Once you are ready to start doing research you have two approaches:
- Start Your Own Project
- Join a Faculty Member or Lab
Start Your Own Research Project
Starting your own project requires a lot of initial work and planning before you can truly get started on conducting research. You may have the inclination to skip over the steps involved or brush over some areas, but you should ignore those temptations. Putting the proper time and effort in at the start will make the rest of your efforts much smoother.
Developing a Proposal
To help you with your efforts, we recommend that you begin by completing a UROP research proposal worksheet. Completing this worksheet will assist you clarify your research question and with focusing your efforts. You can also use this document when you approach potential faculty mentors during the next step.
There are further instructions and guidance within this worksheet, but if you have any questions while completing it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you’ve completed the worksheet, move on to the next section.
Join a Faculty Member or Lab
Faculty are an incredibly valuable resource and present the most effective opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate student. Most students find a faculty mentor two different ways:
- they approach faculty they already know from a course or some other activity.
- they seek out a faculty member that does research in the area they are interested in.
Approach faculty you know
Consider faculty that you already know. Look into what type of research they are doing or have done in the past – this information should be available online in their faculty profile. If the faculty member has done research that aligns with your interests you can do two things:
- If they have open office hours listed you may visit them during that time.
- If they don’t have open office hours, you can contact them to inquire about their openness to working with undergraduate students and potentially schedule a meeting.
Find faculty that are doing research in your area of interest
- Speak with your advisor and let them know that you are interested in doing research. Provide them with details on your subject and ask if they know of any faculty doing research in your area of interest.
- Search for faculty on the department websites. Faculty typically have profiles with biographical information and the areas they are performing research in. They may even have a list of their most recent publications. Remember, before contacting faculty that you don’t know, spend some time becoming familiar with their work.
- Use our UROP – sample email to faculty when contacting faculty if you’re unsure about proper etiquette.
- No matter what option you select, make sure you are prepared for your first meeting. Faculty have many responsibilities, especially during the school year, so there time is very valuable, as is yours. Be able and prepared to talk about yourself your academic, professional, and research experiences thus far; your areas of academic interest and the research you’re interested in; and why you want to conduct research with them specifically.