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Project Fit

Previously: Clarifying and Aligning Expectations

Just as you and your mentee must be a fit, so too must the project be a fit for the mentee. The project your mentee undertakes should help them grow as a researcher, learn a new research skill or skills, acclimate to the life of a researcher, and creatively solve research related problems. Your mentee should also work on a project that relates to the goals of your ongoing research and is tractable within the context of a virtual summer research experience. As noted above, identify a project for your mentee that has a well-defined goal that can be met over an eight-to-ten-week period and lends itself to an oral or poster presentation at the Virtual LANS at the end of July.

If you are a researcher in the social sciences or humanities, you are accustomed to work that is frequently independent, where you are synthesizing literature, studying primary sources, or gathering quantitative and qualitative data. To acclimate a mentee who is still acquiring key research skills, pick a project where they can meet with you regularly to talk about how best to tackle the material and be sure project milestones are being met.

Action Item:

Now that you’ve begun working with your mentee in earnest, double check the project fit by reviewing the following criteria. Make sure the project:

  1. allows for confidence-building successes over time,
  2. connects with the larger goals of your research agenda or a research effort in the discipline,
  3. provides for a variety of different skill-building research activities, and
  4. has clear, measurable goals.

Up next: Managing Logistics