- Rep Power
Research assistant to editoral assistant..
I've been an undergrad research assistant for a prof since last Oct. We've worked on two different research projects so far. The first one was a dead end and he's pretty sure that our current one will also become a dead end so he wants to direct 99.9% of his energy to other projects: revising a textbook he's written and writing a new book.
Now, I've been helping him with his new book along with the research projects all along. But since his editors have given him deadlines that are approaching soon.
So he gave me four options:
- Continue on with the research (but he's not going to be working on it as much b/c of the textbooks) and do nothing with the textbooks
- Help him with the textbooks
- Help him with the textbooks and do research with another professor.
- Do research with another professor
I think option 3 would be the best for me and the best "signal" for grad school.
Also, I'm not sure how to go about looking for another prof to do research for. I'm pretty sure the only prof who would take on an undergrad RA is a macro person and I'm a micro person... Should I just shut up and help him with macro?
Yeah #3 sounds optimal. Working on a textbook is going to be of limited value, in all likelihood.
I think that at this point it's premature to consider yourself a "micro person," particularly if your only exposure to macro has been at the undergraduate level. In any event, at this point your objective should be more about seeing how academic research is undertaken rather than developing your own research skills (it's great if you can do that, but that's a secondary objective). If your best opportunity is to work with a macroeconomist, then I'd try to learn as much as possible, which means approaching it with the right attitude (e.g., not "should I just shut up and help him with macro?"). Even if you do go onto micro, working on that project can be a valuable learning opportunity in its own right, not just a signalling exercise.
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