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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Publication Details

Using an academic-content seminar to engage students with the culture of research

Author(s): Brent, D.

Citation: Brent, D. (2006). Using an academic-content seminar to engage students with the culture of research. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 18(1), 29-60.



Faculty and administrators at many research-intensive institutions are concerned about effectively introducing students to the research culture that sets research institutions apart from technical and junior colleges. The first-year seminar with academic content might accomplish this objective because it can be focused on students' own research projects. A case study of an academic-content seminar focused on research illustrates how such seminars can promote engagement with research culture. Interviews with students illustrate the gulf that they perceive between their high school research experiences and their university research experiences. Three pedagogical features of research-based first-year seminars emerge as important means of bridging this gulf: (a) repeated exposure to research activities; (b) a term-length research project; and (c) frequent, scheduled one-on-one conferences with the instructor


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