Mentee Curricula and Training: Entering Research

Entering research book coverEntering Research is an evidence-based, active learning curriculum designed to level the research playing field for undergraduate and graduate research trainees from historically underrepresented groups, introduce trainees to the culture of research, support development of the skills trainees need to successfully navigate the research training environment and their mentoring relationships, and create a more welcoming research environment for all trainees. This curriculum was originally developed for use with trainees across science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical (STEMM) disciplines.

Originally published in 2010, Entering Research has undergone significant revision and expansion in preparation for the release of the second edition. A team of 27 scholars representing 15 institutions revised the original curriculum and contributed new activities to better address the needs of undergraduate and graduate research trainees in STEM disciplines. The 2nd edition of Entering Research includes 96 activities targeting seven areas of trainee development.

Branchaw, J. L., Butz, A. R., & Smith, A. R. (in press). Entering Research (2nd ed.). New York: Macmillan

Themes and Concepts

The Entering Research curriculum supports research trainee development in the following seven areas.

  • Research Comprehension & Communication Skills (RCC). Activities in this area help trainees develop a deep understanding of their research project by requiring them to write about and present their research to others. Through writing and presenting, trainees interact with colleagues, in particular their mentor, and have the opportunity to establish and cultivate professional relationships and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Practical Research Skills (PRS). Activities in this area provide scaffolded support to trainees as they progress through their research project. Trainees are required to explain the methods they are using to conduct research, the rationale for selecting those methods, the nature and value of the data they are collecting, and their approach to analyzing the data.
  • Research Ethics (RE). Activities in this area raise awareness and provide opportunities to explore how to recognize and respond to unethical behavior in the research environment.
  • Researcher Identity (RID). Activities in this area help trainees develop their identity as a researcher in the discipline and provide opportunities to explore how their emerging identity as a researcher can integrate with other identities that are important to them (e.g., cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic identities).
  • Researcher Confidence & Independence (RCI). Activities in this area encourage trainees to take ownership of their research projects and to become progressively more independent in conducting research, analyzing and interpreting data, and making decisions about the next steps in their projects.
  • Equity & Inclusion Awareness & Skills (EIA). Activities in this area provide opportunities to explore the benefits and challenges of individual differences in the research environment. Various perspectives are explored and trainees learn strategies to engage cultural capital to support progress, successfully navigate challenges, and contribute as members of diverse research teams.
  • Professional & Career Development Skills (PDS). Activities in this area raise trainee awareness of a variety of research and research related careers, allowing them to explore which may be the right fit for them. Trainees also consider the skills, knowledge and types of experiences they will need to prepare for various career paths


Our mentee training materials are designed for those who wish to implement process-based, professional development workshops, courses, or programs for undergraduate and graduate research trainees. The materials are designed to be used as part of a learning community, where trainees share and learn from one another.


The goal of our mentee training is to empower trainees to get the most out of their research experiences by providing guidance, structure, and a place to reflect as they navigate the ups and downs of doing research. Trainees need to develop skills to effectively work with their mentors and navigate the research environment. Entering Research training is an evidence-based, structured approach to help trainees develop these skills.


Entering Research mentee training is for undergraduate and graduate research trainees.


Ideally, Entering Research is implemented by local facilitators (typically research training program directors) over many weeks, months or semesters as trainees engage in their research learning experiences. However, select components of the curriculum can be implemented as stand-alone workshops facilitated by CIMER Principal Facilitators or local trained facilitators.

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Mentee Entering Research Facilitator Training is also available for those interested in learning how to design and implement a custom Entering Research training curriculum at their own institution or organization.

Complete Mentee Curricula


Complete curricula are organized by implementation type

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Custom Mentee Curricula


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Copyright information

CIMER mentor/mentee training curricula (“CIMER Curricula”) are based upon the curriculum in the publication Entering Mentoring (Pfund, Branchaw, and Handelsman, 2014) and Entering Research (Branchaw, Butz, & Smith, 2019) and are used/adapted with permission from W.H. Freeman/Macmillan Learning.

Copyrights for the CIMER Curricula are managed by CIMER and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research on behalf of each work’s respective author[s]. The user of the CIMER Curricula shall have and is hereby granted a limited license to copy and distribute the CIMER Curricula for personal and educational in-service uses only. Any use of the CIMER Curricula shall maintain the provided attribution[s]. Any use of the CIMER Curricula beyond this limited license requires express written permission from CIMER.