Assisting with a Faculty Research Project
What to do once you've decided you want to do research...
1. Establish your interests.
- What topics intrigue you?
- Are you willing to commit a large amount of time to the exploration of a particular topic?
- Think back on previous classes, volunteering or work experience, books you've read, papers you've written, and lectures you've attended.
2. Identify faculty who share your interests.
- Search for undergraduate opportunities in faculty research on the Undergraduate Research Opportunities page.
- Search faculty members on EUREKA!
- Look at departments relevant to your interests and search the faculty pages.
- Think back on classes you have taken and consider if any previous professors might be a good fit.
3. Consider course credit.
- Many majors offer upper-division conference courses. Students can register for these courses to receive course credit for their research.
- Some departments have a specific course in which students assist with a faculty research project. For example, PSY 357 requires its students to seek out a faculty member and assist with their research.
- UGS 310 and 320 are also available through the School of Undergraduate Studies.
- See Course Credit for more information.
4. Get organized.
- Consider what you are hoping to bring to the project and what skills you are hoping to gain from it.
- Investigate what the faculty member has been working on (research, publications) and think of questions you may have about their work.
- Think about your availability in a realistic way and consider how much time you can actually commit to the project.
- Ensure you can clearly articulate your interests.
- Think about how your school/work load might affect your reliability.
5. Make contact.
- Send the faculty member an e-mail.
- Address the professor as "Dr." and be respectful.
- Tell the professor a little about yourself and your interests, that you are interested in assisting them with their research, and that you would like to set up a meeting to discuss it.
- Don't be discouraged if the faculty member is not looking for anyone at that time - ask if they can recommend someone else and try again.
6. Meet with the faculty member.
- When you meet with faculty, be prepared to discuss the items from step 4.
- Dress neatly and be confident and relaxed.
- Ask the professor to outline what he/she would expect from you in terms of time commitment and skills necessary to complete the research.
- Discuss course credit if it is something you are interested in.
7. Reflect after the meeting.
- Reflect and consider if both of your expectations could be met if you worked together.
- If it's not a good fit, be sure to tell the faculty member - politely but directly ¬- and ask if the faculty member can recommend someone else. You may want to go back to step 2.
- If it is a good fit, and the faculty member agrees, proceed in outlining the expectations described in the next step.
8. Outline expectations for the project.
- Decide on a start date for your work on the project.
- Set up weekly or biweekly meetings.
- Make arrangements for course credit if you are going to pursue it.