View Full Version : Question about RAing

02-06-2008, 05:48 PM
Hey all,

I was just wondering if being a research assistant in a field other than economics, such as psychology or political science, would be helpful (either in admissions or in the long run). It seems like the psych department at my school offers A BILLION opportunities for research, but the econ department is more limited (or at least I'm having a tough time finding them).

02-06-2008, 07:14 PM
Being an RA for an economist not only gives you experience, it also gives you access to a good LOR, from someone admissions committees may know or know of. You are unlikely to get that by working in a psych department. That said, if you can't get RA work for an economist, other RA jobs that involve data analysis or quantitative work are still useful. Doing other types of research for non-economists (lit reviews or qualitative research) is less useful, unless it's on a topic that you want to study and gives you important background information or institutional knowledge.

02-06-2008, 07:51 PM

Yeah, I'm taking a Psych class for a general education requirement, and it is really interesting, so I thought it might be a good idea into considering RAing for one of the many many openings.

I'm currently trying to gain the courage to ask an econ professor if he needs any research assistance... haha, and wanted alternative options

02-06-2008, 09:13 PM
Well, if your interests are in behavioral econ, I would say RAing in psych would be helpful. However, maybe it is a double-edged sword - on one side, having research experience helps, but on the other, does it send a message you are more interested in psych than econ? Interesting question none the less!

02-07-2008, 12:58 AM
does it send a message you are more interested in psych than econ? Interesting question none the less!

I'm actually also doing research for the ARE department at my school, so this would just be a little something extra--possibly something fun and interesting? So hopefully I won't send adcoms the wrong idea about my intellectual pursuits!

I've also recently been considering applying to some B-schools (for ph.d) in marketing; I figure a background in experimental design and psychology couldn't hurt? Then again, I could be completely wrooooong.:(

02-07-2008, 01:54 AM
If you have the option to RA for an econ professor, do it. But if not, I think other RA work is better than any other alternative work I can think of. I have worked as an RA in transportation planning (geography department), as well as in economics. I learned a lot from both, and since I'm interested in urban & regional economics, transportation research has been an especially good experience. If you can do RA work in a field related to economics, especially if its related to your research interests, I say go for it.