Learning through Discovery FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Learning through Discovery Initiative?

The Learning through Discovery Initiative is the University of Houston ’s comprehensive Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).  The initiative promotes a teaching and learning culture supportive of research in all disciplines for all undergraduate students. The initiative focuses on 1) providing research skills training and 2) expanding student research opportunities both on and off campus.

What are the goals of the initiative?

These goals of the initiative were cited in the UH QEP Report:

  • Undergraduate research should be a signature program for UH, one that makes the University more attractive to potential students with records of strong academic achievement.
  • Undergraduate students at UH will participate in some level of research activity by the time they receive their bachelor’s degrees.
  • By the time they graduate, UH students will have a fundamental understanding of research and its importance to society.
  • The number of students participating in a research-related group project will grow.
  • A growing proportion of undergraduate research opportunities will be interdisciplinary in nature.
  • The number of students participating in research experiences who are selected for presentation will grow.
  • Undergraduate student retention will improve.
  • The six-year graduation rate of first-time in college students and the four-year graduation rate of transfers beginning with 60 or more credit hours will improve.
  • External funding for undergraduate research will grow.

What research skills are students expected to learn and practice?

This definition of research was adopted by the UH QEP Planning Committee to be broadly inclusive of research in all disciplines:

Research is a diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in
order to discover facts or principles, and increase the sum of knowledge,
enhance design, or enrich artistic ability.

These QEP Student Learning Outcomes were cited in the UH QEP Report:

  • Students will be able to formulate a research question or problem.
  • Students will be able to identify basic principles and knowledge related to their research question or problem.
  • Students will be able to develop a research plan to address or resolve a specific question or problem.
  • Students will be able to collect and interpret data and information in an attempt to resolve the question or problem.
  • Students will demonstrate awareness of the responsible conduct of research.
  • Students will be able to articulate their research findings through written, performance, and/or oral presentations.

Many of skills specified in QEP Student Learning Outcomes are reflected in the research cycle:

What are the benefits of the initiative to UH students? 

  • Add value to your degree.  Learning and practicing research skills that will make you a valued contributor in your chosen career.  You will be learning skills that will help you keep up with the changing pace of your field in the future and succeed in today’s global market.
  • Rise above the competition.  Research skills are essential to employers and make you more competitive in the industry and on the job market when you graduate.
  • Prepare for further studies.  If you are interested in pursuing graduate or professional studies beyond your bachelor’s degree, you will benefit from experience in research projects with mentors or from real-world team projects for clients.
  • Connect with mentors and professionals. You will have opportunities to network with mentors and professionals who will offer advice and may help open doors for your future employment.

Who can participate?

The Discovery programs and services are available to all enrolled UH undergraduate students.  All students are eligible to use online eDiscovery resources, enroll in courses, attend workshops and events, practice with tutorials, and connect with mentors. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows may participate but preference for limited capacity events will be given to undergraduates.  Research internships are open for all eligible students to apply.  Some opportunities require that applicants meet financial aid or minimum GPA qualifications.

What is the role of UH faculty and staff?

Faculty and staff teach and mentor students in research skills by offering research-based courses and workshops, providing resources and services to support research, and mentoring students engaging in research in class, laboratory, campus offices, or local community.

What is the role of alumni and mentors?

Professionals, artists, and scholars – including our many UH alumni – mentor students by sharing their experiences and advice as registered Reality Chats Speakers.  They also volunteer to mentor student project teams or judge student projects, presentations, performances, and exhibitions. 

What is the role of the business and non-profit organizations?

Businesses and non-profit organizations help train the future workforce by offering opportunities for students to engage in research projects in real-world settings to hone their research skills.  They create and post research internships and post projects in the Real-World Team Projects Registry.  Corporations and foundations may also sponsor resources and programs or make in-kind contributions to support the initiative.

What is eDiscovery?

eDiscovery is the portal to searchable databases that will facilitate connections between students, the campus community, and the Houston area community.   The Discovery website and eDiscovery together provide a one-stop information resource for students, faculty, staff, and the community.  Some features of eDiscovery will be launched starting in February 2009.  Contact to request an account.  eDiscovery Overview (PDF)

How do I find out more information and become involved?

Visit the information gateways at to learn more about Discovery resources and programs.