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What is Research?
Research is an exploration to establish new knowledge and facts.
Participating in research will allow you to learn more about research
techniques used in the process. Some of the possible jobs you may be
responsible for are searching literatures, collecting surveys,
conducting experiments, entering data, analyzing data, and much more!
Why Should I Get Involved in Research?
Graduate school: If you are planning to attend graduate school, research is something you should strongly consider. Research experience will give you an idea of graduate studies, because you will be doing a lot more of research in graduate school. Research-based graduate programs will look for research experience when reviewing your application. It also helps you to determine what area of Psychology you may be interested in.
Direct experiences: Research allows you to learn by direct experience in addition to what you have learned in class. It is an exciting opportunity to learn and further what you have learned in class to investigate and establish new facts.
Relationship with faculty: Through research you may be able to build close relationship with faculty, graduate students, and other research group members. You can ask questions about graduate school or the field of Psychology through this connection. The University of Michigan is a large school and it may be hard to have a chance of a close relationship with faculty. Research is one opportunity to foster a relationship with faculty. Such close relationship with faculty are important if you need recommendation letters in the future, since doing research with them will allow them to observe you closely and know you better in person.
Lab requirement: Research may fulfill your experiential based lab requirement for Psychology, BCN, or Neuroscience. However, you must check with a psychology Academic Advisor about the specific requirement.
When Should I Get Involved in Research?
There is no class level limit in getting involved in research. It is advisory to start your research experience as soon as you have topics of interest. This way, you will have more time to explore your opportunities. If you find the research you are doing intriguing, you will have more time to study the subject in depth. If you find the research you are doing is not your top choice and not corresponding to your expectations, you will still have time to try something new.
How Do I Get Involved in Research?
Psychology Research Laboratories: On this website you will see a list of Psychology Labs by area of psychology.
Faculty Research Interests: This website will allow you to search for faculty who are doing research with your topic of interest. If a list of faculty appears after your search, check their research and teaching interests description on their profile. Contact the faculty if you want to know more about their research project or want to ask for opportunities to work in their lab.
How do I Contact Faculty? What Should I Say?
Some labs have a link to apply for positions on their lab website while others include contact information. You can also contact the faculty member directly. All contact information is listed on their faculty profile.
When contacting faculty to sponsor you for an independent study course or undergraduate research assistant position, we recommend that you treat it as if it were a professional job interview. It is expected that you have done some background research on the faculty, their publications and current research projects. Explain how you will be an asset to the lab, and how this experience will help you as you develop your career path. Provide a resume with examples of leadership, self-motivation, and dedication to work tasks.
Contact faculty early if you plan to register for course credit. Students interested in research should plan to spend at least two semesters working in a lab. Therefore, students need to contact faculty early in their career to pursue these opportunities, which are an asset to Psychology graduate admission applications (and often the most important component of the application).