104.1 – Educational Objectives
- Provide students with hands-on experience in research prior to the dissertation;
- Expose students to as many parts or phases of the research process as possible to help them gain an understanding of how the method of inquiry is related to the overarching research questions(s);
- Advance students' capacity to describe and analyze conceptual and methodological issues in their research, and to anticipate the vicissitudes that can arise in the conduct of research in the field.
Development of these skills is seen as helping to prepare students for the dissertation research they will undertake, usually after they have completed the 3rd academic summer (Session V). Accordingly, the research internship requirement should be completed before the 3rd summer begins.
104.2 – Options for the Research Internship
In general, the more varied the activities the student participates in, the better, though these activities will have to be within the limits of what is possible both for the student and the host project or faculty mentor. All internship proposals must be reviewed and granted approval by the Ph.D. Program's Director. Three options are available for fulfilling the research internship requirement.
Option A: Students may identify and affiliate with ongoing funded research projects relevant to social work that are situated in their geographic areas. A student must negotiate with the project's principal investigator to obtain the equivalent of a half-day per week of work on the project for the 32-weeks of winter session (128 hours). Students' involvement in research projects may not be limited to one role, task, or activity (i.e., coding only, or interviewing only), and as much as possible, should allow students to become acquainted with both the substance and the processes of the research.
Option B: Members of the resident faculty or adjunct faculty teaching in the Ph.D. Program may offer the opportunity to one or more selected Ph.D. students to participate in a specific piece of faculty-directed research. Faculty members offering such opportunities will circulate descriptions of their projects during the summer so that affiliation decisions can be made before the winter session begins. The time demand on students shall be the equivalent of a half-day per week of work on the project for the 32-weeks of winter session (128 hours). Students' involvement in research projects may not be limited to one role, task, or activity (i.e., coding only, or interviewing only), and as much as possible, should allow students to become acquainted with both the substance and the processes of the research.
Option C: Any student or group of students may propose a student-generated project provided that the student(s) is able to recruit a qualified faculty member to supervise the project. The time demand on each student shall be the equivalent of a half-day per week of work on the project for the 32-weeks of winter session (128 hours). It is important to recognize that student generated projects often require more than a half-day per week involvement (128 hours) as the student is responsible for all aspects of the research project. The Director of the Ph.D. Program should be consulted before pursuing such a proposal.
For all options, responsibility rests with the student to identify, negotiate, and complete the research internship according to the procedure described here.
104.3 – Research Internship Proposal (updated 2007, 2009)
A written proposal (up to 500 words) is submitted before the second summer begins (June 1 of second summer), describing the following content:
- Name of Student and Research Advisor
- The nature of the project
- The period of the student's affiliation with the project
- The learning goals for the internship experience
- The specific variety of activities in which the student will be involved
- The option selected for the research internship, and the name and credentials of the person who will serve as the student's mentor during the internship (If external to Smith SSW, this person's CV should be attached to the proposal.)
The proposal is submitted to the Ph.D. Program's Administrative Coordinator and is reviewed by the Ph.D. Program's Director. If the Director approves the proposal, this is conveyed to the student in writing. The Research Internship must then be completed as described.
104.4 – Research Internship Report
At the completion of the Research Internship, the student must submit a written summary (up to 1250 words), describing what actually transpired during the internship and reflecting on what was learned and what learning remains to be done within the specific research internship experience. If there were any changes in the nature of the internship from the proposal, a clear description and reasoning for the changes need to be included.
This final report is to be sent to the Administrative Coordinator of the Ph.D. Program with a copy to the Director of the Ph.D. Program.
The director will provide a letter to the student approving the completion of the Research Internship or requesting additional details for the report.
A Suggested Outline for Research Internship Report
- Name of student and name of research advisor
- Date of completion of Research Internship Report
- The title (or description) of the project, location of the project, and name of the supervisor
- The nature of the project
- The period of the student’s affiliation with the project and number of total hours dedicated to the internship
- The learning goals for the internship experience and discussion of how each goal was met.
- The specific variety of activities in which the student was involved. Discussion of activities that were anticipated but not undertaken as well as additional activities that were undertaken should be included.
- Overall statement of the results of the research project (or results up to the point the student completed the internship.
104.5 – Faculty Support for the Research Internship
Responsibility for helping students plan for the Research Internship is a shared responsibility. Primary responsibility for guiding students in planning for the Research Internship rests with the Research Adviser. Monitoring of progress toward completion of the Research Internship is part of the FFA's role. Research Internship proposals and final reports are submitted to the Ph.D. Program's Administrative Coordinator when complete. Overall administration of the Research Internship, approval for the Research Internship proposal, and grading of the final Research Internship report is the responsibility of the Ph.D. Program's Director.
104.6 – Guidelines for Authorship, Ownership, & Acknowledgment
In negotiating the Research Internship, students may wish to discuss possible co-authorship within a research team. To help students understand how multiple authorship is negotiated and how it is related to the kinds of work undertaken, the School offers guidelines for collaborative student/faculty undertakings. (See Appendix D)