Remote Student Research Experiences

For Student Researchers

Successful remote research requires time management, research planning, and effective communication with faculty and research mentors. This section provides information, tips, best practices, and resources for students who are beginning new remote research experiences or continuing existing projects remotely.

In advance of beginning (or continuing) your remote research, you should confirm who your research project mentors are and their preferred remote contact information, including their email addresses and virtual meeting platform (i.e., Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, etc.). You should also know who the support staff are, along with their contact information, for any research program and funding source affiliation.

Research mentors, staff, and funders are guiding and supporting your remote research experience, but you will be accountable for adapting to the remote research environment. We hope the information and strategies provided here will assist your remote research productivity and development over the research period. For more information on responsible research and best practices or for research resources available, please refer to the other pages on this site.

Time Management and Research Planning

Research Schedule

Setting a structured but flexible schedule will be vital to the success of your remote research experience. You will want to review your research project or program timeline and expectations to assist with your schedule planning. You will need to consider:

  • If applicable, what are your research period start and end dates?
  • Are you required to research full-time or part-time?
  • Do you have an hourly work expectation?
  • Do you have other competing obligations with summer classes, employment, personal or familial needs, etc.?

It is encouraged to devote blocks of time to your remote research to focus on the research for increased productivity. Besides actual research time, you will also need to factor in these research expectations to your schedule:

  • Regular meetings with research mentors, including preparation for meetings
  • Program and/or research group meetings
  • Time for weekly (and/or daily) research task note-taking and wrap-up
  • Any requested research progress updates or experience surveys
  • Final research presentation or output expectations

Research Plan

Creating and following a research plan under the guidance of your research mentor(s) is necessary for any research experience, but especially important in the remote research environment. In starting your research experience:

  • Inquire about a remote orientation or any remote training in which you can or need to participate.
  • Consult with your research mentor(s) to develop or review your research project aims, working timeline, and summer benchmarks.
  • Establish a regular meeting schedule in partnership with your research mentors. You may want to meet virtually more frequently as you begin and end your research experience.
  • Discuss secure ways to store and share your research data and progress with your research mentor(s)

Remember that your research plan may need to flex or adapt to your research progress or development. Revisit your research progress and continued plan with research mentor(s) during your regular meetings with them. Throughout yourresearch, you will want to keep focus on, and in communication about, any expected research outputs, whether that be a research abstract, paper, presentation, etc. You want to make steady progress towards any end goals and feel prepared and confident to meet your remote research expectations.

Finalizing and Advancing your Summer Research Projects

Your research project and experience may culminate with an expected research output of a paper or virtual presentation. You should prepare and plan to communicate your research whether you are required to complete a final product or not.  We encourage you to build your research communications skills and knowledge about publication and presentation opportunities by:

  • Seeking workshops and resources on enhancing written and oral research communications skills
  • Asking your research mentor(s), program staff, and peers to review your written materials and to virtually practice your research talks
  • Inviting and receiving constructive feedback on your written materials and oral presentations
  • Discussing current or future publication and conference opportunities with your research mentor(s)
  • Reviewing the College Center for Research and Fellowships website for undergraduate research publications/journals
  • Investigating local, national and international Undergraduate Research Presentation Opportunities on the College Center for Research and Fellowships website

If you want to continue to pursue research, you should discuss opportunities to do so with your research mentor(s) or future research mentor(s). You will also want to consider ways to secure and fund your future research activities and can start to search for Research Grant and Scholars Programs on the College Center for Research and Fellowships website.

Making the Most of your Research Experience

You are encouraged to make the most of your remote research experience to enhance your research skills, development, growth and community. More specifically, you are advised to:

  • Commit fully to the research project/program
    • You should be engaged throughout and attend all remote research events/activities (even if they are optional)
    • You can attend virtual campus events, workshops, seminars, talks, etc.
  • Try to Network virtually
    • Seek to develop relationships with other researchers in your research program or group through requested virtual meetings
  • Secure valuable Recommendations by:
    • Requesting an exit meeting with your research mentor(s) to discuss research outcomes and future goals
    • Planning to keep in touch with your research mentor(s) and program staff
    • Discussing ways to stay engaged in the research if mutually desirable
  • Remember to be responsive to research or feedback surveys that your research mentor(s), program staff, or funders ask you to complete.
  • Do not forget to thank your research mentors, staff and funders!

Effective Communication

Faculty and Research Mentors

Communication is key to effective research and remote work with Faculty and Research Mentors. As part of your remote research strategy, ensure that you have established clear communication channels with your research mentor(s) and regular research check-ins. You are encouraged to maximize your regular remote meetings with research mentors by:

  • Being on time and remembering to log-in for remote meetings a few minutes early to account for any technology issues
  • Coming prepared to meetings with research updates and questions
  • Create meeting agendas to cover topics within set meeting times
  • Asking for feedback and guidance for next steps in your research
  • Be sure to act on research mentor advice and follow-up on suggestions during the next regular meeting
  • Setting-up a secure online box or shared google site for shared research data and information
  • If applicable, discussing intellectual property for your remote research experience
  • Evaluating and reflecting on your research experience throughout the summer
  • Openly discussing any roadblocks or difficulties you may be experiencing with your research

It is extremely important that you are responsive to your research mentors and any program staff/funders. You will want to respond thoughtfully and respectfully in a timely manner during the entire summer period and beyond as discussed/relevant.

Communicate any concerns or issues you have as they arise about your research experience with the appropriate contact(s).

If permitted to return to on-campus research, communicate with your research mentor(s) and program staff/funders on what that means for you and how you can best follow institutional policies around research resumption.

Campus Resources

Communicating with other Campus Resources during your remote research experience may be beneficial for you. You are encouraged to:

  • Contact and work with your research and subject librarians
  • Utilize the resources available through the College Center for Research and Fellowships (undergraduates)
  • Reach out to a campus trusted advisor if you are having difficulties or challenges you want to discuss during your remote research experience

Communicating with Peers

Your peers are a valuable resource as you pursue your research remotely.  Consider scheduling check-ins with your peer group to support each other and to build your virtual research community.