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Taking Control of Your Research Path Workshop

The guide accompanies the "Taking Control of Your Research Path Workshop" held in the Carlson Student Research Space.

Session 3: Asking Questions

In preparation for our third session in Carlson Library near the VISTA, we would like you to read and watch the Berkley Informational Interviewing webpage to learn about informational interviewing.  You will be using these skills to learn more about potential research areas and research groups in the future.

We will have a guest speaker from Gwen M. Green Career & Internship Center Take a look at their website so that when you hear about it, you will be familiar.

What is an Informational Interview?

Who to interview?

Questions to Ask

Potential “open-ended” questions to ask at an informational interview:


To ask students:

  • What training, certifications, or courses helped you to get this research opportunity?
  • How many hours per week do students do research?
  • What are good ways to prepare to be in a group or to do research?
  • Describe your typical day doing research. 
  • Tell me about how you got started in your research.
  • What do you wish you had known about this field before getting involved with it?
  • What advice do you have for approaching faculty members? Tell me about your experience doing so. 
  • How do you hope this research opportunity will enhance your career? 
  • What clubs are good to join?

To ask faculty:

  • Tell me about how you got started with your research in this field.
  • Do you or have you thought about using undergraduates on your research project?
  • What qualities are you looking for in someone that wants to do this research?
  • What do you pay attention to when looking for students to join your group?  How can I stand out?
  • How do you hope students will benefit from participating in this research? 
  • How rapidly is your field expanding, and are they looking for more people to hire? What is the demand, and is there a related field or faculty/lab that may have more openings?
  • What kind of experience, paid or not, would you encourage for someone pursuing a career in your field?
  • I read your recent article on speech and gesture integration in children with autism, where will your research go from there?  
  • Do you have advice for undergraduates interested in getting involved in this kind of research now? What skills would I need?