Creating More Inclusive Research Environments for Undergraduates

Main Article Content

Heather Haeger
Corin White
Shantel Martinez
Selena Velasquez


Although there are numerous evidence-based benefits to undergraduate research for new-majority students (students who are from traditionally underrepresented ethnicities, first-generation college students, students from lower-income families, or transfer students) (Hurtado, S. et al., 2011; Kinzie et al., 2008a; Lopatto, 2007), they are less likely to participate or stay in mentored research experiences (Finley & McNair, 2013; Haeger et al., 2015). In order to determine not only who has access to undergraduate research, but to also identify what barriers to full-inclusion exist for new-majority students, we conducted a mixed methods study at a public, Hispanic Serving Institution. We analyzed institutional data to explore who participates in research and who does not. We also specifically sampled a group of students who expressed an interest in research experiences but who never actually participated for our student survey (N=96). Additionally, we conducted five focus groups with students, staff, and faculty (N~30). We found positive results in the analysis of patterns of participation and found no significant or substantial differences between students who did or did not participate in undergraduate research in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, or first-generation status. The undergraduate researcher population did have significantly more STEM majors and Pell grant recipients. The qualitative analysis identified barriers to participation in research in the following areas: access to research opportunities, programmatic structures, research culture and norms, and campus climate. We present these findings along with descriptions of initiatives that have been successful in diversifying research participation and strategies to create more inclusive research environments.


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How to Cite
Haeger, H., White, C., Martinez, S., & Velasquez, S. (2021). Creating More Inclusive Research Environments for Undergraduates. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 21(1).
Author Biographies

Corin White, California State University, Monterey Bay

Curriculum Associate
Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center

Shantel Martinez, California State University, Monterey Bay

Assistant Director
Otter Student Union

Selena Velasquez, California State University, Monterey Bay

McNair Scholar

Undergradate Resercher