This project is a continuation of funding of an existing program providing quality research experiences for undergraduates (REU) at the University of North Texas (UNT) Department of Anthropology. Intellectual Merit: The specific objectives of the REU Site are: 1) to expose under-represented minority and first-generation undergraduate students to research methods in cultural anthropology; 2) to prepare students for competitive application to the UNT McNair Scholars program, an intensive undergraduate research support and mentoring program; 3) to foster undergraduate interest and ability in internal research projects, grant opportunities, graduate study, and career development, 4) to apply insights gained from previous years of systematic program evaluation to continue refining the program; and 5) to use systematic methods to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the UNT program, in terms of both its impact on undergraduate activity and its contribution to significant social science research. This is accomplished through an intensive, 10-week summer program, with the first five weeks instructing fundamental cultural anthropology research techniques, and the second five weeks offering individualized research experiences. Nine minority or first-generation college students are selected each year for training in four major areas of cultural anthropology research: historical and testimonial case studies, participant observation, conducting focus group studies, qualitative data analysis on text-interview material, and quantitative analysis of census and survey data. Students are also taught the techniques and critical thinking skills necessary for conducting resource material location, library research, and the use of the Internet for research purposes. Throughout the 10-weeks, students are exposed to such topics as writing research results, speed-reading and comprehension, stages of research, critical thinking, note-taking during research, getting published, and presenting at conferences. Students also participate in the UNT McNair Scholars' Friday Seminar, in order to stimulate student interaction with the McNair Scholars Program. This program allows students to work closely with a mentor at the University of North Texas over a 1-2 year period. Students are, and will continue to be followed, to assess the impact of the REU on their college and post-college research careers. Broader impact: Results of the program to date are demonstrable and encouraging. In follow-up surveys with REU graduates, 75% of those from the first funding cycle have gone on to graduate school. The existing UNT REU program funded by NSF thus provides a baseline of longitudinal evaluative data to be built upon in the current project cycle.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
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Fahmida N. Chowdhury
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University of North Texas
United States
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