Undergraduate research : a source for faculty publications?
Panko, Mary; Singh, Niranjan
Citation:Panko M., Singh, N. (2014). Undergraduate research : a source for faculty publications? (Unitec ePress occasional and discussion paper series ; 2014/1.) Auckland, New Zealand : Unitec ePress. ISBN 9781927214107. Retrieved from http://www.unitec.ac.nz/epress
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2425
Over the last two decades undergraduate students have been encouraged to problem solve in ‘the real world’ in order to construct their own subject knowledge. This generally means that students are required to carry out research in their disciplines, a process which inevitably leads to the production of quantities of data. Once their findings are reported back to faculty and have been graded, they are largely ignored, as they are ‘only’ the product of undergraduate research. However, since 2000 there has been a move to bring this type of work into the open through undergraduate research conferences in order to benefit both the students and their institutions. Nevertheless, except for a few publications within medical teaching, faculty themselves have not widely used this data for their own research, perhaps fearing its potential lack of authenticity or credibility. This paper explores a case study to examine the validity and reliability of students’ findings and considers whether the observations obtained by students can or should be made into academic publications by staff. This study comprised four cohorts, totaling 109 second-year undergraduate automotive students, who had made repeat visits to a number of automotive workshops and reviewed the workshops’ activities with a particular focus on customer service, health and safety, and waste management. Analysis of the top 25% of students’ reports revealed that a number of compliance failures were appearing on such a regular basis that these findings should be brought to the attention of the automotive industry. The paper concludes with a recommendation that under carefully controlled conditions, academics should draw on this hitherto ignored seam of research data.