The Research Encounter: An Innovative Course Inclusion that Facilitates Student Engagement

Helen L. Naug, Natalie J. Colson, Daniel G. Donner

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The learning and engagement activity we describe was designed to demystify the research culture of the Health Faculty for first year students, and there are implications for practice in other fields. It is founded on the idea of research-based learning, which in its pure form is a respected pedagogical approach but problematic for large cohort (>500) first year students. As an assessment item, students were placed in small groups and were matched with faculty research staff and/or a research area to investigate. The students were surveyed before and after the research encounter; and results show that, among other findings, student engagement with peers and with the faculty were distinct positive outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-345
Number of pages11
JournalInnovative Higher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • First-year experience
  • Research-based learning
  • Student engagement

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