Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Research Assistant Experience
(volunteer and paid position)
Most psychology faculty members are active researchers, and they routinely hire psychology students to work as part-time research assistants in their laboratories. There are many reasons that you may wish to consider applying for a position as a research assistant. First, the experience that you can gain by working in a laboratory is invaluable. Not only do you have a unique opportunity to see how new knowledge is created, but you are also directly exposed to the methods and techniques that are used in doing psychology.
In addition, experience as a research assistant looks great on your resume. An application for employment or for graduate school is made stronger by the type of career-related experience that you can obtain by working as a research assistant, and a faculty member who has come to know you well in the laboratory may be able to help you later by writing reference letters for you.
A final reason to consider working as a research assistant is that you may get paid: the hourly rate of pay depends both on your qualifications (e.g., whether you are in Year 1, 2, 3, or 4) and on the nature of the work that you do.
If you are interested in getting some research experience, your best bet is to talk with your professors about the possibility of working in their lab. It is a good idea to provide them with a resume, a complete listing of the courses you have taken, and the grades that you have earned. If you are not hired immediately, don't be discouraged. If you try again a few months later, a part-time job may have opened up that was not there earlier. If you are fortunate enough to be hired as a research assistant, the departmental adminsitrative assistants (MC B326/327) will provide you with the information that you will need to get on the payroll.