Here are some additional tips for becoming involved with undergraduate research:
1. Reaching Out to Graduate Teaching Assistants
Do you have a favorite psychology subject course that you have taken? Try talking with the Graduate Student Teaching Assistant of that course to get a better of idea of the kind of research that he or she may be involved in. There’s a good chance that your TA will be involved with research that is related to the content of the course you are interested in. Talking with your TA will give you a better idea of ongoing research in the field.
2. Reaching out to Professors
Do you have a favorite psychology professor? Why don’t you look up their lab website online or even approach them during their office hours to see if they are currently recruiting undergraduate research assistants in their lab? It can’t hurt to inquire about research positions, especially if you are interested in the course material that they teach.
3. Reaching out to other students
Your peers can often be a vital source of information concerning research opportunities. Try to seek out other students who are a few grade levels above you and are currently working as a research assistant. You can ask them about their experiences working in different labs, and what they did to find their first research opportunity.
4. Exploring Different Lab Groups
Are you currently assisting in a lab, but have interests in other subject areas? Why don’t you ask around about opportunities in other labs? Sometimes it is possible (if you have enough time and energy to devote), to participate as a research assistant in multiple labs. Participating in multiple labs may give you a better sense of what kind of research you are really passionate about. It is easy to stay in one research lab and to feel like this is the only type of research being conducted. However, it is important to stay informed of additional or alternative possibilities.
5. Exploring Additional Opportunities
In addition to volunteering, getting research credit, or getting paid to work in a research lab during the school year, it is also possible to get research experience during the summer months! Professors and graduate students don’t stop working over the summer (despite common perceptions that all teachers get their summers off) and often need help with research tasks during the summer. Try asking your peers, TAs, and Professors about summer research opportunities both on and off campus. Often if you ask around, you can find opportunities at other college campuses and you can even gain research expertise in a non-academic context. Non-profit or private sector organizations will sometimes hire summer interns to help with data related tasks that would help prepare you for a research position in the sciences.