How to Begin

Learn how to begin your research journey by reviewing the following preparation and planning questions. Once you are ready to apply, you'll find application guidelines and forms on each respective program's Web page. Application deadlines for all programs may be found here.

1. What is a research project?

A research project identifies and defines a specific problem, theme, issue, or question. To conduct research, you will need an idea of what is already known about your topic and what resources/sources are required to meet your project's objectives. To complete your research successfully, you will also need to determine what theories, approaches, methodologies, modes of analysis, or aesthetic standards will enable you to arrive at reliable and insightful results.

2. What research does the Hamel Center support?

The Hamel Center supports research, scholarly, and creative projects in all fields of study at the University. Students may pursue a topic of their own devising with the guidance and supervision of a faculty mentor, or they may participate in a faculty member's own research. The kinds of activities in which faculty members engage to contribute to the advancement of their discipline, can serve as a model for the type of project that you undertake, whether it be in the laboratory, the library, in the field, or in the studio or theatre.

3.How do I figure out what my research interests are?

  • Think about what courses you have taken that you really enjoyed.
  • Ask yourself what questions or problems in your field particularly interest you.
  • Talk to a favorite professor about his/her research, scholarly, or creative activities.
  • Seek advice from your academic advisor.
  • Check out the descriptions of faculty research at your department's website. 
  • Select courses that will help you define your interests.
  • Meet with a reference librarian for a one-on-one session to learn more about how to explore what has already been done in an area of interest to you.

4. How do I prepare myself for research in my field?

  • Take a research-intensive course.
    Your academic adviser can help you to decide which course(s) would be appropriate for your academic plan. An excellent choice for students of all majors is INCO 590: Student Research Experience. This variable credit course will give you the skills and confidence you need to embark on an independent research project. Learn more about INCO 590.
  • Speak with your favorite professor.
    We encourage you to touch base with your favorite professor to learn about his or her research interests and the best ways to pursue a research project in your discipline. You may be able to participate in a research project that is already ongoing, or to develop your own topic.
  • Attend a proposal-writing workshop.
    Proposal writing workshops help you craft your proposal, a required step in applying for research funds and grants. See when the next proposal writing workshop takes place.
  • Come see us at the Hamel Center!
    Stop by the  Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research. We'll help you craft a timeline to prepare for your own research experience; we'll give you tips to help tailor your experience; and we'll answer all of your questions!
  • Find your focus
    Identifying a research topic may seem daunting at first. If you're not sure where to begin, check in with your academic adviser or department chair to learn about the research already underway in your department or college. As you try to match your academic interests with existing research opportunities, you may find the answer is standing right in front of you, in your favorite class. Many professors incorporate their research interests into classroom discussion and coursework. You will find friends and classmates who have completed undergraduate research projects to be valuable resources as well. Browse our Student Profiles to learn more.
  • Find out about UNH faculty research interests
    Start by browsing the academic department Web sites. Not only do these sites often describe faculty research interests, they frequently offer links to faculty members' personal Web pages. You can also browse Find Scholars @ UNH, a searchable database of research at UNH, including faculty profiles. Other pages to visit include the list of UNH Research Centers and Institutes and current UNH Research News. You may also consult with a reference librarian at one of the UNH libraries.

5. How do I find a mentor?

Strategies for identifying a faculty mentor:

There are a number of ways to get help in identifying a mentor. Staff members at the Hamel Center will be happy to talk with you about your interests and about potential mentors and put you in contact with the undergraduate research liaison for your department. You can also ask a favorite professor, your advisor, or department chair. If you already know of a faculty member whose research interests you, talk directly to him or her. Finally, take a look at the website for your department; many websites list the research interests of individual faculty members. You can also browse Find Scholars @ UNH, a searchable database of research at UNH, including faculty profiles.

6. What should I discuss with my potential mentor?

Here are some questions to get the conversation started:

  • What kind of research will my project require?
  • What articles or books should I review to familiarize myself with my field of interest?
  • How many hours should I plan to invest each week in my research?
  • Do I have the background and experience necessary to do this research? If not, what can I do to prepare myself?

7. Where can I see what other students have done?

8. What is to be expected of me (conducting research as an undergraduate)?

If you receive a grant, you must conduct your research before you graduate. After you conclude your project, the Hamel Center requires that you complete an evaluation form and submit a brief report on your research.

If you wish to receive academic credit for research, you must make arrangements through your department; the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research cannot award credit. However, even if you do not receive academic credit for research, your project must be worthy of the standards that apply to coursework.

9. Expectations for Responsible Conduct in Research

UNH is accountable to ensure the ethical and safe conduct of research and scholarly activity. All researchers at UNH who propose to conduct research involving any of the following must obtain appropriate institutional approvals and/or permission BEFORE starting the research. Students who seek funding for their research projects are subject to UNH's review and approval requirements.

10. Ethical Misconduct Policy

The Hamel Center expects you to conduct research with integrity and respect for the standards of ethical and professional behavior. Academic and financial fraud (which includes data fabrication or falsification and theft of materials, supplies, or ideas), plagiarism, or deliberate interference with the integrity of the work of others is not acceptable.

The University has a policy on misconduct in scholarly activity, including research. If you have questions on how the University defines such misconduct, please check with your faculty mentor and refer to the following information online:…