Doing research as an undergraduate student not only enriches one’s classroom experience but also broadens one’s horizons by manifolds. Experience in research sharpens the critical thinking and problem solving skills of an individual and gives them an edge over competitors during admission and recruitment. However, embarking on this rewarding path can often be intimidating as students lack the knowledge and means to get the ball rolling. Lucky for you, we’ve come up with a simple guide on how undergraduate students can get started in research! 

  • Identify your field of interest: Any undergrad student can engage in research irrespective of subject he/she is majoring in. The first and the most overwhelming step that they need to take is identify the field that interests them. Students discover ‘n’ number of topics that appeals to them through peers, current events, their course of study etc.  All they need to do is map out those interests and pick a winner. This decision also needs to take factors like purpose and scope of research, literature review, availability of resources and more, into consideration. 
  • Reach out to your professors: Most professors at a university are engaged in research programs and are on lookout for students who can assist them. You can reach out to such faculty via email or talk to them directly about your desire to volunteer to work with them. One meeting might be enough to put you on the right track; even if their research doesn’t turn out to be the right fit for you, they might agree to mentor you or introduce you to their colleagues who are open to hiring research assistants. The key is to be resilient and prove your calibre to them.  
  • Look for off-campus opportunities:  Keep an eye out for research opportunities outside the campus. There are plenty of universities and organizations that engage in research projects round the year and seek motivated students to join them in different roles and capacities. It is also common for independent researchers with major grants to rely on university students for tasks like statistical analysis, data collection etc. Students can learn about such opportunities from fellow students and seniors, websites of other universities, state and national level research events and conferences, and more. 

Conclusion: It is no longer the heyday of academic scores only. Recruiters and universities now seek candidates who can bring something more to the table than just textbook knowledge and we assure you that research experience will do the trick. Moreover, doing research as an undergrad student will enable you explore particular field as potential career very early in life and save you a lot of headache in future. We, therefore, encourage you to get going our beginner’s guide to undergraduate research and get ready to reap these advantages! 

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