The Purdue Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) developed and offers a first-of-its-kind online curriculum for both prospective and current undergraduate researchers. This course series delivers a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary view of research and creative endeavors that no other university offers. One major theme across this four course curriculum is the value of effective data-supported communication to various audiences.
Two of these courses—intended for current researchers—focus on communicating a student’s research project and data to general, educated audiences, as well as to field experts. While participating in these courses, students strengthen their abilities to convey concisely and effectively to these diverse audiences how their data support a research project’s significant findings. Student researchers learn to connect their conclusions with their project data, to create data visualization components to convey the meaning of their results, and to draw in the listeners for maximum engagement during brief interactions.
These courses address writing a research abstract, constructing an oral research pitch, and building on communication skills through the development and presentation of a research poster with effective use of static visual and textual representations of a project’s background, methods, results, and conclusions. Both courses use iterations of these assignments for students to apply peer and instructor feedback to their final products. Ultimately, these project assignments create usable content, such as an abstract and research poster for conferences and research pitches for professional exchanges. It is inspiring to observe these student researchers contemplate the next steps and broader impacts of their research projects as they learn more about their fields and the knowledge gaps they can pursue in the future.
The Office of Undergraduate Research’s mission is to serve as a central resource to promote and expand experiential learning for undergraduate students through research experiences with skilled research mentors. Learn more about the online course series that includes a course for those who want to get started in undergraduate research and those interested in graduate/professional school programs at http://www.purdue.edu/undergrad-research.