Students at The University of Queensland can immerse themselves in a research project of their choice over the winter break, through the new UQ Winter Research Program.
The program, coordinated by UQ’s Office of Undergraduate Education, gives undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students a chance to gain practical research experience by working on a UQ research project for four to six weeks over the semester break.
Political science and international studies student Lanz de Jesus said undergraduate research experiences helped him develop critical skills and opened up research career pathways.
He spent his 2012 summer holidays in UQ’s Summer Research Program, investigating how the shifting global media landscape influenced contemporary conflicts.
“While I was treasurer for the Responsibility to Protect Student Coalition, fellow members introduced me to OUE’s undergraduate research programs,” Mr de Jesus said.
“I wanted to gain research skills and a better understanding of the research process, so I submitted an application.”
Mr de Jesus was involved in a project with the Global Television Media Laboratory, a unique research facility that allows for the recording of 12 24-hour TV news channels so researchers can monitor and evaluate the television coverage of ongoing world conflicts.
As part of the project, Mr de Jesus and his research partners were involved in fine-tuning the methodological aspects of the research approach, challenging many of their own assumptions about the research process along the way.
“We asked questions such as: how do we run the lab? What kind of information should we draw from the data we have? How can we best and most efficiently draw that information?” he said.
“It opened my eyes to the reality that research isn’t a set, structured thing. It can be a fun experience that involves creativity and the key thing really is the desire to discover.”
Office of Undergraduate Education Director Dr Jessica Gallagher said undergraduate research programs provided an important platform for students to explore research at early stages in their academic and professional lives.
“The Summer and Winter Research Programs give students the opportunity to take advantage of UQ’s research expertise while gaining valuable skills,” she said
“Previous participants have gone on to publish their findings, present at international conferences or pursue research higher degrees after the experience.”
Applications for the Winter Research Program close 9am Monday 29 April 2013.
To find out more about UQ’s undergraduate research programs or to apply for winter research, visit http://www.uq.edu.au/undergraduate/winter-research.
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