Why Become involved in a Research, Scholarship, or Creative Project?

There are lots of myths about faculty-student research, scholarship and creativity as well as reasons why students should get involved.

  

Myth 

I don’t know what to do for research, scholarship or creativity looking for fish

Reality

Professors love to talk about their projects. All you need to do is make an appointment to talk to them about the possibilities. The professor will share with you some ideas of projects you could do and the nature of that work. Every professor is different in their philosophy of how they work with students, so ask them! Also “shop around”; talk with a couple of professors before you decide. Be aware that some profs may have a full group and may not be taking new students.


Myth

Research, Scholarship or Creative Projects are done in the library.

Reality

These projects take place in a wide range of places: in the laboratory, outdoors, in a dance or art studio, or in the library. You will be introduced to a new "home base" where you can do your project, learn from fellow students, and hangout and get to know your professor!


Myth

Listing “research” on my resume will make me more employable.

Reality

Having a faculty/student project on your resume might enhance your opportunities after you graduate. However if this is the only reason you are seeking research, you should rethink your motives. Most professors are looking for students interested in learning and not just resume searching for moonwortsbuilding.


Myth

Faculty/student projects are too hard and my grades aren’t good enough.

Reality

The most important attributes for faculty/student research is self-motivation and interest. You need enthusiasm and be willing to commit time to learn. What you learn usually involves concepts outside of textbook memorization, so a C+ students may still be a quick learner in the studio or laboratory. The opposite can be true, however: the A+ memorizer is not guaranteed an easy time being involved in a faculty/student project!


Myth

I don’t have time to become involved in a research project.

Reality

The time needed for faculty-student research, scholarship, and creativity varies considerably depending on the kind of project you work on. Some projects require specific time commitments whereas others are can be done on your own schedule. It is important however to know that you must commit yourself to this project. Signing up for research and then showing a weak effort is worse than not signing up for research.


Myth

I can do research, music, 5 different clubs, 3 service activities, sports and carry 5 credits.

Reality

As outlined above, being engaged in a faculty/student project takes time and a serious commitment. Don’t seek research opportunities unless you are willing to make it a priority and adjust other activities accordingly.


Myth

This isn't worth my time if I don’t get academic credit on my transcript.

Reality

You might learn more by being engaged in a faculty-student research than you will in a classroom setting. You will likely learn many new techniques, how to think critically and solve problems, and how to present the results in writing and orally.


Myth

Professors are scary and hard to approach.

Reality

Professors love to work with students. These students often become close friends with professors and generally become a part of the ‘lab family’. The camaraderie established between the students and professor is unique and long-lasting. The professor you choose to do research with is someone who can provide career advice and a really strong letter of recommendation. (A letter of recommendation from a professor for a research experience allows the prof to address many issues not covered in a class setting and can be an asset to the student.)


Myth

I will have to give scary presentations on my research.

Reality

Part of doing research is communicating results. This means that when you have results you guptil seminarwill want to present them. This may take a semester or a couple of years depending on your project. Your research prof will help you learn how to present your results so it isn’t scary. After all, you will become the expert on your research topic and know more about it than anyone else!

Information on this page is based on suggestions from Dr. Cindy Johnson-Groh.