Undergraduate Research Resources

Undergraduate Research Resources for Linguistic Students

The Linguistics Program as well as Emory University provide various resources for undergraduates to engage in research. This document aims to answer frequently asked questions regarding undergraduate research opportunities in the Emory linguistics program.

1.What kind of research do linguists do and how can I find research topics?

1.1 Through Classes

The Linguistics Program offers various research-focused classes. These classes are great first steps to learn about linguistic research. You will learn how to conduct research and carry out a mini (pilot) study as a final project. View the course list or courses that satisfy Ling Major Requirement to find out previous research focused classes.

Previously, students have expanded their final project to do independent study with the course instructor or developed it and wrote an honors thesis. There is no limit on the number of research-focused classes you can take, so feel free to take as many as you want to understand the depth and width of linguistic research.

Core courses also teach you fundamental knowledge and tools to conduct research. For example, LING 212 will prepare you to carry out syntactic analysis, which will be helpful in natural language processing. LING 210 will teach you how to use the program PRAAT to conduct acoustic analysis.

1.2 Through Mentors

The easiest way to find a research mentor is through taking classes with them. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, you might not be able to take classes that you wanted. In those cases, first decide what you are interested in and find people who work on it. You should ask your friends and other instructors to identify people with whom you might like to work. Emory linguistics website is a good source of research summaries.

Once you found several mentors, get to know their work better. Read the abstracts of their papers and email them requesting an appointment to talk about possible research. Be as specific as possible about what you are interested in. Some mentors announce RA recruitment ad via undergraduate linguistics email list. If you are not on the list, let our Linguistics Academic Coordinator know.

1.3 Through Labs

Linguistics and its affiliated programs have labs that you can apply to.

Each lab has their own RA application process, so visit their website and follow the instructions.

1.4 Through visiting symposia/events

Linguistics program offers poster presentation session during linguistic senior banquet. You can visit the event to know more about our undergraduates’ research. Emory Undergraduate Research Program also hosts research symposiums and many of our undergraduates present their work. You can learn about previous presentations here.

2.How can I conduct research?

You can perform research as a volunteer, for credit, honors, and through a paid program/internship.

2.1 Volunteer

This is often the best way to start, especially when you do not have your own research topic. You will work as a research assistant for mentor’s projects. Make sure you do not overcommit. Many students make the mistake of volunteering for too many hours and not able to finish the assigned work. It is much better to underestimate what you can do and then do more if you can.

2.2 Credit

If you decide to do research for credit, you will sign up for one of three courses.

  • LING 497 Directed research: You will help mentors on their research project.
  • LING 498 Directed reading: With the help of the mentor, you will read on a topic that you want to know more.
  • LING 499 Independent research: You will conduct an original research project.

You need mentor’s approval to take these courses.

2.3 Honors

The Honors Program is an Emory College program intended to give a highly qualified group of students more extensive experience in conducting research. Students with an overall grade point average of at least 3.5 in the first three years and with at least a 3.5 GPA in their major courses will be notified by the Program in Linguistics in the Spring of their junior year that they are eligible to participate in the Honors Program. After receiving notification, students will be invited to an orientation meeting which will fully explain the program. You can visit the linguistics honors webpage for more information.

2.4 Formal Emory Program

Emory Undergraduate Research Programs (URP) support various research and scholarship opportunities. You can receive credit or, if eligible, be paid through work-study. The program is available mostly to rising second and third year students. Students do not need previous research experience and do not need to have identified a research mentor in advance. URP offer formal academic year programs to help students find mentors. The application for the program is typically due in May. They also provide one-on-one advising to students seeking opportunities on Emory campus and beyond.

They also run a 10-week long, paid summer program, the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program. This program is highly selective, and you must work with an identified mentor to write a research proposal for your application. Visit their website for a list of opportunities that they offer.

If you have additional questions regarding linguistic research at Emory, please contact Dr. Yun Kim, Director of Undergraduate Research in Linguistics. yun.kim@emory.edu.

3.Research at Oxford College

The Oxford College linguistic program also provides various courses that teach you how to conduct research, such as LING 318 and LING 340. You can work with a specific mentor by taking LING 397R, Directed study in Linguistics.