Have a new research position? Great! Now its time to start thinking about these questions.

  1. How will you document your research results? Is there a specific protocol for keeping a laboratory notebook in your research group?
  2. To whom do you expect to go if you have questions about your research project? Does your mentor expect you to come solely (or first) to them, or should you feel free to ask others in the research group? If others, can your mentor identify those in the group who would be good resource people for your project?
  3. Are you comfortable with the methodology used in the lab? Does it involve the use of animals, for example? Does it involve lengthy field trips where you might be isolated with other researchers for weeks at a time? How do you feel about that?
  4. Will the research that you will be involved in be confidential? Are you allowed to discuss your project with other individuals outside of your laboratory?
  5. What role will your mentor play in the development of your skills as a writer? Is your mentor willing to help you with your research-related writing along the way or does he/she only want to read it after it is in its final version? If your mentor onlywants to read final versions of your writing, could he appoint someone in the laboratory/research team to proof read your writings?
  6. Do you know all the institutional safety and ethics training that is required to work in your research project? Discuss the required training with your mentor and establish a deadline by which you should complete it.
  7. If you have previous research experience, what skills do you expect to bring to your new research group? 

Adapted by E. Frazier, C. Pfund, and A. R. Butz from BranchawPfund & Rediske (2010). Entering Research: A Facilitator's Manual. New York: WH Freeman & Company, and from PfundWassarman & Skarlupka (2014). Establishing your Mentoring Relationships for CMB, Biophysics and Nutritional Sciences. Branchaw, J. L., Butz, A. R., & Smith A. (2018). Entering Research (2nd ed.). New York: Macmillan.