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“Ergo is one of only a few undergraduate research journals that I’ve ever heard of,” said Tyler Barnum, advancement specialist at WSU’s Office of Undergraduate Research. “Most journals are for graduate students and professors. It’s a great opportunity, because it adds something to your resume or your graduate school application that not only did you do research, but it had important enough results to get published in a journal.”
Much of the research submitted is scientific research done in a lab setting, he said, but all majors may apply to have their research published for any research or project they’ve worked on.
“Humanities students seem less likely to apply, but they are encouraged to do so,” Barnum said.
WSU senior ShayLynne Clark, editor-in-chief of Ergo, was published last year for music research with tuners.
“The conductor made the choir buy tuners,” she said. “He wanted to see if we could use it to tune voices. . . . We compared days; every day we would go in and sing a note with or without the tuners. When we had the tuners, we were able to get to a pitch faster than if we were doing them alone.”
Clark said the research was a success and that it’s important for students to realize that research can be in any area, arts and humanities, social sciences and hard sciences.
“It’s not just hard sciences that can do research,” she said.
It’s a good idea for students to work with a faculty member as a mentor, because he or she has published his or her own work, Barnum said.
“They (faculty) should know what makes a good, publishable paper,” he said. “If you work with them closely on the research and the paper, that will give you the best chance of getting published.”
Doing research with a mentor also helps students to learn how research is done within their area of study, as well as improve their skills, he said.
Faculty and student reviewers will review each paper submitted to Ergo to make sure that the research done is “relevant” and correct, Barnum said. Ergo staff will decide what submissions make the final cut for publication.
“The odds of getting published are pretty good because submission numbers are pretty low,” he said. “The cutoff is based on the quality of the papers.”
Students can submit full-length articles and meeting conference abstracts, according to the Office of Undergraduate Research website. Full-length articles may not be longer than 2,000 words, or eight pages of the journal, including any graphics. Meeting conference abstracts must be shorter than 350 words. An abstract must have been presented at a conference.
WSU’s Office of Undergraduate Research also accepts applications for research grants four times a year. The grant application process is competitive, Barnum said. Grants are also available to help students accepted to present at conferences with travel costs. Students may submit applications for travel grants any time throughout the year.
WSU will also host the 26th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research March 29-31. More than 3,200 students from all over the world have submitted their research work, including students from the United Arab Emirates, England and 184 WSU students. Students will be notified of the status of their submissions Jan. 6.
Speakers at NCUR will include author Anne Fadiman; Paul Alan Cox, director of the Institute of Ethnomedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Mario R. Capecchi, Nobel laureate and professor of human genetics and biology at the University of Utah.
Students can find more information about the Ergo submission process, grants and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at weber.edu/OUR or by calling the Office of Undergraduate Research at 801-626-8541.