Evaluating the long-term benefits of participation in an extra-curricular undergraduate research conference

Researcher: Dr Chris Little

Institution: Keele University

Research Year: 2020

Project aims:

This project sought to ascertain if a non-assessed, extra-curricular undergraduate research conference had any long term positive impacts on the students that participated in it. The first undergraduate conference at Keele, held in 2016, was non-assessed, was not credit-bearing and took place after the academic year had ended. The conference received extremely positive evaluative data in the weeks following the conference. This project uses an action research approach to evidence impact upon student practices one year after the 2016 conference event. Data was collected via anonymous questionnaires and focus groups in order to identify and explore emergent themes. This project has found that this undergraduate research conference has led to reported developments in transferable skills, their criticality and relationship with ‘research as a concept and resource, and that it has made them more likely to engage in other extracurricular activities as a result of these increased skill and confidence levels.