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Initially published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 16, 2007 on page B5.

© 2007 The Chronicle of Higher Education


There are two main settings for puzzle solving in higher education: graduate programs, with professors and both graduate and postdoctoral students; and predominantly undergraduate institutions, with professors and students. Research programs at large universities are well-oiled puzzle-solving machines. Graduate students there work long, hard hours in the laboratory, under the supervision of postdocs and professors. Students at predominantly undergraduate institutions, on the other hand, can rarely devote more than 10 hours a week to research during the academic year, what with course work; extracurricular activities, like sports; jobs; and other commitments. In this article, the author describes "guerrilla puzzling," a model for research that should be considered by faculty members at predominantly undergraduate institutions to help them achieve both their research and pedagogical goals. It is cost-efficient, its time span is appropriate for undergraduate participants, and it can produce significant results. It is a great way to get students involved in research at an early stage in their academic careers.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.