Research is highly valued at AUC, and you are encouraged to participate in research during your undergraduate studies. AUC defines undergraduate research as “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original or creative contribution to a discipline.” AUC has built a curriculum, from freshman to capstone year, taking you from the basic to the specialized and advanced levels of research.
How do my research skills develop across the curriculum?
Everything you learn in the freshman RHET courses transfers to more advanced courses.
In RHET 1010, you will learn strategies for academic analytic and persuasive writing and expression, as well as begin to learn appropriate documentation and citation styles.
In RHET 1020 you will begin learning the basic steps of research, constructing innovative research questions, identifying credible scholarly sources, expanding your ability to document and cite appropriate to the discipline, building relevant bibliographies and writing annotations, developing critical literature reviews, designing coherent outlines, purpose and thesis statements, and constructing sound arguments supported by appropriate data and detail. You will develop scholarly skills for research design, implementation, analysis and presentation, and you will experiment with different secondary and primary research methods.
The RHET 3000 and 4000-levels build on the foundation acquired in RHET 1010 and 1020, helping you develop more complex critical analyses, proposals, research-based reports and creative writing.
In the research methods courses in your field of major, you further develop specialized research design and contributions to your discipline.
What is the difference between primary research and secondary research?
Primary research involves first-hand data collection to answer your research question. It is original research where the raw data has not been interpreted by someone else. You might carry out an experiment which you have designed, conduct a survey, run an interview or a focus group, analyse archival documents, observe human or animal behavior or conduct a case study.
Secondary research analyzes and interprets experiments or other hands-on studies conducted by other researchers. It looks at their publications and tries to make sense of their findings. It identifies patterns and controversies in the published research and draws conclusions about a particular area of knowledge. Often it is known as “desk-research” because it depends on other people’s primary studies.
Can I conduct primary research in the freshman RHET courses?
In RHET 1020, you learn the steps of conducting Secondary research by writing a critical literature review. In the final paper, you may opt to do a survey or an interview, if it will collect data that helps answer your research question. Because you will be collecting data from human subjects, you have to consult with your instructor, and you have to know the ethics of Human Subject Research.
What are the ethics of human subject research?
Human Subject research is any research study, such as surveys, interviews, experiments that test human behavior or analyses human specimens, etc. If you are conducting surveys or interviews for your research, you must understand and abide by the Ethics of Human Subject Research. These include:
- acquiring the subjects’ informed consent
- maintaining confidentiality and anonymity
- minimizing risk
- and protecting vulnerable groups
When I conduct a survey or an interview, can I collect data from subjects off-campus?
You are highly encouraged to collect data (whether in face-to-face mode, or online) from people on campus. For security, legal and ethical reasons, data collection off-campus is limited. Advanced students who wish to collect data off-campus, MUST work with their course instructor to acquire CAPMAS permission PRIOR to conducting their research. This is the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, the Egyptian government agency that approves survey and interview work done within Egypt. No research off-campus, whether face-to-face or online, is allowed without acquiring permission from CAPMAS and informing the AUC security office. This is for your own legal protection. Neither CAPMAS nor AUC guarantees researcher safety off-campus. This is why off-campus research, especially for freshman students, is limited.
Do I need any approvals if I collect data from subjects on-campus?
You may collect data face-to-face or online if your subjects are on-campus AUC participants without CAPMAS approval.
However, if you intend to publish or present your research at a conference event, then you need to work with your instructor to acquire permission from the Institutional Review Board, PRIOR to conducting your research.
What is the Institutional Review Board (IRB)?
IRB is an AUC Committee responsible for reviewing your research plan to ensure that you abide by the ethics of human and animal subject research. For research conducted only for a class assignment, no IRB approval is required. However, if you intend to present the research findings or publish your results, then your course instructor needs to apply for IRB approval PRIOR to conducting the research.
What presentation or publication opportunities do I have?
Advanced students who have completed original primary research can apply to present at the AUC research event for undergraduates - EURECA (Excellence in Undergraduate Research, Entrepreneurship and Creative Achievement). EURECA is part of the annual provost-sponsored AUC Research Week, where faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students present their research work. You may also apply for a conference abroad, and if accepted, you may apply for a Travel Grant to help you with expenses.
Advanced students may also apply to publish their research or creative writing in the Undergraduate Research Journal - URJe.
Freshman students may construct research posters and apply to contribute to FYRE - the First-Year Research Experience exhibition. This is a display of research posters, mounted on the walls of the Rhetoric and Composition Department.
To find out more about these extracurricular presentations, publications and financial support for research events, go to the Undergraduate Research website.
Whether you are a Freshman or a Senior, you also have the opportunity to upload your best work to DAR - the Digital Archives Repository. This is an online database on the library websites that collects and makes available all kinds of student and faculty work.