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Case study: Widening Research and Participation project (wrap)

The Widening Research and Participation (wrap) project is a 2-year research project at the University of Warwick, investigating the availability and accessibility of undergraduate research opportunities in which Warwick students can participate.

Department(s) / colleagues involved

Michele Underwood (Research Development Manager (SCS) / Research Supervisor), Wendy Hunt (URSS Coordinator (SCS)/ URRS contact), Katie Hall PGT, Wangi Pandan Sari PGR, Anoshamisa Gonye UG, Dan Nadasan UG, Shane Rawlinson PGT

What we did …

The research team comprises two postgraduate and two undergraduate students supervised and supported by the Researcher Development Manager and URSS co-ordinator. The project is funded by Warwick’s Widening Participation Development Fund.

We have been operating since January 2018, and have been investigating models of practice across the University (beginning with the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme – URSS), the UK and US to explore best practice in the role of undergraduate research’s potential to widen participation and contribute to an improved university experience and outcomes for all students. Our next steps will be to collect data on the specific barriers students at Warwick face to engaging in undergraduate research, both within and extra curricula, and their understanding of its potential to increase educational attainment and be a positive influence towards successful graduate employment or further study options.

Using the data gathered, we will co-design and test recommendations to increase the role of undergraduate research at the University of Warwick.
We have a specific interest in improving the experience for underrepresented students who traditionally have increased barriers to participation in university life. Our approach aims to ensure that systematic and structural behaviours and actions are organised to support the full inclusion of all students, with a focus on activities which will build bridges and remove barriers for (typically) under-represented groups throughout the full student life-cycle, with the aim of securing parity of outcomes.



The outcome has been …

So far: A great deal of valuable information which needs consolidation; primary data research to underpin some of our arguments and best practise theories; and fuller dissemination. This is a brief outline of our work so far but the implications and best practise gained from it are exciting and valuable.


This supports the Education Strategy by …

This is a Students as Partners Project which supports five students in paid practical research activities which are of benefit to current and future Warwick students. We are also delivering Inquiry Based Learning design templates to facilitate departments into early adoption of our outcomes (2018-2019 milestone). We will be writing for the Intl Journal of Students as Partners as part of our reflection on our learning.

To find out more, you can contact …

Michele Underwood, Research Development Manager, Student Careers and Skills

m dot underwood dot 2 at warwick dot ac dot uk

Follow us on: wrap project @warwick (@wrap_warwick)

See where our research has taken us: