Research Lab

What does it mean to be successful in higher education? And what role can research play in supporting student success?

With a team of undergraduate and graduate students, the SSERC Research Lab investigates these pressing questions through collaborative equity-oriented student success research. We explore the impact of research on advancing equity-oriented practices and policies in higher education through diverse methodologies, including participatory action research, surveys, experiments, focus groups and interviews, longitudinal projects, and program evaluation. Our approaches and questions are grounded in the lived experiences of diverse students, who bring a wealth of experiential knowledge to the research process. 

The purpose of the SSERC Research Lab is three-fold:

  1. To provide student researchers a theoretical foundation for critically analyzing issues of inequity in higher education.
  2. To afford student researchers concrete, hands-on opportunities by participating in actionable research projects that directly aim to improve student success at UC Santa Cruz. 
  3. To support SSERC projects, such as: helping to sustain research partnerships, conduct research analyses, and inform our center’s mission and everyday work.

Undergraduate students must enroll in Psych 194 for 5 credits with Dr. Rebecca Covarrubias, the Faculty Director of the SSERC. This requires 15 hours per week (1-hour lab meeting on Wednesdays at Noon-1:00, 4 hours for readings and assignments, and 10 scheduled lab hours). We may be able to arrange credit from another relevant department.

Here are some skills that you will develop through participation in the SSERC Research Lab: 

  1. HUMAN SUBJECTS REVIEW: Understand Institutional Review Board processes, consent, confidentiality protocols.  
  2. LITERATURE REVIEW: Synthesize scholarly, policy, and popular research on a particular higher education topic.
  3. DATA COLLECTION: Design data collection tools, such as interview protocols, surveys, observational protocols.
  4. DATA ANALYSIS: Independently code qualitative data and construct a preliminary report of essential themes.
  5. COMMUNICATION: Present ideas to the SSERC team and provide substantive feedback to peers.
  6. RESEARCH RELATIONS: Facilitate collaborative research team meetings between SSERC and partnering Student Success units.
  7. COLLABORATION: Work collaboratively and closely with diverse teams of undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty who are dedicated to issues of educational equity.