College Level Research

This tutorial will let you know what to expect when completing college level research assignments.

Research at UW-Madison

  • UW-Madison is a world-class research institution.
  • There are thousands of people on campus who perform original research and create knowledge in a variety of subject areas.
  • As a UW-Madison student, you are part of this culture of research.

What is College Level Research?

  • Rather than stating facts or reporting on what others have said, college level research involves asking new and interesting questions, drawing original conclusions, and creating new knowledge on a topic.
  • You might use sources like Wikipedia or search engines like Google to complete your research assignments. To be successful at UW-Madison, you’ll need to perform much more in-depth research using a variety of information sources.

Example Assignment

You need to think of a scientific question that does not have a definitive answer, come up with a hypothesis, and carefully read the scientific literature in order to compare several studies.

  • You will be working with a group to complete a meta-analysis of a scientific question that has not been definitively answered.
  • You will need to evaluate five primary research articles and clearly state:
    • A research question and hypothesis
    • The biological rationale that leads you to your hypothesis
    • Examples of uncertainty in the literature
    • A clear, consistent metric
    • One or more x variables, preferably reflecting differences in methods between studies
    • The basis for comparison among studies you chose

The UW-Madison Libraries

As part of a major research library network, the UW-Madison Libraries have access to millions of books, articles, primary sources and other materials that you’ll need for your assignments. You can’t find these materials for free online, but you can access them through the library website.

Librarians are another excellent resource. University librarians are here to help researchers complete their research, and to help undergraduates access the books, articles and other resources they need to complete class assignments.