Often times, students are interested in completing research to see what it’s about, help prepare for graduate work, or just for fun. Some departments may have specific protocols for you to follow. Check with your advisor to see if these protocols exist. Here are some general steps to take towards completing research during your undergraduate work.
1. Make a list of topics that interest you
Try and be specific. This will help you to be more interested in the research you complete.
2. Cultivate relationships with professors and TA's
Apart from getting letters of recommendation, relationships with professors and TA’s can help you with research. Some faculty members conduct research, whether it’s with graduate students or on their own. Many TA’s will also be completing research for their degree. Having a relationship with your teachers can help them point you in the right direction for research that would interest you.
3. Look at the faculty web page for your department
Faculty members at Missouri State have different areas of research which interest them. Look at their profiles and find a professor who has interests similar to yours. Maybe use some library resources to read articles they wrote and gain a better understanding of what they do.
4. Contact the faculty
Faculty will not know you are interested in research unless you tell them. Ask about undergraduate research opportunities with both faculty and graduate students. Often times, discussing this in person will yield better results than e-mail correspondence.
5. Don't give up
Don’t be discouraged if you have a difficult time finding someone to work with. Eventually, with persistence, the right opportunity will come and you will have a great experience. Just continue to show interest in research and specific areas and you will find what you’re looking for.
6. Additional training
Once you’ve paired up with a professor, there may be additional training to complete before you begin. Be sure to ask whether training is necessary when talking with the faculty member you will be working with.