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Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How are Nelson Program research assistantships different from other research assistantships?

1. Nelson Program students complete Community Based Research.

  • Nelson Program projects support the student’s learning, but the primary goal is to produce a deliverable for the client organization.
  • The student brings expertise beyond the knowledge of the staff of the organization, and completes a research project that the organization would otherwise be unable to complete.

2. Nelson Program research assistantships are temporary

  • Each research project is awarded a specific number of hours in which to complete the project.
  • The project is a process that is carried through to completion. The end
    product will be a deliverable to be given to the community organization. Usually this is in the form of a final report.

3. Nelson Program research is completed in and for the community

  • The community organization in which you will be working wrote a research proposal to NPCR regarding an issue important to their community.
  • Although the Nelson Program is funding your time, you are also accountable to the community organization, and the work you do is for them.

View sample NPCR projects using the CURA Project Database.

So, am I working for the Nelson Program or the community organization?

The Nelson Program research assistantship can be a bit confusing. The Nelson Program is funding the research project and your time. You will complete hiring paperwork at CURA (the Nelson Program's administrative home at the University of Minnesota), turn in your time cards to us, and be responsible for participating in a work plan meeting with Nelson Program staff and your community supervisor before the project begins. You will also complete a mid-point check-in about midway through the project; this is a tool for the Nelson Program to keep up-to-date on your progress. At the end of the
project, you will complete a final report that will be given to the community organization and the Nelson Program. The Nelson Program will have the report bound and sent to you and all of the involved parties. Nelson Program staff are a resource for you during your research. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

See the CURA Community-Based Research Orientation Packet for more information.