Research is the heart of any study of science, and it's a great chance to get your hands dirty and pursue a subject in depth. The GS department encourages all majors to participate in research, and the opportunities for undergraduate research are numerous. The level of commitment and involvement is up to you:
The best way to get involved is to talk to faculty — maybe someone taught an interesting seminar and you want to pursue some outstanding questions, or perhaps you are interested in their field of expertise. Often, faculty members have ongoing projects you can join, or you can work with one of their graduate students. Perhaps you and a faculty member can carve out a new project for you to do. The possibilities are endless — you just need to start asking.
Check out information about research areas in GS and look at recent research projects
Talk to a faculty member whose research interests you
Discuss funding options with your advisor, and perhaps apply for funding
Lots of additional (and very helpful) information about undergraduate research at Stanford is available from Stanford's Undergraduate Advising and Research.
There are generally three possibilities for acquiring funding to perform research. These are:
grants from Stanford's Undergraduate Research Programs
grants through the GS Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
funding directly from your research advisor
You should discuss funding early on in the process with your research advisor. We can look at each of these in a little bit more detail.
Stanford's URP offers several types of grants for undergraduate research. The amount of support ranges from $500 to $5000, deadlines occur throughout the year. The URP offers abundant helpful advice about writing grant proposals at their website.
PDF of deadlines and qualifications for URP grants
Every year since 2002, the department has received funds from the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) for Summer Research Fellowships. Students interested in pursuing summer research then apply directly to the GS department for these funds, which provide up to $5000 for a ten-week summer stipend. Look for a Call for Proposals towards the beginning of winter quarter.
Your advisor may have funds available for you through one of their research grants. Ask you advisor about this possibility early on--don't assume that they will have funding for you.