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Undergrad Research (how to make it work for you)

  1. Oct 4, 2009 #1
    I have had some limited research experience which resulted in me being a second author on the paper. I was not given any influence on the direction of the work or the actual paper though, and I now consider it to be a poor paper and the work to be completely lacking in direction.

    This question is mainly for those who have had very successful undergrad projects, and subsequently went to grad school. How did you become involved in said project? How seriously did you investigate your research sponsor before becoming involved? What do you feel contributed most to the success of your project? Beyond my complete dedication, how can I best prove to the world of physics that I can contribute to this field, and that I have a place at a good grad school?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2009 #2


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    I did three main research projects as an undergrad. The first one involved me begging one of my professors relentlessly for months before he gave me an internship with him; the second and third were REU programs. I accepted the second without knowing who I would be working for just on the basis of the university it was at, the third I had a basic idea of what I would be doing. Only the second resulted in a publication, and the third turned into my senior thesis. I think the most successful projects are the ones with a set goal and a good idea of how to get to that goal in just two months. Some people will take you on just to work on a piece of a larger project that might never be completed (or at least not while you're there); while those are good for experience they don't give you the whole idea of a research project, from coming up with an idea, figuring out how to implement it, doing so, and writing up the results.
  4. Oct 4, 2009 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Obviously the referees didn't agree with that assessment.
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