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Steps in the Research Process

Want to get involved in research but unsure where to start? The step-by-step process outlined below tells you everything you need to know about beginning a research project through EFSC's Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR).

  1. Fill out the Research Student Form. An OUR staff member will email you to get you started, and pair you with a Research Mentor at EFSC.

  2. Your Research Mentor will contact you to set up an initial meeting, where you can discuss your shared research interests. Together, you will fill out the Student/Mentor Research Agreement (PDF) and submit it to the OUR.

  3. It's time to find out what research already exists on your topic, what other researchers have found, and how they found it! You'll start by writing a literature review of relevant peer-reviewed journal articles. Google Scholar is a great resource for this, as it lets you search scholarly literature by keyword, author, publication date, and more. You can also search EFSC's Library Research Guides by discipline to see what journals the college subscribes to. The library also has helpful citation guides — and you can always ask a librarian for help.

  4. Create a research proposal. Your research proposal will minimally include your literature review along with citations, a hypothesis, an experimental design, a budget, and a timeline. Your Research Mentor will help guide you through this process.

  5. Be sure to fill out any required paperwork. If you're involving vertebrates in your research, you and your Research Mentor will need to work with EFSC's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). If you're involving humans, such as conducting interviews, you and your Research Mentor must submit paperwork to EFSC's Institutional Review Board for approval, who will consider the ethics of your proposed research. Alongside your Research Mentor, you may also apply for funding from the OUR and/or from outside sources with assistance from EFSC's Grants Development Office.

  6. With the approval and supervision of your Research Mentor, conduct your research, then analyze your research data! EFSC students have free access to Microsoft 365 applications to help support this process.

  7. Present your research as a poster, talk, or written publication. EFSC holds an Undergraduate Research Exhibition (URE) at the end of every term, and the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC) is held every February. Ask your Research Mentor about opportunities to present at other state, national, and international conferences in your discipline as well. You can also consider publishing your research in a journal (such the Florida Undergraduate Research Journal) or other publication. EFSC's Writing Centers are available to help you revise your writing for a poster, talk, or article.

  8. Never stop researching! Once you get a taste of research, you'll want to continue exploring additional research questions. The OUR is always happy to help you with this process.