Undergraduate Research Valuable to Authors and Readers Alike

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Staff Writer

IU South Bend’s Undergraduate Research Journal and Undergraduate Research Journal of History offer an opportunity for students to explore a subject they’re interested in, get valuable experience, practice self-discipline and share their research with students and faculty of the university.

Joe Eggleston, editor-in-chief of the Undergraduate Research Journal, voiced his thoughts on why it’s important for students to contribute to the journal.

“To me, it shows that a student is kind of serious about what they’re doing,” he said. “If you wanna try to maybe get some feedback, get some peer review on work that you’ve done, this is one of the few places.”

He added that getting published looks great on a resume and shows that a student is willing to go a notch above what they would normally do for a class.

Veronica Cruz, editor-in-chief of the Undergraduate Research Journal of History, had similar thoughts.

“It’s really important for them to put their work out there, because they can put this on their resumes, they can put them on their CVs for grad school or even for a regular job,” she said. “It also shows the type of research that we’re doing here as students.”

Assistant Professor of English Kyoko Takanashi appreciates that students have a way to proudly display their work in these journals.

“This is kind of a little package of all the works, the great things that our students are doing on campus,” Takanashi said. “I think it works as a great promotion for IUSB as a whole, to say ‘Look at all the cool things our students can do!’ I think it’s wonderful.”

Timothy Willig, associate professor of history, said doing undergraduate research and getting it published gives students a taste of what a scholar does. “They’re doing more than just a class that’s an end in itself,” he said. “They think they’re developing that paper but they’re really developing themselves in the process and continuing to improve well beyond the end of a semester. That’s a really major step towards getting them to think in terms of graduate school or anything like that; it’s the type of thing they have to do there.”

Willig added that it instills in students the idea that a writer’s work is never done. “Even when they think they can’t get any better at it, all of a sudden they realize they are improving, and over a course of time that helps them,” he said.

While research submitted to the journals might include results from student-generated experiments, Eggleston assured that what they look for is originality. “Even if you haven’t discovered something brand new, what we really look for is maybe you’ve got a fresh take. Even though we’re undergraduates and we’re not the pros from Dover yet, it’s easily possible for an undergraduate to come up with some fresh view on any subject under the sun.”

That being said, there are still other requirements to be met that determine whether a submission is published. If getting a good grade on a research paper doesn’t convince a student of their prowess, getting it published in one of these journals should do the trick. Only six of the 28 papers submitted to the Undergraduate Research Journal of History made it in this year, and around half of the 30 Undergraduate Research Journal submissions made the cut, according to Eggleston.

“If you have that goal and desire you kind of wonder, well, I got a pretty good grade on this paper, but is it really any good?,” Eggleston said. “Does it stand alone? Does it stack up against other papers in the field in some absolute manner of measuring?” There’s an added benefit from students’ published research that goes beyond a resume boost or a sense of self-worth. It contributes to the academic world and helps others in a given field gain a new perspective.

“It’s not just vanity. It’s useful. Good research, good work, good writing, is still good from fourteen years ago,” Eggleston said. “I mean you can read some of these papers and go ‘God, I didn’t know that. That’s really cool.’”

The URJ is currently looking for a new editor-in-chief for the 2014-2015 school year. Those interested can e-mail journal@iusb.edu.

For more information on the URJ of History visit https://www.iusb.edu/journal-hist/

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