This article, “Psychology: Research Experience Tips,” was written while I was at Carnegie Mellon University.
Students seeking research positions are often unaware of the skills which they have to offer or the ways in which they might expect to be valued and compensated. The following suggestions are provided:
Before you get started, it is important to credential yourself by obtaining skills and knowledge that your potential employer will value in an employee. You can do this in several ways. These include:
Let’s say that you have followed these recommendations and after several aborted efforts, you found a research position. How do you go about sharing your research experience with others and why?
First, remember all of those generous people who mentored and guided you? Now, you can do the same for others who are less experienced and/or less aware of the opportunities that are available. This can be a truly gratifying experience for you. Once you gain experience, you will be able to critique yourself by asking, “If there were a next time, what would I do differently?” Mentoring allows you to bask in the glory of someone else’s success.
Second, you actually may have meaningful research findings which should be shared with others in the field. Talk with the person for whom you worked to see if they feel that you played a significant enough role to present their research at a National or Regional Conference. Alternatively, with the support and guidance of your boss/mentor present your research at an Undergraduate Research Conference.
Finally, if you are a student here at CMU, publish your research in the internal undergraduate research journal. If you are not a student at CMU, see if your department has such a journal; if they do not, investigate the possibility of starting one! You can be certain that you will meet many interesting faculty, administrators and colleagues in the process.