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A Practical Guide to Working With Undergraduate Research Assistants

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By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

Working with undergraduate research assistants is an integral part of teaching and research at many academic institutions. While graduate training prepares researchers with a wide range of methodological skills to conduct empirical research, very little attention is given to how to utilize research assistants in this pursuit. Furthermore, there is little information in the extant literature detailing practices for selecting and managing these assets. As such, academics early in their careers come ill prepared to address the unique set of challenges that undergraduate research assistants present. This case relates to my PhD dissertation research examining the impact of legislative pay in the American states and focuses on my success and failure in hiring and managing a team of undergraduate research assistants for data collection purposes. It provides a set of best practices, whether working with one research assistant or multiple, intended to yield both a quality final product for the researcher and a quality mentoring experience for the students involved.

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