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Undergraduate Research in the Virtual Environment- Resources and FAQs

Undergraduate Research in the Virtual Environment- Resources and FAQs

On this page we will post information and guidance related to undergraduate research at VT and resources/creative solutions for moving research to the virtual environment.

Undergraduate Research FAQs

Many students are required to complete credited research projects for graduation or a grade. Can students continue their undergraduate research projects?

As the university has encouraged students to stay away from campus and to return home, we need to support students to complete their research projects remotely. In addition, access to laboratories, fabrication facilities, and studio spaces on campus are highly restricted to only essential personnel for the remainder of the semester so any hands-on, in-person research will not be possible. Only research that can be conducted virtually will be allowed to continue. Individual faculty will have the flexibility to design or reimagine the student research projects as appropriate and practical. For example, students' research tasks could be shifted to working on an annotated bibliography, literature reviews, data analysis, etc. Faculty can also consider conducting lab experiments and recording video for undergraduate students to view and ask questions and then providing data for students to analyze.

Can students conduct certain types of research from home?

Yes. Faculty can change undergraduate student’s research description to something that can be done on their own away from campus (like literature searches, reports, theoretical work, spreadsheets, calculations, computer models, etc.). That is fine as long as they are not on campus or in VT facilities or labs.

In order to qualify as undergraduate research, students are required to present their research to a public forum. What options are available for them this semester?

Undergraduates are invited to present their research this summer at the Virtual Summer Research Symposium which will be held on July 30, 2020. More information about the symposium and the registration form are available on the symposium webpage. The deadline to register is July 20.

I was supposed to present my research at a national/regional conference but it got cancelled because of the Coronavirus. Can I still list the presentation on my resume and if so, how?

Yes. The fact that you were selected to present your research is important to recognize! Here is a possible format for posting your presentation information on your resume:

Presentation Title. Presentation Author(s). Abstract accepted for presentation at the name of conference, conference location, (2020). [Note: This meeting was cancelled due to public health concerns related to COVID-19.]

Read this article on How to Create an APA Style Reference for a Canceled Conference Presentation.

Please note that the Office of Undergraduate Research would like to invite you to present this research project at the Dennis Dean Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship conference on April 24. We will publish abstracts and provide you with the opportunity to present your work virtually. More information will be made available on the conference webpage.

Will undergraduate research take place on campus this summer?

The Provost's Office has announced that all summer activities on campus will move online or be cancelled (read statement here). Therefore, research projects that are inherently virtual in nature or those that can be appropriately modified will be able to proceed this summer. All other types of in-person research must be suspended.

Many students are looking for research opportunities this summer. Faculty seeking undergraduates to participate in their virtual research projects are encouraged to post these opportunities on our searchable database hosted on VT's Handshake site. Instructions for posting positions is available here.

Will organized/funded research programs be offered at Virginia Tech this summer?

Only virtual research projects will take place this summer. Funded programs are encouraged to consult with their funding agency for guidance on suitable summer options within the virtual framework allowed for this summer- to cancel the program outright or move research projects online.

VT Program cancellations

Fralin SURF Program

Confluence REEU Program

Research Programs are asked to inform the OUR of their summer intentions so that the OUR can plan to support their programs appropriately.

Students are encouraged to check individual program webpages or contact Program Directors for most up-to-date information on each program.

What can I do this summer since my program was cancelled?

Students who applied for summer research programs outside VT should check the program website or contact the program director to see if the program will be offered or if alternative plans will be put in place.

In collaboration with University Libraries, the OUR is developing a virtual summer training and professional development program that will be available to any undergraduates engaged in virtual research over the summer or preparing to engage in undergraduate research during the academic year. More information will be posted on our homepage towards the end of this semester.


Virtual museum resources, e-learning, and online collections
These databases contain videos related to scientific procedures that may be great for folks who can no longer teach students in labs: 

Journal of Visualized Experiments, JoVE

Sage Research Methods Online

The Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) Office, in light of recent events, is hosting virtual office hours for faculty and student researchers from 9 to 12 on Wednesdays. The HRPP calendar has details on how to access their remote office hours.

A message from Don Taylor: Research Resources for COVID-19.

Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Mathematics, in the Age of Physical Isolation (prepared by UR SIGMAA and CUR’s Division of Mathematics & Computer Science)

CUR- Virtual Undergraduate Research in Action
Webinar, slides, and resources

CUR Video Archives- Webinars/Conversations
1. UR in the Era of Covid-19: Unpacking the Spring

2. CUR Covid-19 Forum: Virtual Research, Creative, & Scholarly - Part 1 and 2

Relevant Articles
Moving academic research forward during COVID-19

  1. N. S. Wigginton1,2,
  2. R. M. Cunningham1,
  3. R. H. Katz3,
  4. M. E. Lidstrom4,
  5. K. A. Moler2,
  6. D. Wirtz5,
  7. M. T. Zuber6

Science  12 Jun 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6496, pp. 1190-1192
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc5599