Completing the research cycle: A framework for promoting dissemination of undergraduate research and inquiry


  • Rachel Spronken-Smith University of Otago
  • Jason Brodeur McMaster University
  • Tara Kajaks McMaster University
  • Martin Luck University of zNottingham
  • Paula Myatt University of Queensland
  • An Verburgh University of Leuven
  • Helen Walkington Oxford Brookes University
  • Brad Wuetherick Dalhousie University



communication, dissemination, undergraduate research, inquiry, research skills


With the rise of undergraduate research and inquiry (UGRI) in higher education, it is important to provide students with opportunities to disseminate their research. This completes the research cycle and builds key communication skills. In this article we develop a framework for the dissemination of UGRI, linking exposure to the development of student autonomy. We illustrate the framework with case studies ranging from dissemination activities within the curriculum, such as poster presentations and journal clubs, through to UGRI journals, conferences and product launches. Finally we consider how institutions can promote and support the dissemination of UGRI. To avoid reliance on individuals, institutions should invest in appropriate infrastructure, such as an undergraduate research office, to ensure long-term support for UGR I and the promotion of dissemination activities.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Rachel Spronken-Smith, University of Otago

Rachel Spronken-Smith is Professor of Higher Education and Geography and Dean of the Graduate Research School at the University of Otago, NZ.

Jason Brodeur, McMaster University

Jason Brodeur is Sessional Lecturer and PhD candidate in Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University, Ca.

Tara Kajaks, McMaster University

Tara Kajaks is a PhD candidate in Kinesiology, studying occupational biomechanics at McMaster University, Ca.

Martin Luck, University of zNottingham

Martin Luck is Associate Professor of Animal Science and Academic Teaching Advisor at the University of Nottingham, UK, and is a U.K. National Teaching Fellow.

Paula Myatt, University of Queensland

Paula Myatt is Senior Lecturer in Higher Education, researching undergraduate research experiences and working as an educational developer at the University of Queensland, Au.

An Verburgh, University of Leuven

An Verburgh is a PhD candidate in Psychology and Educational Sciences at the University of Leuven, Be.

Helen Walkington, Oxford Brookes University

Helen Walkington is Principal Lecturer in Geography at Oxford Brookes University, UK, a UK National Teaching Fellow and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Brad Wuetherick, Dalhousie University

Brad Wuetherick is the Executive Director, Centre for Learning and Teaching at Dalhousie University, Ca.


Anonymous. (2012). New vice chancellor presents prizes at first Australasian Conference of Undergraduate Research. Undergraduate Research News Australia, 5. Retrieved January 2013 from

Blanchfield, J., McGraw, E., Bulmer, M., Thier, R., Byers, H., Myatt, P., Hamilton, S. & Evans, R. (2007). The Advanced Study Program in Science: Challenging, motivating and inspiring our best science students. Proceedings of the Assessment in Science Teaching and Learning Symposium (pp. 134–139). Sydney, AU : UniServe Science. Retrieved January 2013 from

Boyer Commission. (1998). Reinventing undergraduate education: A blueprint for America’s research universities. Stony Brook, NY : State University of New York at Stony Brook. Retrieved January 2013 from

Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Brew, A. (2006). Research and teaching: Beyond the divide. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan.

Bruner, J. (1999). The process of education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1977).

Cavitt, J. (2012). NCUR 2012 final report. Ogden, UT: Weber State University. Retrieved January 2013 from

Council on Undergraduate Research. (2012). Characteristics of excellence in undergraduate research (COEUR). Washington, DC: Council on Undergraduate Research.

de la Harpe, B., & David, C. (2011). Major influences on the teaching and assessment of graduate attributes, Higher Education Research & Development: Journal of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, 31(4), 493-510.

Dellinger, M. A., & Walkington, H. (2012). The curriculum and beyond. In A. Hart (Ed.), How to start an undergraduate research journal (1st ed.) (pp. 24-33). Washington DC: Council on Undergraduate Research.

Dym, C. L., Agogino, A. M., Eris, O., Frey, D. D., & Leifer, L. J. (2005). Engineering design thinking, teaching, and learning. Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1), 103-120.

Elen, J., Schouteden, W., Verburgh, A., & François, S. (2011). Integratie van onderzoek in onderwijs: Realisaties en percepties (IOO² project) [Integration of research into teaching: Realisations and perceptions]. Leuven: Associatie KU Leuven.

Hart, D. A. (Ed.). (2012). How to start an undergraduate research journal. Washington DC: Council on Undergraduate Research.

Healey, M. (2005). Linking research and teaching: Exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning. In R. Barnett (Ed). Reshaping the university: New relationships between research, scholarship, and teaching (pp. 67-78). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.

Healey, M. & Jenkins, A. (2009). Developing undergraduate research and inquiry. York: Higher Education Academy. Retrieved March 2013 from:

Healey, M., Lannin, M., Stibbe, A., & Derounian, J. (in press). Developing and enhancing undergraduate final year projects and dissertations. York: Higher Education Academy. Retrieved June 2013 from:

Hill, J., & Walkington, H. (2012, October). “One step closer to the real world”: Engaging students in authentic research dissemination beyond the curriculum. Paper presented at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, Hamilton, ON, Canada. Retrieved March 2013 from:

Hounsell, D., & McCune, V. (2002). Teaching-learning environments in undergraduate biology: Initial perspectives and findings. ETL Project Occasional Report, 2. Edinburgh, UK. Retrieved January 2013 from

Jenkins, A., & Healey, M. (2005). Institutional strategies to link teaching and research. York: Higher Education Academy.

Katkin, W. (2003). The Boyer Commission report and its impact on undergraduate research. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 93, 19-38.

Kuh, G.D. (2008). High impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved April 2013 from

Luck, M. (2008). Student research projects: Guidance on practice in the Biosciences. In J. Wilson (Ed.), Teaching Bioscience; Enhancing Learning Series (69pp). York: Higher Education Academy Centre for Bioscience.

Luck, M. (2009). Bioscience Horizons: Reporting undergraduate research. The Biologist, 58(3), 42–43.

Orsmond, P., Merry, S., & Reiling, K. (2004). Undergraduate project work: Can directed tutor support enhance skills development? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 29(5), 625-642.

Popper, K. R. (1972). Objective knowledge: An evolutionary approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Seymour, E., Hunter, A.B., Laursen, S. L., & DeAntoni, T. (2004). Establishing the benefits of research experiences for undergraduates in the sciences: First findings from a three-year study. Science Education, 88(4), 493-534.

Spronken-Smith, R. A., Walker, R., Batchelor, J., O’Steen, B., & Angelo, T. (2012). Evaluating student perceptions of learning processes and intended learning outcomes under inquiry approaches. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 37(1-2), 57-72.

Spronken-Smith, R. A., Walker, R., Dickinson, K. J. M., Closs, G. P., Lord, J. M., & Harland, T. (2011). Redesigning a curriculum for inquiry: An ecology case study. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 39(5), 721-735.

Taraban R., & Blanton, R. L. (Eds.). (2008). Creating effective undergraduate research programmes in science: The transformation from student to scientist. New York, NY : Teachers College Press.

Turner, N., Wuetherick, B., & Healey, M. (2008). International perspectives on student awareness, experiences and perceptions of research. International Journal for Academic Development, 13(3), 199-211.

Walkington, H. (2008). Geoverse: Piloting a national e-journal of undergraduate research in Geography. Planet, 20, 41–46.

Walkington, H. (2012). Developing dialogic learning space: The case of online undergraduate research journals. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 36(4), 547-562.

Walkington, H., Griffin, A. L., Keys-Mathews, L., Metoyer, S. K., Miller, W. E., Baker, R., & France, D. (2011). Embedding research-based learning early in the undergraduate geography curriculum. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 35(3), 315–330.

Walkington, H., & Jenkins, A. (2008). Embedding undergraduate research publication in the student learning experience: Ten suggested strategies. Brookes E-journal of Learning and Teaching, 2(3). Retrieved January 2013 from

Willison, J., & O’Regan, K. (2007). Commonly known, commonly not known, totally unknown: A framework for students becoming researchers. Higher Education Research & Development: Journal of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australia, 26(4), 393–409.

Wuetherick, B., & McLaughlin, M. (2011). Exploring student perceptions of research in the learning environment: A partnership to enhance our understanding of the undergraduate student experience. In S. Little (Ed.). Staff-Student Partnerships in Higher Education. (pp. 185-200). London, UK: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Zimbardi, K., & Myatt, P. (2012). Embedding undergraduate research experiences within the curriculum: A cross-disciplinary study of the key characteristics guiding implementation. Studies in Higher Education. Advance online publication: doi:10.1080/03075079.2011.651448.




How to Cite

Spronken-Smith, Rachel, Jason Brodeur, Tara Kajaks, Martin Luck, Paula Myatt, An Verburgh, Helen Walkington, and Brad Wuetherick. 2013. “Completing the Research Cycle: A Framework for Promoting Dissemination of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 1 (2):105-18.



Articles: International Perspectives on the Scholarship of Academic Practice