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Undergraduate research experiences (UREs) have the potential to benefit undergraduates and longer UREs have been shown to lead to greater benefits for students. However, no studies have examined what causes students to stay in or consider leaving their UREs. In this study, we examined what factors cause students to stay in their UREs, what factors cause students to consider leaving their UREs, and what factors cause students to leave their UREs. We sampled from 25 research-intensive (R1) public universities across the United States and surveyed 768 life sciences undergraduates who were currently participating in or had previously participated in a URE. Students answered closed-ended and open-ended questions about factors that they perceived influenced their persistence in UREs. We used logistic regression to explore to what extent student demographics predicted what factors influenced students to stay in or consider leaving their UREs. We applied open-coding methods to probe the student-reported reasons why students chose to stay in and leave their UREs. Fifty percent of survey respondents considered leaving their URE, and 53.1% of those students actually left their URE. Students who reported having a positive lab environment and students who indicated enjoying their everyday research tasks were more likely to not consider leaving their UREs. In contrast, students who reported a negative lab environment or that they were not gaining important knowledge or skills were more likely to leave their UREs. Further, we identified that gender, race/ethnicity, college generation status, and GPA predicted which factors influenced students' decisions to persist in their UREs. This research provides important insight into how research mentors can create UREs that undergraduates are willing and able to participate in for as long as possible.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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Component of the NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH. Its mission is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies, and integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care. It was established in 2000.
The narrow tube connecting the YOLK SAC with the midgut of the EMBRYO; persistence of all or part of it in post-fetal life produces abnormalities, of which the commonest is MECKEL DIVERTICULUM.
All of the divisions of the natural sciences dealing with the various aspects of the phenomena of life and vital processes. The concept includes anatomy and physiology, biochemistry and biophysics, and the biology of animals, plants, and microorganisms. It should be differentiated from BIOLOGY, one of its subdivisions, concerned specifically with the origin and life processes of living organisms.
Fields of science encompassing studies and research from the disciplines of PHYSICS; CHEMISTRY; BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; and MATHEMATICS; that are related to the planet EARTH. Subfields include atmospheric chemistry; CLIMATOLOGY; ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; GEOGRAPHY; GEOLOGY; geophysics; METEOROLOGY; OCEANOGRAPHY; PALEONTOLOGY; mineralogy; and seismology.
A branch of applied ethics that studies the value implications of practices and developments in life sciences, medicine, and health care.