Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Nathan Hawkins


Undergraduate research provides unique experiences and skill sets that are applicable in various careers. However, there has been an increasing need for greater diversity among researchers, namely undergraduate researchers, and the motivations behind undergraduate research participation need to be further explored. The purpose of this study was to identify the demographic information of undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), and what motivations were the most prevalent in undergraduate research at UNO. A mixed-methods approach was utilized through a quantitative portion and a qualitative portion. The quantitative portion was a web-based survey which gauged for 22 independent variables, the central variables being race/ethnicity, gender, and severity of disability. The surveys acquired 111 respondents’ and results were analyzed through correlations and ANOVA’s. The qualitative portion utilized six in-depth interviews with UNO undergraduate students and were coded for common themes. Survey results indicated that there is a significant, negative correlation between the severity of disability and research interest among many other significant results with various independent variables. Common themes throughout the interviews included intrinsic motivation, gender bias, and racial/ethnic bias. Overall, this study confirmed that demographic factors affect who pursues research and that intrinsic motivation is a leading factor as to why undergraduate students pursue research. Accommodations in research spaces, increasing awareness of research opportunities on campus, positive faculty/student relationships, and funding for undergraduate research should be greatly considered.