Understanding the Effectiveness of a Peer Coach Model in Research-intensive Undergraduate Courses
Keywords:undergraduate research, peer coaches, curriculum, mentorship
The impact of peer coaches embedded in classrooms are outlined in the literature. There is, however, a lack of evidence on when their services should be introduced into the curriculum to have the most impact possible. The goals of this exploratory research project, therefore, were to aim to provide baseline evidence on the most effective and efficient application of ‘Research Coaches’. A total of 129 undergraduate students took part in a cross-sectional design by completing a series of original surveys on the research process and qualities about their research identity. Our research suggests that peer coaches can most benefit those with the least previous research experiences as related to perceived increases in understanding of fields, research skills, previous knowledge of the subject of study and confidence in research abilities. Such quantitative findings are reinforced through our qualitative findings, suggesting that overall, peer coaches and faculty can be perceived as complimentary support systems for effective research-focused course implementation. Future implications of the use of ‘Research Coaches’ in the classroom are discussed.
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