The Social Work integrative Research Lab (SWiRL), which began in spring 2015, provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in various research projects, while also developing mentoring relationships with graduate students and faculty.
Graduate Research Supervisors have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by mentoring undergraduate students. Undergraduate Research Assistants conduct literature reviews, transcribe audio recordings, code and analyze data, and participate in data interpretation and dissemination.
SWiRL projects are both qualitative and quantitative in a variety of areas, including health inequities, advanced care planning, juvenile justice and child welfare, inter-generational mobility, non-pharmacological interventions for individuals living with dementia, and kinship care. SWiRL holds regular seminars so students can learn about various research topics and approaches.
SWiRL received a Project Scholarship Development grant from Mason’s Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, & Research (OSCAR) for the 2016-17 academic year. The grant has allowed the lab to expand the program during the summer months and explore future opportunities to become a self-sustaining research lab. A 2017 original article describing the features and benefits of participation in SWiRL is available in the Journal of Social Work Education.