An ALURE is an Authentic Large-scale Undergraduate Research Experience

WHAT defines an ALURE?

During this project we conducted an extensive series of discussions with Australian tertiary science educators to develop a description of a feasible and sustainable model of Authentic Large-scale Undergraduate Research Experience (ALURE). The model, finalised in 2013, is described below. 

  • An ALURE serves large numbers of undergraduate students (groups of 50–500 or more);
  •  ALURE occurs in the undergraduate teaching spaces during regular class time;
  • ALURE student work is mentored primarily by TAs (tutors) with academic guidance;
  • the ALURE research project provides an opportunity for students to generate new knowledge which is valued by a real audience; and
  • the ALURE project work and assessment structure allows students to communicate their findings to that interested audience.

The ALURE model is flexible. It is not limited to one subject or discipline. The ALURE team has conducted, helped develop, and recorded ALUREs in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Microbiology, Physiology, Bioinformatics, and Virology.

Examples of ALURES

There are multiple ALUREs described in the literature. Here are some references from our team:

  • Rowland, Lawrie, Behrendorff, & Gillam (2012) Is the Undergraduate Reseach Experience (URE) always best? The power of choice in a bifurcated practical stream for a large introductory biochemistry class. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 40(1):46-62.
  • Wang, Daly, Willner, Patil, Hall, Schembri, Tyson, and Hugenholtz (2015) Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? An Authentic Large-Scale Undergraduate Research Experience in mapping the human oral microbiome. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, 16(1):50-60.
  • Wang, Schembri, Ramakrishna, Salugenko, and Fuerst (2012) Immersing undergraduate students in the research experience: a practical laboratory module on molecular cloning of microbial genes. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 40(1):37-45. 
  • Rowland, Green, Lawrie, Myatt, Pedwell, Wang, Worthy, and Zimbardi (2014) The ALURE of Massified Undergraduate Research. Australian Biochemist, 45(3):15-19.

  • You can also see slides from a presentation by our team here: