APS Bridge Program

Research Engagement

Independent research is at the heart of a graduate student’s education. A student’s induction into the research culture is critical to their development as an independent scholar.

Faculty advisors should work closely with students to help them select viable research areas and supportive mentors. Faculty can introduce students to a research group in a number of ways. Students can attend group meetings; learn about the group’s expectations in terms of hours, responsibilities, and group member roles; and become proficient in the research techniques that group members use.

Advisors should, however, avoid involving students in research before they are ready. Engagement with a research project takes a great deal of time and effort, particularly in the beginning stages. It can quickly become an overwhelming responsibility for a new student, who may not be aware of what it takes to succeed as a graduate student. Advisors should consider whether a student has made sufficient progress in core courses to add additional research obligations to their workload, or whether their focus should continue to be on coursework.

Effective Practices

Provide opportunities for students to understand the research that available groups do.

Introduce students to research group activities.

Monitor students’ relationships with their research advisors and with other students.