Content Analysis With Undergraduate Researchers: A Practical Guide To Undergraduate Research Collaboration On Reports Submitted To The UN’S Women’s Rights Treaty Body


Research collaborations that involve postgraduate researchers or faculty and undergraduates can redound to the benefit of both parties. Undergraduates gain valuable first-hand experience in an intellectual enterprise that involves problem-solving, teamwork, attention to detail, and resourcefulness. Postgraduate researchers and faculty can extend their classroom teaching in ways that allow them to simultaneously promote an active research agenda. However, there are many factors to consider when collaborating with undergraduates on a research project. We report on our experience directing a large-scale study of compliance with the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Together with a team of undergraduate students, we content coded periodic reports submitted by states parties to the CEDAW Committee. This practical guide describes the process we employed and makes recommendations for researchers interested in collaborating with undergraduates on data collection that entails content coding. Lessons we learned throughout the project can be applied beyond the undergraduate context to collaborations with graduate students as well. In addition, while our project utilized content coding, lessons learned could easily extend to other forms of data collection.

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