Research Guide

Before you approach a professor about research, read their CV or publications to get a better idea about their research interests. Knowing what information exists already about different research topics will be very helpful when conducting your own research. Download a Research Guide!

  • What is Academic Research
    • Investigation and writing based upon the idea of scientific inquiry
    • As a researcher, you can study many different spectrums of life including social, political, clinical, psychological, and many more
    • In short, if you are pondering unanswered questions, research is a way to study it
    • There are different types of research as well: qualitative and quantitative
    • Qualitative Research often includes listening to people’s stories through interviews, observation or survey
    • Quantitative Research uses numbers and data to define outcomes or trends in your research
    • References:
  • Defining Your Research Interests
    • Here are some things to think about when developing your research questions:
      • What is something I heard from my courses that I am interested in?
      • Do I find interest in what my professors teach and do I want to look into them?
      • There are many topics you can explore in arts, biology, history, and so much more. Being part of social sciences, here are some things you may consider when thinking about research.
      • You may have societal based questions similar to:
        • Human behavior in social settings
        • The expansion of civil rights
      • You may have political based questions similar to:
        • The effects of politics in media
        • Preservation of environment and resources
      • You may have business based questions similar to:
        • The effect of advertisement on consumer behavior
        • How involvment with charities influences business
    • Still unsure what you want to resesarch? Meet with one of your faculty to discuss topics
  • Learning More About Your Subject
  • Meet with the Professor
    • Once you find a professor, you need to get in contact with them.
    • You can meet professors after class, during office hours, or send them an email.
    • Preparing for Your Meeting - Read articles that are based on your subject matter, be familiar with existing literature so that you can discuss with faculty your ideas and next steps to round out your research ideas
    • During meetings, you can discuss multiple topics with faculty including:
      • Working on a project proposal
      • Finding other research opportunities on campus
      • Labs or paid opportunities in research they may know
      • Writing literature reviews and finding research material
      • Plans for attending graduate school and the application process
      • Securing a letter of recommendation or proposal endoresment
      • Enrolling in a SocSci 199 course for research credit
    • If you need assistance approaching professors about these subjects, SSARC is here to help you!


If you are interested in joining honors programs, please click here for more information

These guidelines have been adapted from materials from,, the UCI Unergraduate Research Opportunities Program and Northerwestern University Research Guidelines.


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766