Benefits of Involvement in Research and of Internships

Why do an internship? Many potential benefits have been reported from undergraduate research experiences and from internships. Some of these are below, together with research papers that report these benefits if you’d like more information:

 

ACADEMIC

Better knowledge of how to navigate educational system4

Preparation for further academic work10

Possibility of academic credit

Improved academic outcomes1,5

Help with decision whether to pursue graduate work4

Preparation for applying to grad school10

Improved knowledge, skills, and understanding of science10 (e.g. making connections between areas, deepening knowledge, better understanding of the scientific process)

 

PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL

Improved creative thinking6

Increased confidence in general10

Increased confidence as a scientist10

Improved skills in critical thinking and problem-solving10

Research skills7

Ownership of research project9

Possibility of authorship on a research paper

Experience of what being a research scientist is like9

 

CAREER

Real-world experience, career preparation, job-related skills3,8,10

Workplace skills (e.g. communication, teamwork, time management, organization)

Refinement of career path10

Resume building2,3

Basis for letters of recommendation

Development of professional working relationships, access to professional and academic networks4,10

 


 

[1] Binder, J. F., Baguley, T., Crook, C., & Miller, F. (2015). The academic value of internships: Benefits across disciplines and student backgrounds. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 41, 73-82.

[2] Coco, M. (2000). Internships: A try before you buy arrangement. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 65(2), 41–47.

[3] Divine, R. L., Linrud, J. K., Miller, R. H., & Wilson, J. H. (2007). Required internship programs in marketing: Benefits, challenges and determinants of fit. Marketing Education Review, 17(2), 45–52.

[4] Eagan, M. K., Hurtado, S., Chang, M. J., Garcia, G. A., Herrera, F. A., & Garibay, J. C. (2013). Making a Difference in Science Education: The Impact of Undergraduate Research Programs. American Educational Research Journal, 50(4), 683–713.

[5] Fechheimer, M., Webber, K., & Kleiber, P. B. (2011). How well do undergraduate research programs promote engagement and success of students?. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 10(2), 156-163.

[6] Gault, J., Redington, J., & Schlager, T. (2000). Undergraduate business internships and career success: Are they related? Journal of Marketing Education, 22(1), 45–53.

[7] Ghee, M., Keels, M., Collins, D., Neal-Spence, C., & Baker, E. (2016). Fine-Tuning Summer Research Programs to Promote Underrepresented Students’ Persistence in the STEM Pathway. CBE Life Sciences Education, 15(3), ar28. http://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-01-0046

[8] Knemeyer, A. M., & Murphy, P. R. (2002). Logistics internships: Employer 380 and student perspectives. International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, 32, 135–152.

[9] Linn, M. C., Palmer, E., Baranger, A., Gerard, E., & Stone, E. (2015). Undergraduate research experiences: Impacts and opportunities. Science, 347(6222), 1261757.

[10] Seymour, E., Hunter, A. B., Laursen, S. L., & DeAntoni, T. (2004). Establishing the benefits of research experiences for undergraduates in the sciences: First findings from a three‐year study. Science education, 88(4), 493-534.