PL3551 (Sem 2, AY2014/15)

By: Qiu
Module taken in Sem 2, AY2014/15
FASS Undergraduate Research Opportunity (UROP)

Supervisor: Dr Jia Lile

Characteristics of UROP:
– You need to look at available projects and ask if the professor will let you come on board the project.
– Project idea is conceptualised by the professor
– You need to conduct experiment and collect data
– Depending on the time left after data collection, you might or might not get to analyse the data
– You need to write a full length report (with expected results and analysis if you cannot finish the project) and some reflections
– The whole process begins when semester starts
*Does not count for some courses that require an independent study (like USP), because it is not considered to be independent enough

Module Review: All in all UROP is less independent than ISM/IRP, but it is a good option to consider if you want some experience conceptualizing and designing experiments, waiting for ethics body to approve, conducting experiments and collecting data.

My experience with UROP is that I thoroughly liked it. Not because it was smooth-sailing (nothing is lol) or easy to do. I liked it because I think the experience is really valuable. Also there is no lecture-tutorial system so it is quite flexible. It depends on how often your supervisor wants to meet up, and when your experiments are conducted. For me, I met my supervisor for about 1h every week, and towards the end of the semester my partner and I would go to the lab about 2-3h every week to conduct experiments. In addition, small things like going to the lab to conduct experiments and filling in forms for ethics body seems very minor but are actually things that are good to know. I think the biggest take away from this was I learnt how to use an experiment software called MediaLab.

Actually, I chose UROP because I thought it would be a great way to prepare for honors thesis. It was good to get a feel of some of the problems that can arise throughout the whole process of a project. You’ll learn that you need to start very early in order to get the ethics body’s approval, get used to participants’ bad attendance, and what to do when the computer dies on you and your files are inside. These are all valuable tips you might need when doing thesis. My advice is, if you want the full experience, you can try for ISM/IRP because you will have to go through the whole deal. However, if you think that is too taxing, then you can consider UROP where the hard part of thinking of project topic is already done for you, and that you might or might not need to analyse results. Of course, depending on your professor, you can choose to follow up with the professor to know how the results turned out to be, whether there are significant results or not. In some cases, the professor might encourage you to take ISM/IRP the next semester under him/her again, and improve on the project.