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What do Students Learn from Participation in an Undergraduate Research Journal? Results of an Assessment


Sharon Weiner ,

Purdue University Libraries 504 W. State Street West Lafayette, IN 47907-2058
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Charles Watkinson

Director, Purdue University Press and Head, Scholarly Publishing Services, Purdue University Libraries
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INTRODUCTION Undergraduate research journals provide students with an opportunity to disseminate their work while learning about the scholarly publishing process. The opportunities to learn about scholarly communication have been demonstrated, but such journals also offer a means of helping students attain necessary information literacy competencies. By partnering in the publication of undergraduate journals, libraries can further strategic goals related to information literacy and establish a connection between library publishing and student success. This paper reports on an assessment of the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research (JPUR) that was designed to evaluate student learning outcomes and demonstrate connections between journal participation and student success. METHODS The assessment plan included all student and faculty stakeholder groups. Online surveys were distributed to primary stakeholder groups annually for three years; students who attended workshops were asked to complete evaluations; and web metrics were collected. RESULTS The findings indicated that students experienced gains in learning as a result of writing an article, writing a research snapshot, or mentoring a student author. Because of their involvement with JPUR, student authors intended to publish articles in the future. JPUR influenced career decisions. Faculty were motivated to continue to act as mentors for undergraduate research. DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION The assessment showed that student authors benefitted from experiencing the full spectrum of the scholarly publishing process. Notably, students gained knowledge of important information literacy concepts. These learning gains and the demonstrated influence of JPUR on student career and scholarly aspirations clearly show that publication of an undergraduate research journal supports university priorities for student success as well as the Libraries’ strategic priorities of information literacy and scholarly communication. It is recommended that other institutions that are publishing undergraduate journals undertake similar assessments, which will further establish the value of such publications.
Volume: 2,  Issue: 2
Published on 31 Mar 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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