Undergraduate Research | Department of Psychology

Undergraduate Research

Information for Students Information for Researchers
A Guide to Research Participation for Students Participant Pool Application Form
Research Participation Pool Policies (PDF) (DOC) Research Participation Pool Policies
Complaint Form Cancellation Form (PDF) (DOC)
Diversity University IRB Application
EMS Online Sign-ups SONA IRB Application
UNT SONA Help Page EMS Online Sign-ups

Joining a Research Team

Research Team Application

FAQ About Joining a Research Team

Q: "Why should I consider joining a research lab/team?"

A: You'll get different experiences depending on what faculty's team/lab you join, but overall there are some general things to be gained. You'll be exposed to reading and possibly contributing to research articles, and therefore become more "research literate" and able to meaningfully engage bodies of research literature. You will also have opportunities to see and be involved in the research process from beginning to end - something hard to fully grasp from just reading about it. Many students also find these experiences help clarify their own research interests - what areas they might like to study or if they even want to do research ever again. This also is informative if you are considering graduate school. Similarly, you may receive mentorship from faculty and graduate students which is very helpful not only in doing well now, but if you plan to apply for graduate school. You'll be able to document research experiences (whether you enroll for course credit or not) on your CV. There are so many other great benefits too, depending on who you work with!

Q: "When is a good time to join a research lab?"

A: As early as possible! Some faculty prefer students to be further along in school (sophomore or junior year, or with basic statistics or experimental classes taken) prior to joining. Other faculty are happy to bring on and begin mentoring students as earlier on. Check with the faculty you'd like to work with as soon as possible what they're preferences are, so you can plan accordingly.

Q: "How do I join a lab?"

A: There are two general ways: Complete our general application via the above link, or directly contact faculty whose work interests you. Not all faculty pull from the application, and reaching out independent of this demonstrates initiative and excitement to join a team. Some faculty only accept new students to start in their labs at the start of semesters, and others take students on a rolling or as-needed basis. If you complete the application form, it's always a good idea to send a follow up email to faculty you are interested in working with, to make sure they received your information.

Q: "What qualifications do faculty look for?"

A: Most faculty are more interested in professionalism and an eagerness to learn above prior experience. Being on a team can require a lot of work, independently and in groups, so it's important you are able to commit to the responsibilities asked of you. An ability to work efficiently and ask for help when you don't know are also generally highly valued. Many faculty appreciate students who can strike a balance between cultivating their own interests, offering their perspectives, and being willing to learn a lot. Aside from these general qualifications, ask faculty you're interested in working with what they look for or require.

Q: "How do I decide what faculty to pursue working with?"

A: Maybe you've taken a class from a professor you really like - go up to them and personally ask about research assistant opportunities! If you haven't had direct contact with many professors in a way which would inform you of their work, browse the Faculty Page and look at different faculty members' research pages. Often they will have additional information on what they're working on now or have worked on in the past, and how to contact them for joining the lab. Again, it shows initiative and eagerness to reach out to faculty directly and ask them about opportunities.

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