Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I join a research lab? What are the potential benefits to me?
There are numerous benefits to being part of a research laboratory. In addition to actively learning how social science research (more specifically, psychology and law research) is conducted, the experience is quite beneficial for those thinking about furthering their education.
- First, research experience is quite attractive to graduate school admission committees; for some programs, like the top-tier psychology programs, research experience is an implicit requirement. Depending on your level of commitment and time spent in the lab, it may even be possible to get your name as an author on a presentation or publication, which is attractive to grad schools.
- Second, working in a laboratory is a good way to get to know professors better and to get more personalized recommendation letters.
- Third, graduate school and a academic career is not for everyone—working in a laboratory can help you decide if this is the right path for you. Some people learn that research is not for them whereas others find it to be their passion.
2. Can I receive course credit?
Yes, you may be able to receive course credit. The credit is graded S/U and is 3 hours per week per credit (e.g., 2 credits is 6 hours per week). Whether you will be able to earn credit (or simply volunteer your time) will depend on the number of eligible applicants and the amount of research that needs to be done.
3. What kind of experiences do I need to be eligible?
Previous research experience is not necessary, although, depending on the number of applicants, previous experience may help. In general, I am looking for students who are hard workers and who are responsible and trustworthy. I am also looking for students who think they may want to apply for graduate school (e.g., in psychology, criminal justice, or law school) and want the experience for their grad school application or are simply deciding whether grad school is the right next step.
4. Can I apply for just 1 semester?
A commitment for two semesters (or more) is preferable but one semester is not out of the question. For example, if you are a senior with one semester remaining, you are still eligible to apply.
I am happy to address any other questions you may have. Feel free to email, firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.