Photo: Participants in the Student Summer Research Poster Session, Grinnell College.

The ROLE survey and related research

Research on Learning and Education (ROLE) Award and Current Work

Originally funded by the National Science Foundation

If you wish to proceed directly to the survey, click here.


The ROLE survey is an assessment instrument for students in any field of research. The NSF ROLE supported work described here was funded in 2000 for an initial period of three years. The work produced both the ROLE survey (see Lopatto, D., 2003. The essential features of undergraduate research. Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, 24 (March), 139-142) and the qualitative research undertaken by Elaine Seymour and her colleagues at the University of Colorado (Seymour, E., Hunter, A-B., Laursen, S.L., & DeAntoni, T. 2004. Establishing the benetifs of research experiences for undergraduates in the sciences: first findings from a three-year study. Science Education, 88, 493-534). More presentations and unpublished reports based on the ROLE survey and its correspondence with the qualitative research are presented below.

The ROLE survey has been modified to accommodate student respondents from any academic major or field of research. By comparison, the SURE survey and CURE survey are more specialized for science education.

The following are presentations and unpublished reports based on the ROLE survey and its correspondence with the qualitative research.

Reports on the ROLE survey

The following are brief unpublished reports on the results of the ROLE survey and its correspondence with the interview-based research of co-PI Elaine Seymour. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. If the reader uses this information please use proper citation. (You will need free Adobe Reader to view PDF files.)

Participate in the ROLE Survey

Click here for the ROLE survey. The survey is not password protected, and may be used with proper citation. Notice that the use of the survey online sends the data to Grinnell College. Please contact Professor Lopatto ( before asking your students to use the survey.


The ROLE survey was originally tested at four liberal arts colleges, although it has been used at other institutions since its inception. The principal findings of the survey were used in the construction of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences survey, supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. While the two surveys share important learning items, the ROLE survey has been modified for brevity and for language, that is, the items are not targeted specifically for science students. The SURE survey has science-specific language. More information about the SURE survey may be found at:

Program Information
NSF Division: Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication
Program Officer: Elizabeth VanderPutten
Program Officer Contacts: (703) 292-8650

NSF Award Abstract #0087611
GC Press Release (Oct. 11, 2000)

GC Principal Investigator, Professor of Psychology: David Lopatto

National Dissemination Activities:
Principal Investigators Meeting, January 11-12, 2001

Prof Lopatto cited in Science article:
Science. August 31, Vol. 293, pgs. 1614-1615.

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Last updated on August 31, 2009

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