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Undergraduate Research

As a Comm and Media major you can conduct research in collaboration with our faculty, or design your own research project. Assisting faculty with research helps you better understand how research on media content, processes and effects is designed. It provides you with skills that benefit you in your courses and that may be invaluable in your future career. You also learn how to interact, communicate and work effectively with faculty and other researchers, while gaining new mentors and friends.

How To Find an Undergraduate Research Experience

Click on the options below to see what type of research opportunity fits with your goals.

The U-M Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

If you are a first year student, then you might consider the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (https://lsa.umich.edu/urop) for your sophomore year. UROP creates partnerships between students and Michigan faculty, providing a wealth of research opportunities from which you can choose and through which you can advance yourself in a unique way. More than 1,300 of your fellow students work on real research and real scholarship with over 800 faculty members from the across campus. For more information about research opportunities at the University of Michigan please refer to the UROP webpage.

Research for Credit with Comm and Media Faculty

Comm 322 offers an opportunity for students to acquire knowledge and skills for conducting research in mass communication and mass media working on faculty research projects under the close supervision of a Communication and Media faculty supervisor.

Research experiences may include:

  • Participation in regular research meetings
  • Collecting, coding and/or analyzing data
  • Preparation of written or oral reports
  • Final research project to be determined by the faculty supervisor

Students may earn 1-3 credits per term and no more than 6 credits total for Comm 322. 

Is this experience right for you? Then:

Do your homework. Read up on-line about Comm and Media research projects. Find 2-4 people that you’d like to do research with. 

Contact faculty members about their research:

  • Tell them that you are an undergraduate, what your major is, and that you are looking to participate in a research experience for credit (or as a volunteer, or for pay.)
  • Let them know that you did your homework: tell them the specific things about their research that sounds the most interesting to you or that you are the most excited about.  Be sure to mention how you found out about their research program (e.g. social media, peer reviewed publications, a seminar you attended).
  • Tell them specifically what you can contribute: you work well independently; you are responsible; you are very curious and eager to learn; etc.
  • Attach a resume and an unofficial transcript.

Then…..one of three things will happen:

A.  No response….follow up politely once or twice about one week later.

B.  You will be told “no.”  Don’t take this personally. It's most often about time, money, and/or space. If you get the opportunity, ask for suggestions on how you could improve your approach.

C. You will be asked for an interview!  Arrive promptly and ready with some questions to ask.

  • If the interview turns into a “yes” and you will be carrying out research for COMM 322 credit, you should fill out the Undergraduate Research Practicum Form, which will be routed to your faculty mentor first. The faculty mentor will include a synopsis of the project and route it for approval to the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies for final approval.
  • If approved, you will be given an override to register for the class. Please make sure to register for the correct amount of credits. 
  • You should sit down with your research advisor at the beginning of the semester and lay out the requirements for earning a grade of “A” in the “class.”  Examples of criteria to discuss include: What times are you expected to be in lab each week?  Are these times flexible (can you work more one week and less another)?  Are you expected to attend group meetings?  Do you need to write a weekly report? At the end of the term, should you give a presentation? Write up a paper?  Participate in the UG Research Showcase? Put these in writing!

Senior Thesis Program

The seniors thesis program offers a special opportunity for declared Communication and Media seniors with strong academic records and a desire to pursue individual scholarly research. Students admitted to the honors program design and conduct an individual research project and write a senior thesis. Please see the Senior Thesis and Honors Programs (follow link) for more information.

Independent Student Reading and Research

Comm 441 Independent Reading is a course of study designed by a declared Communication and Media major and sponsoring faculty member intended for individualized instruction in subject areas not covered by scheduled courses. Students wishing to conduct independent reading must prepare a proposed reading list and assignments approved by the faculty sponsor. The length and quality of the assignments should be equivalent to the regular work in a 400-level course. Students are expected to meet regularly with the faculty sponsor throughout the term to discuss the topic and progress toward the course goals.

Comm 442 Independent Research is intended for a declared Communication and Media major for original, individualized student research under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Independent Research may be not be used to provide research support to a faculty member. Students interested in conducting an independent research project must submit a written project proposal to the faculty supervisor for approval. The length and quality of the project should be equivalent to the regular work in a 400-level course. Students are expected to meet regularly with the faculty sponsor through the term to discuss the research and progress toward the course goals.

Students may earn 3-4 credits per term for Comm 441 or Comm 442. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. For additional information refer to Comm 441/Comm 442 policies and procedures