Examining the Mentoring of Undergraduates Engaged in Science Research: An Empirical Study of Undergraduate-postgraduate-faculty Triads

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

This is an empirical study to examine the triadic mentoring relationship among undergraduates, graduate / postdoctoral researchers, and faculty engaged in life science research. The study aims to address the following research questions:

  1. What mentoring structures are observed in undergraduate research experiences at research universities, in terms of the strength and function of relationships within the undergraduate-postgraduate-faculty triad?
  2. How do different mentoring structures relate to the cognitive, behavioral, and affective outcomes undergraduates realize from participating in research?
  3. Do undergraduates who are women or underrepresented minorities experience different mentoring structures or realize outcomes differentially in comparison to majority students?
Setting: 

The study will be conducted at University of Georgia and will include a national sample of undergraduate researchers, their graduate / postdoctoral research mentors, and faculty heads of research groups at doctoral degree granting institutions, including minority serving institutions.

Research Design: 

The project uses a cross-sectional and comparative research design and will generate evidence that is associative/correlational [quasi-experimental] and causal [quasi-experimental]. Original data are being collected using survey research [self-completion questionnaire] on undergraduates who are mentored in life science research by graduate or postdoctoral researchers. Mentoring by graduate / postdoctoral researchers will be evaluated by comparing the strength and function of mentoring relationships within the undergraduate-graduate/postdoctoral-faculty mentoring triad. Instruments include measures of mentoring relationship strength, function, and quality and measures of undergraduate research outcomes, including cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes. Data will be analyzed using moderated regression and relative weights analysis.

Findings: 

Findings will be posted as they become available.