McGill Political Science Students' Association

Research Assistant Series

The PSSA is proud to present the first instalment of its Research Assistant Series!  Down below you will find the first part about our series.  From here, more posts will have specific tips from Research Assistants and Professors on how to get a Research Assistantship and how students can gain valuable skills from these positions.

Series –Part 1: Everything you need to know about University Research Assistant Positions

 Research Assistant Position ‘How To’ FAQ

1.     What is a Research Assistant?

      A Research Assistant at a University (like McGill!) is an individual who helps with the research that a Professor or Ph. D. candidate or Research Fellow affiliated with the University is currently conducting

2.     How do I help with their research?

      This depends on the research the Professor/Ph.D. candidate/etc. is conducting! However, generally your assistance could include: gathering data, extrapolating information from data, facilitating tests, gathering subjects for tests, creating/distributing surveys, helping with field work, doing reading/bibliographic research, etc.  There are endless ways you can be involved in the research process!

3.     What research opportunities are available to me as a Political Science Undergraduate student?

     There are many research opportunities within the department –that’s one of the benefits of going to a large University with funding and a reputation for research!  Professors and Ph.D. candidates are often looking for students to help with their research, both during the academic year and in the summer months!   Chances are high that there is a research opportunity available in the specific area of Political Science you’re focusing on! 

4.     How do I find/get Research Assistant Positions?

     The best way to find a research opportunity is to get to know the Professors teaching your classes and in your department!  Find out what topics they’re pursuing research in, and if it sounds interesting to you, then start up a conversation with them about it! 

     You can reach out to Professors through email, in person during their office hours, briefly after lecture, or during a PSSA Research Brunch!      

     Having a genuine curiosity and passion for the Professor’s research topic is a big asset!

     The earlier you get in touch with them, the better!