This paper argues that all undergraduate students in all higher education institutions should experience learning through, and about, research and inquiry. In undergraduate research, students learn and are assessed in ways that come as close as possible to the experience of academic staff carrying out their disciplinary research.
Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins were commissioned to do this piece of work by the Higher Education Academy as part of a series looking at the relationship between teaching and research.
They build on their already substantial contribution in this area by focusing on undergraduates' engagement in research and inquiry, and the potential implications of this in a wide variety of HE practice and in a range of contexts (with respect to discipline, institution, and nation). They suggest here a fundamental conceptual shift from the notion of students as a passive audience for the research output of individual academics, to the idea of students as active stakeholders in a research community in which their experience of research within the core curriculum mirrors that of their lecturers.
This study explores key issues around the nature of undergraduate research and inquiry, considers the potential of opportunities for and strategies to support student engagement in research, looks at different national policy approaches to this area, and draws upon extant evidence of impact. The authors provide a range of case studies and exemplars that may be adapted and applied, together with suggestions for further research in this large and important element of students' learning experiences.