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Creating Quality Undergraduate Research Programs in Economics: How, when, where (and why)


  • Stephen B. DeLoach

    () (Department of Economics, Elon University)

  • Elizabeth Perry-Sizemore

    () (Department of Economics, Randolph College)

  • Mary O. Borg

    () (Department of Economics, University of North Florida)


While undergraduate research (UR) has been growing across the academy for decades, economics has been relatively slow to adopt it as pedagogy. We argue for the development of comprehensive UR programs that not only require capstone research experiences, but integrate the development of foundational research skills throughout the curriculum. Fundamentally, there is a hierarchy whereby students learn basic research skills in lower-level courses, develop ability integrating content knowledge and research skills in upper-levels, and produce independent or collaborative research projects in later semesters. Successful UR programs depend on understanding this developmental model, integrating it into the curriculum, and taking advantage of resources to support it. To facilitate such improvements, we make six recommendations for departments to consider when building or strengthening their UR environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen B. DeLoach & Elizabeth Perry-Sizemore & Mary O. Borg, 2011. "Creating Quality Undergraduate Research Programs in Economics: How, when, where (and why)," Working Papers 2011-02, Elon University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:elo:wpaper:2011-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gregory A. Lilly & Thomas Tiemann, 2008. "On the Struggle To Attain Universal Competence in a Complex Skill: The Case of a Senior Capstone Experience," Working Papers 2008-06, Elon University, Department of Economics.
    2. John J. Siegfried & Michael K. Salemi, 1999. "The State of Economic Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 355-361, May.
    3. Robert H. Frank, 2002. "The Economic Naturalist: Teaching Introductory Students How to Speak Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 459-462, May.
    4. Andrea L. Ziegert & KimMarie McGoldrick, 2008. "When Service is Good for Economics: Linking the Classroom and Community through Service-Learning," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 7(2), pages 39-56.
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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Ishuan & Simonson, Robert D., 2016. "The value of a redesigned program and capstone course in economics," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 48-58.

    More about this item


    undergraduate research; senior thesis; honors thesis; service learning; active learningQuality UGR;

    JEL classification:

    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics

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