Welcome to The Process of Undergraduate Research (POUR), a website dedicated to promoting undergraduate research by students at the College of William and Mary. There are several venues where students can publish the finished results of their research, including William and Mary’s new Digital Repository. This website is dedicated to documenting and supporting the process that leads to these finished results.
In his book, The Independent Scholar’s Guide, Ron Gross notes one of the fundamental obstacles to getting started with research.
Rarely do researchers or writers “let their hair down,” revealing that they started where each of us must start — with mere infatuation for a subject…
Established researchers rarely portray the faltering steps by which they came to pinpoint their purposes, chose their subject, sharpen their skills. By the time the work of the scholar or scientist comes to our attention, it is usually well packaged as a finished monograph, a carefully-crafted article, a well-honed paper, a polished book, a museum worthy collection or display, a documentary on film or videotape, or as some other finished work. This final project seems to have sprung full-grown from the author’s head. So we get a misleading picture of how intellectual and creative projects get started.
This is a site where we try to help students better understand the process of discovery that leads to that final research. The heart of that intellectual journey is the lab notebook of the scientist, the sketchbook of the painter, the storyboard of the film producer or director and the notebook or the journal of the historian. Think of this as your own Parisian Coffee House where you find kindred souls who may or may not understand the detailed content of your work, but who definitely understand the joys, the challenges, and the frustrations of this kind of intellectual endeavor. All you have to do to join the club is to start a diary and begin to keep track of your research journey. You’ll be joined by fellow students, faculty members, deans, and no doubt interested students and scholars at other institutions.