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Getting Involved in Research

Spring at MSP isn’t just about hoping for the end of the long Michigan winter, it’s the start of conference season. Many students and faculty are just returning from the Division 32 conference while others are gearing up to attend other conferences including the Midwestern Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, and American Psychological Association. It’s an exciting time where we get to celebrate the contributions our community is making to the field. For some this excitement may make them begin to think about participating in research for the very first time. Luckily there are many different ways students (and alumni!) can get involved in research at MSP. 

Group photo from Division 32
Students and faculty presented their research at the APA Division 32 conference from March 16-19.

Network. An important, but sometimes overlooked, aspect of research is networking. This is not only important for the sharing of ideas between researchers but also to help you get started in conducting research. Take some time to get to know the different interests of your professors (start with their faculty profile) and classmates. See if they’re conducting research and ask how they got started for ideas. If you find someone who is conducting research you’re interested in ask them how you can get involved. 

Join a research team. One of the things networking can lead to is joining a research team. These teams are led by MSP faculty and are a great way to begin learning and implementing key principles of research. One of the benefits of being on a research team is that you’re able to receive mentorship from the faculty member (or members) involved. Involvement on a research team can also lead to independent research on a similar topic. 

Start a project. Some students may already have a topic or even a research question in mind that they would like to beginning researching. This was the case for PsyD student Jared Boot-Haury who previously shared his experience on the blog in a post titled “Student Experience: How Do I Start a Research Project?”

Start small. Once you’ve completed a meaningful portion of your research and are ready to share, it’s time to submit a proposal to a conference. Most conferences offer the opportunity to share your research through presentations or posters. There are two annual conferences held at MSP, the Cultural Competency Conference and MSP’s Psi Chi’s annual Mental Health Research Symposium. Both of these serve as a great introduction to presenting at a conference for new researchers and even just attending as an observer is a great way to network.