Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Research Experience
The Research Project Plan
The relationship you cultivate with your academic year research mentor is vitally important for a successful research experience. A successful research experience begins with 1) thoroughly developing, understanding and being able to succinctly describe your research project (e.g. significance of the question, rationale for asking the question, hypothesis, approach, etc) and 2) fostering a successful relationship with your research mentor. This Guide is designed to facilitate each of these critical elements of your intellectual development.
Directions: Within two weeks of having met your research mentor, study the on-going research of the lab so you are ready discuss the following questions about your research project. Prepare a succinct (e.g., no more than 1 paragraph each) written synopsis of each of the answers and provide it to your research mentor, so that you can refine your answers through feedback that you receive. Some questions can be answered with just a few sentences. Revisit these questions throughout the semester, since answers to these questions can change, depending on how feasible the research project plan turns out to be and the preliminary results. These questions were developed by Professor Glenn Schafe at Hunter College, with whom I collaborate to run an undergraduate research experience program.
- 1) What question am I asking with my project?
- 2) What is the relevance or significance of this question?
- 3) Is this question related to previous research? If so, how?
- Note: You should ask for and receive the most relevant background literature.
- 4) What is my hypothesis?
- Note: Not every project will have a hypothesis (e.g., descriptive or exploratory studies). If your specific project falls into one of
- these categories, please say so!
- 5) What approach (e.g., method) am I using to test this hypothesis (or to explore my question)?
- 6) What variables am I manipulating and measuring?
- Note: Not every project involves an explicit (experimental) manipulation. If yours does not, please say so!
- 7) What outcome(s) might I expect?
Created by Dr. Chiye Aoki, Fall 2022.