OUR GETTING STARTED GUIDE
Want to get involved but not sure where to begin? The Office of Undergraduate Research is here to help you get started with your research too. Conducting undergraduate research can take many forms. Some students begin their journey by serving as a research assistant to a faculty member on an ongoing research project. Others create their own research projects under the mentorship of a faculty member.
The following steps are outlined to help get you started on your path:
1. Prepare your research search correspondence (resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn Profile)
Before you begin searching for research projects to join, it is important that you have the right documents ready. At a minimum, it is recommended to have a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn Profile updated and ready for submission. Some opportunities will request letters of recommendation, and personal statements as well.
2. Find a faculty mentor
Finding a faculty mentor is considered the first step of your journey as they will help guide your projects and show you the ins and outs of conducting research in your field. Additionally, many conferences and funding opportunities require faculty mentorship.
There are several ways to find a faculty mentor.
- Reach out to professors you have had classes with.
- Ask your campus communities (honors societies, student organizations, on-campus labs) about research opportunities and points of contact.
- Look for projects in your field on Bronco Scholar.
If you're nervous about talking to faculty, just remember that they are people too! Do some reading on the work they are involved in and their research interests. Try to find common areas of interests, but ultimately, be genuine about the type of research you would like to be involved in.
When you are ready, email potential faculty that you would like to work with, introduce yourself and ask to meet during their office hours. Have a copy of your resume and any prior work experience ready, and be ready to talk about yourself!
3. To team up or not
You can join an existing project or work independently when conducting undergraduate research. Many students begin by working under the direction of a faculty member as part of a research team. This type of project is particularly helpful for students to learn the basics of conducting research, to build a strong foundation of basic knowledge in the field, and to investigate possible approaches to conducting independent research.
Undergraduate students can choose to dive right into their own independent project. This type of project might grow out of a student's work as part of a research team, or it might be in an area in which a student has particular expertise or experience. This can be challenging and invigorating, but you must realize that in this type of project, you often are in charge of much more.
4. Attend workshops and networking events
Events such as our own, homegrown Student Research Conference or Creative Activities & Research Symposium are awesome OUR events to learn what other students have done, and the faculty they worked with.