The Future of Education

Edition 8

Accepted Abstracts

University Education and Students’ Integration to Research Activities

Valentina Milenkova, Professor, South West University (Bulgaria)

Abstract

The present paper aims to analyze some aspects of university education as a specific environment for students’ involvement in research activities. The analysis is focused on the following issues:

- What are the characteristics of students’ participation in research activities;

- What personal traits are created in the process of research activities;

- How young people evaluate various research activities.

The focus of the analysis is students’ viewpoint for their involvement in research activities. The paper is based on results obtained during the course of the project "Integration of social sciences in a globalizing world", carried out by professors and students from the Sociology Departments at South-West University in 2013. The main methods used for obtaining information are:

-          Focus groups (three) with students from humanitarian studies;

-          Students’ opinion survey (with 220 students from of SWU)

Modern university education is a unity of teaching and research. Student centered learning is one of the crucial educational approaches, where the interests, perceptions and personality of the student underlie his/her studying, learning and understanding processes.

The involvement of students in research activities is important because:

- it improves students’ acquired qualifications and professional skills;

- it contributes to the learning  through applied research;

- it forms an attitude towards future learning.

Through participation in the research activities:

- students become more concentrated and interested in studying and training;

- students apply what they have learned during the lectures and classes;

Inclusion of research in the teaching methods is crucial for the effective education process because it is aimed at complex personal development both in terms of acquiring specific skills and competencies, as well as the formation of the qualities that are important for the establishment of a common cognitive attitude.

The paper concludes that students’ participation in research activities is a prerequisite for their future professional identity. The research emphasizes that the creation of students’ research skills is connected with the curricula, which should stimulate more creativity, individual approach and should be based on person-centered pedagogy. It is also necessary defining a variety of teaching and assessment methods inciting personality in the process of studying.

 

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