Working with a faculty member on an existing research project is a great way to gain valuable experience in conducting research. Students learn important methods, skills, and tips on how to approach common challenges in research. Students also get the opportunity to work closely with prominent faculty at UT Austin, one of the nation's leading public research universities.
Students can assist a faculty member at any point in their academic career; however, students who are hoping to use that experience as a platform to one day pursue their own research, should probably participate in a faculty research project earlier in their academic career. The intent with this kind of pursuit is that students then have the tools and skills to pursue their own, separate, research project later.
You have never done research.
You're not sure if you want to dive into the commitment required of running your own project.
You appreciate the mentor/mentee relationship in a project.
You want to learn more about research methods in a particular area of study.
Are you able to devote 3-10 hours a week to a project?
What do you want to get out of your experience?
What are your expectations for the faculty member?
Do you want to explore a new subject or expand on one you're already studying?
How important is the mentor/mentee relationship to you?
Are you willing to work on the more mundane parts of a project or do you want to be in the middle of a crucial part of the project?
Do you want course credit?
Are your expectations for the project, the faculty member, and yourself reasonable?