The opportunity to conduct and present research is one of the essential components of graduate education, allowing students to build their resumes, accrue experience, position themselves to pursue doctoral programs, or contribute to knowledge in their fields. Whether they are conducting action research, field research, or archival research, graduate students have opportunities to grow professionally and intellectually through the research they pursue.
Data shows that increasingly employers are identifying research skills among the top ten skills they seek; excellent writing and communication skills are also at the top of the list. Engaging in research during graduate study provides opportunities to develop and demonstrate skills in all these area.
Each discipline conducts research differently, and the methods, tools, and evidence vary in the worlds of the hard sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Despite this diversity of approaches in conducting research, there are certain tools that most every researcher will employ in the process of inventing a research topic, exploring past work on the subject, performing original research, arranging the research results into an appropriate form for sharing with the larger research community, and presenting the finished product.
Graduate research is not complete until the results have been shared–it should never just be filed away in a drawer. There are numerous opportunities to present your research, including discipline-specific conferences in your field of study as well as general undergraduate research conferences held here on campus, as well as at the statewide and regional level.
Several Master’s programs offer the option of writing a thesis. If you are interested in pursuing the thesis option, your first step is to work with your graduate program coordinator to identify a suitable advisor who will work with you to develop your proposal.