If you don't take the commitment seriously, are unreliable, or make repeated mistakes, your relationship with the faculty member will suffer (as will your recommendation). Speaking as a professor in psychology here (in Australia, but originally from the US so I know the system in both places)... there's a big difference if you want to get paid for it, or if you just want to contribute time in exchange for learning about how a lab works, whether research is for you, etc. Your experience will vary by the faculty member, project, and discipline. However, there is a positive payoff from conducting research with faculty only if you perform competent work consistently. What general tasks can you expect? I imagine there are similar resources for clinical research. "Research experience is the best preparation for graduate school, and these days is virtually a requirement," she says. And, if you decide to pursue research, you'll gain connections in the scientific and academic community, and have a nice boost to your resume. If you decide to work with a faculty member on his or her research, treat it as a primary responsibility -- and reap the rewards. How do I get research experience post-graduation? I'm interested in going either to medical school or getting my PhD, and regardless of which one I choose, I've been advised that getting research experience is a big plus and can help elevate your resume. If you complete tasks competently, you might be asked to take on more responsibility and you will earn excellent letters of recommendation. As you can see, student-professor research relationships offer benefits to all involved; however, the commitment to become a research assistant is a big one. To find research opportunities, ask professors from your undergraduate psychology courses if they need research assistants or want to take on independent study students. Let the faculty know that you're interested in getting involved in research. Get outstanding letters of recommendation. Some assistants might administer surveys, maintain and operate lab equipment, or care for animals. It's your responsibility to ensure that aspects of the research project get done. Aside from the thrill of generating new knowledge, assisting a professor with research provides many other valuable opportunities including: Engaging in research is a worthwhile experience, regardless of whether you choose to attend graduate school, because it provides you with the opportunity to think, organize information, and demonstrate your commitment, reliability, and capacity for research. You could get that experience by committing to several months of volunteering as a research assistant for some professor. Could you look into recruiting people for clinical trials or perhaps being a study manager? The faculty member will count on you to get it done right. These positions do pop up from time to time, but mostly at big institutions connected to schools of medicine or a hospital. Ask MetaFilter is a question and answer site that covers nearly any question on earth, where members help each other solve problems. Look up Pittsburgh's Hot Metal Bridge program. How can you increase your odds of acceptance, and better yet, funding? Another data point - I'm currently a grad student in cognitive science, and right now the postings for post-undergrad type research assistant positions (typically 1-year, occasionally 2-year commitments) are starting to pile up on the listservs I'm a member of. How Do You Get Involved as a Research Assistant? Did you know that there are benefits for faculty too? I went about contacting profs at a local university, via e-mail, completely out of the blue inquiring if they had research opportunities for someone with a bachelor's degree looking to get some experience before applying to grad school. Maybe the equivalent exists in your hospitals. ANY research experience is good research experience. Having had some money saved up, I said that I would work for free. Im in the UK and the NHS employs people to recruit patients into trials and studies. Many faculty members have ideas for studies that they don't have time to conduct -- motivated students can pick up projects and help to further faculty research programs. She specializes in professional development for undergraduate and graduate students. Research jobs aren't that hard to get, but I've never heard of anyone being hired without previous research experience. They might be able to help. How do I get research experience after graduating college? Top 11 Best Aerospace Engineering Schools for Undergraduates, 12 Best Economics Schools for Undergraduates, Great Summer Engineering Programs for High School Students, How to Email Professors at Prospective Grad Schools, Thanking a Professor for Writing a Recommendation Letter, How to Get a Recommendation Letter for Graduate School, Applying to Graduate Programs in Clinical or Counseling Psychology, How to Ace the Graduate School Admissions Interview, How to Get Recommendation Letters for Grad School, Don'ts for Getting Letters of Recommendation for Grad School, Types of Financial Aid for Graduate Students, How to Write a Successful Personal Statement for Graduate School, Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Fordham University, M.A., Developmental Psychology, Fordham University, Gaining skills and knowledge that aren't easily learned in the classroom, Exposure to methods and techniques that will help you complete your research and, Get writing and public speaking practice by submitting papers to professional conferences and journals, Collect data by administering surveys, interviews, or running research protocols, Score, code, and enter data into a spreadsheet or statistical analysis program, Conduct general library research including literature searches, making copies of articles, and ordering unavailable articles and books through interlibrary loan, Use computer skills such as word processing, spreadsheet, scheduling, and statistical analysis programs, Assist in preparing submissions for local or regional conferences and, if accepted, work on a poster or oral presentations for professional conferences, Assist faculty in preparing a manuscript to submit the results of your collaborative research to a scientific journal. 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