Owning the Experience

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Science  28 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6178, pp. 1405-1407
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6178.1405-d

An essential component of a successful undergraduate research experience is project ownership. Currently, measurements of project ownership take place on a project-based level at individual institutions, with no real protocol for standardization or the integration of data into a larger database. Hanauer and Dolan address this issue with the development of the Project Ownership survey (POS). Three main components—specification of the undergraduate research experience, assessment of degrees of project ownership, and emotive scales—form the basis of the Web-based POS. Fully analyzed to determine its dimensionality, reliability, and validity, the 16-item POS showed high internal consistency and was able to differentiate between students who studied in traditional versus research-based laboratory courses, making it a valuable tool that can be used to further assess the features of an undergraduate research experience that may encourage students to pursue a degree in science. Furthermore, wide use of the POS may enable the scientific community to characterize the broad range of research experiences taking place across institutions, allowing for the identification and proliferation of successful features of undergraduate research experiences that enhance project ownership.

CBE Life Sci. Educ. 13, 149 (2014).

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