How to Find a Research Opportunity

//Research Opportunities
Research Opportunities2018-04-17T22:03:50-05:00

Embry-Riddle is igniting the future.

Through Embry-Riddle’s continued pursuit of excellence in aviation, aerospace and related industries, the University is committed to strengthening their focus on research through the Ignite program.  Students will have the opportunity to engage in research through a variety of activities, giving them opportunities for professional growth.

Ignite focuses on encouraging undergraduate research through:

  • Innovative research opportunities
  • Increased research funding
  • Expanded academic and co-curricular experiences
  • Enhanced faculty-student research collaboration

Ignite is a campus-wide initiative, with the goal of students obtaining the skills to investigate hypotheses, solve problems and/or advance knowledge utilizing methods valued in the various disciplines. Ignite is a way to inspire knowledge discovery, awaken students’ passion for research and help dreams come true.

Definition of a Research Opportunity

A research opportunity is based on the following six principles and should fulfill the students’ career and educational goal:.

  • Define and/or articulate a research problem
  • Design a course of action to solve a research problem using, as appropriate, multi-disciplinary principles
  • Apply ethical principles in research
  • Conduct research independently and/or collaboratively
  • Reach decisions and/or conclusions based on the analysis and synthesis of evidence
  • Communicate research results

A research opportunity is the chance for you as a student to gain more in-depth knowledge of your area of interest plus learn important work-valued skills such as analysis, communication, creativity, data management, decision-making, innovation, leadership, problem resolution, project management, research skills and teamwork.  At Embry-Riddle, your research experience can vary in length of time and focus and is often dependent on funding, possibly from external sources.

The most important aspect of research at Embry-Riddle is that it is open to all disciplines, so students from every degree program can participate in an experience.

Identifying Your Research Interests

Research opportunities typically align with your career goals and interests, and research subject matter should be something for which you have a passion and a desire on which to expand your knowledge.   You can identify your interests through conversations with faculty, participation in courses, involvement in on-campus clubs and organizations, attending conferences or information sessions, working in on-campus jobs or part-time employment and more.  Identifying a research opportunity should be one that will correlate to your career goals and strengthen your overall marketability.

Evaluating a Research Opportunity and Topic

  • Interesting topic:  hold the researcher’s interest throughout the entire process
  • Researchable topic:  it can be investigated through the collection of data and analysis of data
  • Significant topic:  it contributes to the improvement or understanding of a theory or a practice
  • Manageable topic:  it fits the researcher’s level of research skill
  • Topic is ethical:  it doesn’t involve practices or strategies that might embarrass or harm participants

Mills, G., & Airasian, P. (2006). Educational Research. (8 ed., pp. 36-37). Columbus, OH Pearson.

Potential Employers for Research Opportunities

Sources for Identifying Research Opportunities

  • Handshake
  • Faculty
  • Journals related to your research interests
  • Professional organizations
  • Conferences
  • Research competitions
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Government entities
  • On-campus jobs or work study relating to your interests
  • Your network

Obtaining a Research Position

Just like with any job search, your resume, cover letter and application materials will play a role in the pursuit of a research position, and networking is still one of the most important activities in which to participate.  Also, like a traditional search, you will need to be well-prepared to interview by conducting extensive research on the organization, opportunity and researcher.

Once you have identified an opportunity, you will apply for the opening via the application instructions provided by the company.  Follow all instructions down to the last detail.

At times, you will find that the type of position is not available or that you can’t identify an applicable opportunity.  You can use an introductory letter to pursue research opportunities, which is often closely related to a traditional cover letter.

Application for a Research Position

Application materials for a research position are similar to other opportunities, but you often need to have additional application pieces ready to submit.  Be ready to submit any of the following information.

Research-based Opportunities and Internships

The Career Services Office advertises research-based internships via the career management system, Handshake.  Most of the positions will have “research” in the title.

To obtain credit for a research-based internship, you must meet all University requirements for the Co-op/Internship Program.

It is important to understand the nature of research opportunities, especially at other educational institutions.  Many opportunities are geared towards specific degree programs, diverse groups and grade levels.  Some opportunities are seeking students with goals of moving towards graduate work and/or Ph.D. programs.  For some of the programs, you must have determined a faculty at the institution and the type of research you want to pursue, before you even are selected for an opportunity.  Application deadlines and eligibility vary by program.

Research-based internships can be found using all of the above methods, but you will find sample opportunities, organizations and search tools listed here.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Associated Partners:

Federal Agencies and National Labs:

Educational Institutions:


Additional Resources