National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice, 2021, Vol. 17:255–57


Copyright © 2021 National Collegiate Honors Council


When honors faculty share experiences from their own research, students learn that making mistakes and trying again is an important part of the learning process.

For all our emphasis on independent student inquiry in honors curricula, students get limited examples of the inevitable bumps in the road of advanced research. In our courses, we typically assign published works, which means that the research students read about is complete, polished, and deemed successful by the broader scholarly community. What students do not encounter in these models of successful research are the many uncertainties, missteps, and revisions along the way. Students are familiar with these setbacks from their own learning experiences, but they often do not recognize that these are universal experiences—even for the accomplished scholars listed in their syllabi. In my social science research methods class for second-year honors students, I have introduced an assignment to expose students to the many decisions and uncertainties of the research process.