Skip to main content

Undergraduate Research Reflection Questions

Use the questions below to help your students reflect on their research experience. These questions will help your students be able to articulate what they have gained from this experience to graduates schools and/or employers. 

You can use these exact questions, modify them, or use them to generate additional ideas. Your Career Services liaison is available to consult with you to help identify additional reflection questions that fit your specific needs.

  • How does your current knowledge of academic research compare to what you expected it to be like prior to starting your experience? What aspects surprised you? 
  • Consider your day-to-day responsibilities and tasks in your research. What tasks were challenging? What tasks did you excel in? Of the tasks that you struggled with, how did you work to improve on these areas? 
  • Would you continue to research the same topic in graduate school? How might you further/expand your research on this specific topic/area? 
  • What is a disruption to your life today can become impressive answers to interview questions tomorrow. Think about the challenges in your project, and how you could tell those stories in behavioral interview questions. What was the situation? What was the problem or challenge? What steps did you take, and what skills did you need to use? What was the outcome? 
  • What are you taking away from this research experience? 
  • What were the motivations behind your interest in research? How did you identify your research area?

Future Plans Reflections

  • What would you want an employer or graduate school program to know about your research experience and how you prepared to present? 
  • In what ways did your research impact your plans for your career or graduate school? 
  • What is your overall impression of your research experience? Do you see yourself continuing to pursue research in the future? Why or why not? 
  • How did the pandemic impact your career goals and plans? Did you do any reevaluation of your goals, and in what ways did it solidify your plans or make you rethink your direction? What challenges did it create for you in progressing towards your career and what steps did you take to overcome those challenges?
  • Research specific graduate programs and faculty that research similar topics. Identify the top 3 graduate programs that have faculty focusing on this specific research topic. What conferences or professional associations are related to this research topic? Oftentimes, in graduate programs, you will be required to present your research in a professional conference. Also, during the graduate school application process, you may be asked to identify a faculty member that you would like to work with in regard to their research. 
  • When considering grad school what are three aspects of a program that are important to you? 
  • Knowing your values can be an important aspect of employer or graduate school choice. What would you consider your top three values? What values did you meet or utilize throughout your research? How can these values help you choose where to work or which school to attend?
  • What steps did you take to define a research topic? What skills did you use within these steps and how would you describe these skills to an employer or graduate school admissions committee? 
  • Problem-solving is a critical skill to employers. What unexpected challenges did you encounter in your research project, and how did you address them? 
  • Utilizing technology to solve problems is also a critical skill. How have you leveraged technology in new ways this semester? 
  • Critical thinking skills and adaptability are needed to succeed in both your career and graduate school. How have you developed these skills in order to prepare you for your future? Please provide specific examples. 
  • What are three things you would want employers or graduate schools to know about you? When you describe research and presentation experience on a resume, sometimes it’s not just what you studied or what you did that matters, but what skills you used that translate into the position you’re applying for. Think about your career aspirations; what skills that are required for that career did you use, how did you use them, and what was the outcome?
  • National research has identified 8 top career readiness competencies. Which of these did you use in your research project or in presenting your research?