Undergraduate students in every academic discipline will benefit from acquiring research experience
This is especially true of science students, many of whom will go on to careers in medicine, engineering, and academe, all of which demand skills developed in the laboratory.
Recognizing the critical value of laboratory experience to many of its customers, Unemployed Professors wants to help those with no or little background in research avoid the pitfalls and struggles that belabor so many undergraduates.
The following are a few tips, which if observed, guarantee the neophyte to laboratory work a positive first experience that heralds a promising future in research.
- Research Must Precede Research – Most launch a research career driven by the desire to gain research experience, without regard for personal interest, area of inquiry, or potential supervisor. They expedite the process by quickly glancing at the faculty list and emailing every member. The better approach is to begin with the science, and discover which specific areas are of personal appeal. Read extensively, attend lectures, and engage your professors to discover their research interests and activities. By doing this, you will be acting and thinking like a scientist, considering what you love, rather than blindly pursuing research for its own sake.
- Mentoring – Once you have identified the labs on campus that dovetail with your scientific interests, reach out to group members to learn more about the culture and environment. Look for labs which group members describe as unified and close, and possess a friendly, collaborative ethos rather than a competitive and condescending one.
- Begin Research by Reading Extensively – Once you have landed a research position, begin by first reading voraciously. Ask your mentor for all the relevant literature. No matter your role, knowing the state of the field will make you a more valuable asset.
- Establish a Healthy Balance – Though you may find research the most compelling aspect of your university education, strive to keep it in balance with classwork. Allocate large chunks of time to research, such as entire afternoons or whole days, since experimental work should not be rushed and is best performed uninterrupted. Just make sure that you are not dedicating multiple days per week to research, to the detriment of your studies.
- Secure Financial Support – You will be surprised at the variety of funding sources available to you, even as a novice researcher. For example, institutions often offer summer funding to worthy undergraduates. The US National Science Foundation offers a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. Additionally, universities, foundations, and academic societies offer many grants that can help you afford the expense of traveling to conferences to explore research interests and network with eminent scholars.
- Keep an Eye on the Big Picture – Research can have the drawback of focusing an undergraduate on a very narrow segment of a very broad field. Continue to take a range of courses and explore widely the scholarship in your chosen subject area.
With that in mind, ask the team of academic professionals at UnemployedProfessors.com any questions you may have regarding their college writing services and they will be more than happy to guide you along the arduous path!