Some students choose to pursue their own independent research project, which may have grown out of work on another project or the student's own passion for a particular area. The most common form of independent research is an honors thesis, but all students can undertake their own research project.
Ideally, a student will meet regularly with a faculty mentor who provides advice and encouragement throughout the project. Whether a student has participated in research before or not, a faculty member upon whom the student can rely on for feedback and direction can prove invaluable.
Students can pursue an independent research project at any time in their academic career; however, most students are not ready to pursue an independent research project until their third or fourth year. It takes time for students to establish their interests, become familiar with faculty and departments, and be able to fully utilize all of the university's resources.
You have already assisted with a faculty research project.
You understand the methods you will utilize to pursue your project and what goals you hope to achieve.
You have a research topic in mind.
Are you able to devote 8-12 hours a week to a project?
What do you want to get out of your experience?
What are your expectations for the faculty mentor?
Do you want to explore a new subject or expand on one you're already studying?
Are you able to work independently and stay on track?
Do you want course credit?
Are your expectations for the project and yourself reasonable?