Participating in research during college is important

Melanie Kelly, Courier Staff

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We have all gotten those emails from some graduate student asking to take their survey for their thesis. These emails are sent to random students in hopes of getting participants.

The first thought that comes to most students minds is to delete the email and move on with their day. I think it’s important to address that these surveys should not be blown off. As a research assistant, I now understand how important research is. Whether the research is for SONA through the psychology department or a graduate student’s research thesis proposal, it’s everywhere and it’s awesome. You are probably saying to yourself, “I do not conduct research so why does it matter?” The research surveys you are sent or the required hours of research participation you have to do for certain classes are so important! Most of the data collection for graduate students projects and other clubs and organizations come from the students. Taking one 15 minute study through SONA means the world to a researcher who is not getting a lot of data collection. It is also important to participate in research because you are helping research assistants understand how to conduct an experiment.

If you want to be a part of a research lab, creating and disbursing surveys can help you prepare for the research part of your major. Joining a faculty members research lab gives you advantages such as public speaking skills, respect from professors and content to build your resume. Building connections with faculty members in your department is a great way to open doors to new networking opportunities as well. Participating in research builds your critical thinking skills. If you are a researcher or a research assistant, it takes a lot of time and discipline to make sure you are collecting data and coding the right things.

I have been a research assistant in the psychology department for about three years now. I have worked on a total of four projects and it has been awesome. I feel so valued as a research assistant and I get to meet new people and experience new things at the same time. As a research assistant, you learn a lot about teamwork, whether that’s by collaborating with other research assistants or other faculty members. Research here on campus is very valuable to a lot of people.

So next time before deleting that survey sent to you from some random graduate student, contemplate how much it would mean to that researcher for you to take five minutes out of your day and complete that survey.

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