Armando I. Bengochea, PhD, Program Officer and Director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

“Authored by three dynamic undergraduate research practitioners and leaders at Virginia’s The College of William & Mary an institution with a long history of engagement in undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry, this book fills an important niche in the growing literature on undergraduate research development. The vibrant and engaging narrative deftly combines down-to-earth advice to undergraduate students, a highly interactive writing style that emphasizes active reader engagement and self-assessment, and a thorough grounding in the peer-reviewed literature on undergraduate research’s impacts on student achievement. Although the book is directed primarily at next-generation undergraduate researchers in diverse higher education settings across the United States, it is a rich resource for a much wider audience. Faculty mentors and administrative leaders who rightly aspire to be effective sponsors and supporters of students from diverse backgrounds, particularly students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education, should definitely acquire this resource. Likewise, scholars researching higher education’s evolution and expansion of mission to incorporate undergraduate research as a right, not a privilege, in undergraduate education, would do well to consider the book’s messages of empowerment and agency for all students, as they mature into self-directed scholars.

The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research provides a contemporary, inviting, and invigorating vision of steps in the journey to become a researcher, and the cumulative impact of undergraduate research on professional and personal success. It’s important to note that this book could not have been written even a decade ago: part of its power comes from the fact that the three authors experienced undergraduate research in their own student days, are currently serving as undergraduate research mentors, and with this valuable and accessible publication, are asserting their rightful place in the academy as influential thought leaders and researchers.”

Elizabeth L. Ambos
Executive Officer
Council on Undergraduate Research

“The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research is a must read for every college student. It provides a roadmap for success as a researcher, a scholar, and a learner. This practical guide will empower students as they develop agency.”

Tia Brown McNair, Ed.D., Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Student Success at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities

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