Undergraduate Research

Past OSRI Workshops

Oberlin Summer Research Institute (OSRI) workshops serve to provide all Oberlin undergraduate researchers on campus in the summer with the skills they need to conduct and present their research most effectively. Workshops are designed to meet the needs of students in various fields and disciplines in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and STEM. Workshops generally take place from 4:30-6 p.m., each Wednesday in June and July. Here is a sampling of some past workshop topics:


This is a workshop on being a healthy and mindful as you conduct research this summer. The session will address how you can be proactive about, and attentive to, your own wellness now and into the future.

Proactive and Reciprocal Mentoring

Learn strategies for managing a proactive relationship of mutual respect with your mentor. We will discuss best practices for communication and feedback, as well as how to think beyond an individual mentoring relationship to build a network of supporters that will help you to succeed in your personal and profession.

Research Ethics

By the end of this session, you should be able to identify common ethical concerns in your field(s) of study, explain the roles of regulatory bodies like the IRB and IACUC and identify other mechanisms in place during the process of research to ensure ethical conduct of researchers. We will analyze case studies in order to articulate the consequences of producing scholarship that does not demonstrate research integrity or attention to ethical concerns.

Library Research and Research Librarians

It has been said that the most important thing you can do when embarking on a research project is to form a strong and long-lasting relationship with a research librarian. Come learn about how to engage with the various library resources that are best suited for the type of research you are conducting this summer.

We will also discuss why building a relationship with a librarian can take your research in directions beyond what you could otherwise have imagined. We offer four separate sessions. Choose the one most closely related to your research or just go to the library and indicated what you’d like to learn more about: Music; Art; Humanities, Social Sciences, and Computer Science; and STEM.

Reading Strategies for Literature in Your Field

Research often requires reading large volumes of work by scholars in fields related to your project. How do you make sense of so many figures and so much text? How do you remember what to use for your project when you need it?

In these workshops, we will discuss efficient and intentional reading practices, note-taking, annotations, effective use of footnotes and endnotes as research tools, and how to use literature to refine your research questions. We will also touch on different options for bibliographic software. Two separate sessions will be offered: Reading Scientific Literature and Effective Reading Strategies in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Bring an article that you are reading for your project. If you are in the humanities/social sciences, bring a book that you are reading for your research as well.

Writing Abstracts and Conference Submissions

This session will address what an abstract is, in what contexts abstracts are typically used, and how they function in relationship to presenting your research.

By the end of this session, you should have a first draft of an abstract that you can use for submission to a conference in your field. In advance of the session, please identify with your faculty or staff mentor an upcoming conference that may be appropriate for presenting your research, and come with the submission guidelines for that conference.

We will talk about how best to approach different elements of a conference submission, and include time for you to draft and receive feedback on those materials. Two separate sessions will be offered, one for STEM and the other for the humanities/social sciences. The STEM session will include a special focus on producing successful applications for the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).

Research Posters

Posters are one standard form of professional communication and offer visual way of presenting research disciplines. This workshop will cover the elements of research posters, including function, content, organization, sections, photos, figures tables, and presentation.

Time will be devoted to sketching out a poster of your own and individual consultations as you work. You are encouraged to bring any materials such as figures or images, but no prior preparation is necessary. You may bring your own laptop or use one of the machines in the computer lab where the session will be held. 

Oral Presentations

Now that you've spent the summer gaining new knowledge, how do you design an effective oral presentation to share your research with others?

In this session, we will discuss how to tell a meaningful, engaging, and analytical story about your research to a diverse audience including those outside your discipline or field. We will also address effective use of supplementary materials like PowerPoint presentations.

Research to Résumé

In this session, you will learn how to talk about your research experiences this summer in ways that will communicate your skills effectively to future committees or prospective employers.

We will also walk you through the basics of what a résumé is, how the document works for you, and what to keep in mind when developing one for yourself. You will leave the session with a portion of your résumé drafted and a bio that you can use on LinkedIn and for other networking purposes.