Kindling Research Interest in Undergraduate Business Students: Beyond Superficial Pragmatism

Kindling Research Interest in Undergraduate Business Students: Beyond Superficial Pragmatism

David Starr-Glass (University of New York in Prague, Czech Republic & SUNY Empire State College – Prague, Czech Republic)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5345-9.ch037
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Undergraduate Research Experiences (UREs) provide a means of encouraging, engaging, and supporting students in the co-production of relevant and legitimate knowledge. Research-centered experiences can be designed as capstones at the conclusion of the undergraduate degree, integrated into single courses or sequence of interrelated courses, or form an element of internships, community-based projects, service-learning experiences, and practicums. UREs have a high impact on student engagement and learning, and can serve as vehicles for establishing the student's distinctive personal signature on his or her learning. However, despite their value, UREs are underutilized in business education. This chapter explores some of the reasons for this, suggests ways through which undergraduates might be introduced to research, and argues that an involvement in relevant scholarly endeavor plays a significant part in the future success of business graduates.
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In U.S. higher education—and particularly at research-focused universities—a tension has always existed between the extent to which institutions should emphasize the research or the teaching efforts of their faculty. Linked to the falling quality of undergraduate experiences and learning outcomes, the Boyer Commission’s (1998) challenged research universities to re-invent themselves by including all students in research-driven undergraduate teaching, arguing that “the basic idea of learning as inquiry is the same as the idea of research; even though advanced research occurs at advanced levels, undergraduates beginning in the freshman year can learn through research” (p. 17). The report recommended that universities should form “a synergistic system in which faculty and students are learners and researchers, whose interactions make for a healthy and flourishing intellectual atmosphere” (p. 11).

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