|FAQs and Application
These documents are intended to help you decide if you want to be a research assistant in my lab and how to go about the application process. I have received input from several of my research assistants in order to provide you with a realistic preview of what lab work would be like.
|What is an RA?
A research assistant helps out on lab tasks of their supervisor. I study industrial/organization psychology, specifically, personality, emotion, prosocial work behaviors (OCB), antisocial work behaviors (CWB), mentoring, and job stress. As an RA, you would be expected to familairize yourself with the lab duties, personnel, policies, and also topics studied in the lab. I would recommend against entering a lab that does not interest you.
What do RAs do, usually?
It depends. It depends on the supervisor, and it depends on the time of the year. Some supervisors hand you tons of data entry or data collection, etc. I ask my students to do various tasks, depending on the time of year. Research is a very varied process. Sometimes you are doing literature review, then sometimes you are collecting data. Othertimes you are analyzing data or writing up the results. Research has ebbs and flows and your tasks are consistent with what is happening in the lab. Researchers in my lab, regardless of what I am doing, engage in a multitude of tasks. Sometimes it is dominated by one task in particular (usually data collection or data entry) and sometimes you do a different thing each time you come into the lab.
What tasks will I do in your lab?
Students participate in EVERY part of the research project, including the literature review, critiquing articles, finding articles, and getting them from the library. Students also help collect data, and then enter it into the computer. Students help with data analysis and even writing up or presenting the results.
What do you expect of me?
I ask for between 4-8 hours a week and AT LEAST a two semester commitment. I also require an extensive training program before the semester starts (usually 8 hours spread over two days). After two lateness or missed lab sessions without warning, you will be asked to leave the lab on the spot.
What do I get out of it?
Being an RA makes you more competitive if you plan to pursue graduate school. Three of my students have had posters presented at major conferences as first or second authors based on projects from my lab, and they have been accepted to their choice of graduate institution. I'm not making promises, but it's really very beneficial. Furthermore, you have the opportunity of getting a letter of recommendation, provided you do good work. Also, the experience is useful in helping you determine if you want to go to graduate school, and prepares you with some of the tools you need to succeed in graduate school.
Can I get paid for this?
Not at the moment. There is a potential I may apply for and earn a grant, but that is not on the horizon.
Can I at least get credit for it?
You can earn up to three credits towards the psychology major for this assistantship. I ask for 2-3 hours per credit so you might want to spread that over several semesters. Also, you can earn up to three additional credits towards your electives.
Do I qualify to be an RA?
Research assistants are asked to do certain tasks that are pivotal in the lab functioning, and henceforth, my career. You are asked to do tasks last minute, with little guidance, and with a tight deadline. People who want to be an RA must be intelligent, creative, resourceful, independent, motivated, conscientious, and reliable. RA positions are very competitive, so I require that you plan to attend graduate school, since these students benefit the most from this position. You also must have taken and enjoyed research methods and psych stats (unless you are given special permission). I also prefer a GPA over 3.3.
How do I apply?
Simply complete this application and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.