Whether you’re an undergrad student or a Ph.D. candidate, research is a big part of your life. Learn how to do it right! These must-have traits of a successful research student will point you in the right direction. Strengthen these skills and look forward to an engaging career in the sciences.
1. Creative Thinking
Sometimes when brainstorming possible answers to a question, you’ll need to think outside the proverbial box. Creative thinking is how innovators are born! When you think of an idea or process that nobody has explored before, you open the door to even more discoveries—and you may also be eligible for a patent one day!
2. An Eye for Detail
You’re a scientist—that means all the information you record and present must be 100 percent accurate. Pay close attention when performing experiments and write each detail in your student lab notebook. A single decimal point can make or break an experiment, and the answers to your questions could be hidden in the most inconspicuous of places.
3. Time Management Skills
When you’re in a lab, especially as a student, you’ve got deadlines to meet and other projects to do. In order to keep the lab running smoothly, you’ll need to plan and organize your tasks for the day so you don’t end up rushing your work at the end. Carve out time in your everyday schedule to study outside of class.
You’ll pay closer attention to your work if you care deeply about it. Choose a field, be it biology or astronomy, that speaks to your interests. When you’re fully invested in your experiment, you’ll have extra motivation to learn more and answer questions no one thought to ask. A passionate and curious mind is a powerful element in a good lab.
5. Communication Skills
All the lab notes in the world won’t be of much use to the scientific community if you cannot present your findings clearly and concisely. This includes both public speaking and written communication. When you write your dissertation (or any scientific paper), take care to remove any spelling or grammatical errors. When you speak to other scientists, make eye contact and avoid mumbling.
As a student of the sciences, you must keep your mind open to discoveries and information. Build strong study habits today to benefit you in the future. Develop these must-have traits of a successful research student and encourage your love of learning.