Past Studies

The 2019-20 Student Affairs Undergraduate Research Team conducted a qualitative coding exercise utilizing open-ended responses to a survey item included in the spring 2019 SMU administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement. 

Ben Woods

First-year, Theatre Major


"Through this Internship, I want to learn how I can become a more efficient researcher. My background as a minority from the north will contribute much in a research study intended to improve the experiences of other students, and perhaps particularly those of underrepresented or underserved population on this campus."

Cole Fontenot

Sophomore, History Major


"Through this experience, I hope to gain knowledge of classical and empirical research methods in the social sciences with the added holistic perspective of what it takes to identify a problem, gathering information about the problem, and eventually compiling all of that information into a well-thought out response to the initial inquiry."

Kish Parikh

Sophomore, Business and Psychology Major


"I have always searched for meaningful work to do that will not just help me grow as a person and leader but will help those around me be happier and healthier. This opportunity is the perfect environment to do what I love, but more importantly to learn new skills and ways to help people."

Tara Greig

Junior, Mathematics and Statistical Science Major


"In past classes, I have worked on research-like projects, but nothing compared to the scope of a year-long study with fellow researchers. With a project this large, I hope to refine my skills in research methods and am excited to gain the experience of working on a research team, in a collaborative environment, where we’re all focused on achieving something that none of us could do on our own."


This interdisciplinary research team will identify a phenomenon of interest related to student experiences on a college campus, articulate the associated problem statement, develop research/assessment questions, and select a research method to answer those questions. These methods may include large-scale surveys, interviews, observation, artifact analysis, and the use of existing data. The team will then analyze the results and provide findings, strategies, and recommendations to the Division, as well as to specific Student Affairs departments for whom the findings are especially pertinent. The research/assessment project should be conceptualized in relation to the objectives and learning domains presented in the Student Affairs Strategic Plan, Cultivating Courageous Change. The internship experience will culminate with students preparing and presenting their report to Student Affairs leadership. Throughout the year, students also have the opportunity to participate in other research and assessment work outside of their target project. It is intended that members of the research team will also have the opportunity to deliver a conference presentation and/or gain publication opportunities through the project.

Intended Student Outcomes

This internship is intended to develop and strengthen students’ research and assessment skills within the scope of applied, social science research. Throughout the program, research team members will:

  • learn the foundations of research and assessment;
  • gain familiarity with measures and methods used in assessment;
  • draft professional assessment reports, as well as recommendations for action; and
  • engage in professional development opportunities intended to support their future academic and professional endeavors.
The Student Affairs Undergraduate Research Team represents a partnership between the Division of Student Affairs and the Center for Engaged Learning. Team members' participation in this program constitutes an Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship.