Undergraduate research offers an opportunity to see how complex questions are asked and answered and the process that goes into both. Students also learn that those who do research must share their findings with the world to make it meaningful.

Publishing work and making presentations of research findings helps the world know about your results and helps establish the student’s expertise in the area.

Through research, students learn valuable skills and lessons that can’t be learned from a book. For instance, proper research protocol, pivoting when things don’t turn out as planned, and finding applications for complex results are learned by doing, not always by reading.

Publishing and presenting your work shows you have followed through with the research process to the critical step of disseminating findings to a wider audience. For all research, communication and sharing the results are a vital key to progress.

Publishing Research Findings

As an undergraduate, publishing work in journals is valuable for sharing findings and establishing a reputation as a researcher and capable problem solver.

Where can undergraduates publish their work and how can they get started? An advisor can help students find research journals focused on undergraduate work. These are good starting points and help students work up to publishing in professional journals.

The amount of research that I have been able to complete as an undergrad … will set me apart from students at other universities who do not have the same kind of exposure to their fields as students at WPI do.
Joshua Driscoll ’20

Read more about Joshua’s field work.

Presenting Your Research

Presenting research in a public forum helps others learn about the research and begins to establish the student’s depth of knowledge in the field. 

Where do undergraduates present their work? Conferences and symposia are places where undergraduates can gain presentation experience. Look for undergraduate presentation sessions or try WPI’s on-campus Works in Progress at WPI Symposia. For presentations that require travel, there’s often funding available for eligible students. Contact the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Suzanne Weekes for information about funding for this situation.

Presentations are professional events, so understanding expectations about posters, attire, and decorum will make students more comfortable and more successful.

Protecting Your Research

Many MQPs and research projects have been the subject of new patent applications in the past. If you think you may have something unique that could be patentable, email the Office of Technology and Communications at OTC@wpi.edu so that it can be protected prior to presenting publicly. Contact the OTC to learn more about patents.