You know you want to research, but just don’t know how to get started. See the steps below to find a mentor and project.
1) Look at faculty web pages. Most of them have ongoing research. Look at research paper titles listed on their pages to get an idea of the research they do. You will be amazed at what research opportunities are out there.
2) Access the Research Database (listed at the bottom). Look through all the lab opportunities, rather than only in your major. It doesn’t have to be within your department. Think: graduate school, professional school, or area you have as an interest. Not all research opportunities are listed, so continue with the steps below.
3) Compile a list of 10 potential mentors and their office information. Read a research paper from each faculty member to see if it is an area or topic you like. A library can help with no cost access.
4) Make an appointment with your top picks. Contact them, but do not expect them to be free immediately. They get hundreds of emails, so if you do not hear back, contact them again. Or go to their office during office hours! Read the paper again, and do not go in unprepared. Take an unofficial transcript, resume, and your schedule.
5) Have your answer ready to the question, “Why do you want to do research on my project?” You won’t be able to answer this with out having read a paper or two and giving it some thought. What is it about this particular project that interested you? What can you offer – hard work, willingness to be as helpful as possible, etc. Also, know up front how many hours you can contribute to the research – 8-10 hours a week? What days, blocks of time?
There are many reasons why someone you have selected may say no to your request. That is why you have 10 people on your list. If you get 9 no’s, knock on the 10th door. If you get 10 nos, make an appointment with Drs. Bissell or Jackie Harrison, and we will help you with your search.
Be polite, persistent, and passionate!