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How do Independent Research Positions or Projects Work at University?

I recently completed and presented a project for a class in which my professor was over the moon about. After class, he suggested that next semester I could turn this project (it was a GIS campus project, in which I worked with Services and various other departments to complete) into an independent study. He was not very specific on the details, so I was wondering, how do typical independent research project courses work? How does the grading work? If the topic proves unsuccessful, does that mean I fail? #gis #university #courses #project #research

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Taylor’s Answer

Hey Ashley,
Coming from my university and the science department, an independent research position/project isn't actually "independent". They often involve finding a supervisor (such as that professor), then doing a half or full year project. This project can be self created (like yours) or more of a supervisors project that you do. Also, for grading it's generally done by said supervisor so even if it doesn't become completed entirely you will get credit based on how much you've done, and how good it is. As long as you work diligently and produce even meagre results you will most likely receive a great mark. Overall it's a great opportunity if you want to do research, and can really liven up your CV.
The best way to go about this would involve looking through your class listings for research classes, discussing this with an academic supervisor, and possibly finding a specific supervisor that you would want to work this topic with.
Good Luck!

Thank you so much! That was really helpful. I had decided to go ahead and work with my professor on this project, which will be a half year version (I guess that is the only option my university allows?). I am greatly looking forward to this! Ashley H.

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Veronica’s Answer

Hi Ashley, What came to my mind when I read your question was speak to current Researchers and get their input. I am currently in the Online MS for CS program at Gatech and upon searching their website came up with the form you can send in to run your project by their department: http://www.research.gatech.edu/contact-us. I am also forwarding your question to one of my teachers who works in Education at Gatech.

Veronica recommends the following next steps:

Research Universities that specialize in your topic and contact their Research Depts.

Thank you so much for your response! The problem, though, is that there are not many people doing research (within the sciences) at my university. As odd as it is. I was able to pursue that project, however and am currently looking into other universities to do more research in the future. Ashley H.

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Shreena’s Answer

I am currently a pursuing independent research with my advisor. For me the process was first to meet up with my advisor to set up goals for both myself and what is needed for the project. From there it was important for me to have weekly check ins to make sure I am on track as well to show my advisor progress and get feedback moving forwards. In terms of grades, one of the most important factors is not just the product but the process that went through throughout the semester from the time you spent on project and what you learned from the time spent on it.