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First undergraduate research journal to be released in October

by Becca Tynes,

The first issue of an undergraduate research journal at Elon University titled "Perspectives on Undergraduate Research and Mentoring," or PURM, will be released in October 2011.

"The journal will include students' discussions regarding their research, challenges they may have faced and how mentoring works," said Rebecca Pope-Ruark assistant professor of English and managing editor of PURM. "It will be a journal about the process of undergraduate research and how it's done."

The first goal included in the journal's mission statement is "to create a home for scholarly contributions to the process of literature in undergraduate research and mentoring."

"We saw that there wasn't a lot of discussion about the process of undergraduate research,"
said Victoria Doose, Elon junior and managing editor of PURM. "There are countless numbers
of journals that include research, but there aren't too many that include information about how and why it is performed."

The second purpose of the journal, according to its mission statement, is to provide a space for the voices of undergraduate research and mentoring in order to share experiences and develop professionally.

"We're really inviting authorship from anyone involved in undergraduate research programming," Pope-Ruark said.

According to associate professor of psychology Mat Gendle, also editor-in- chief of PURM, the
journal will be open to students, mentors and professors at universities all accross the country.

"We are branching out and sending out our information to a wide variety of schools in the United States," Doose said. "We're definitely interested in receiving submissions from Elon
students and faculty. We'd love to see that participation in the journal. The more the better."

The third goal included in the mission statement is "to continue to build a sense of community among those involved in undergraduate research and mentoring."

According to Pope- Ruark, the staff's hope is that students, professors and mentors at different
universities will work together to produce work for the journal.

"We're trying to be very deliberate in keeping it an open-access journal," Gendle said. He said it is important that faculty members come to understand the importance of research.

Doose said Elon is very interested in seeing further development of undergraduate research.

The university's strategic plan includes the creation of an undergraduate research journal at Elon, according to Gendle.

"We then came up with the idea to create a journal about the undergraduate research process," Gendle said.

Pope-Ruark said the journal will give students the opportunity to think about and reflect on the undergraduate research process.

According to Gendle, undergraduate research is the most important characteristic of a graduate applicant.

"Research is crucial at an undergraduate level because it helps you frame questions and create habits that will help you figure out how to answer these questions," Pope-Ruark said.

Doose said research at the undergraduate level is beneficial for the person doing the research, as well as for those reading the end product.

"Research helps you learn to ask questions and develop appropriate ways to answer (them)," Gendle said. "It helps you develop important critical thinking and process skills."