Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Encourage research in humanities subjects

Sharon Chang

UT’s research opportunities are endless, and taking advantage of them can enhance students’ time in university. But research is often seen as something limited to science, technology, engineering and math fields, ranging from lab work to study analysis in psychology. Professors should further encourage students in humanities departments to pursue research through discourse in the classroom. 

Philosophy professor Connie Rosati explained the benefits of humanities research. 

“It’s important to approach your undergraduate education with the idea that you’re trying to develop not only your knowledge base but your ability to think carefully and critically about the problems that you will confront as you go through life,” Rosati said. 

Research opportunities for humanities differ from those in STEM and are often not adequately discussed in the classroom. While independent research is a great way to pursue a curiosity or interest with professor mentorship, many humanities majors don’t view it as an option.  

Government senior Jacob Vasquez hadn’t considered pursuing independent research in his field. 

“It’s kind of a societal thing where we prioritize STEM, whether that’s biology or everything STEM is in,” Vasquez said. “It is more pushed as opposed to humanities or anything within the College of Liberal Arts. … There’s not a lot of support or resources I’ve been exposed to as a government major and philosophy minor.”

Professors could shed more light on research opportunities through classroom discourse, encouraging students to explore these possibilities. For instance, research proposal assignments could introduce students to research and provide them with a chance to further explore a subject they may be interested in. This would expose students to humanities research, especially those who may be on the fence about participating or are unsure of what topic to pursue.  

Professors often expect students to do the majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to building and proposing a research question since those who pursue research should be interested in the subject matter. Still, all students deserve exposure to the research side of their field. 

While it is important for students to have a strong interest in their research, giving them the tools to explore their questions is crucial. Increasing discussion and interaction with the possibility of research doesn’t eliminate student effort but instead exposes students to the possibility of advanced study in their field. 

Narwekar is a philosophy and economics sophomore from Coppell, Texas.

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