How to Choose the Best Research Partners

Whether it be the quantity of the data or an extremely nuanced focus area, circumstance will often have it that assembling a team, as opposed to a solo effort, is the best course of action when conducting your postgraduate research. However, assembling the optimal research team is no easy feat, with a poor decision in this regard having the potential to completely derail the project. So just how do you choose the best research partner?

Something Different
Choosing to partner with an individual who has been exposed to exactly the same educational background as yourself can be great for team chemistry, but it can also limit the partnership’s ability to contextualise the research issue from a number of different standpoints, a practice that can prove invaluable when done correctly. It is often a good idea to partner with someone who will be able to provide a perspective alien to yours. Doing so will ultimately give your partnership a more nuanced view of the academic terrain that your research project is attempting to navigate and can produce a more cogent final product.

It’s Always Personal
Even in an area as academic and objective as a research project, the personalities within your team are likely to impact on the overall quality of the work done. With this in mind, choosing to partner with an individual who seems smart at first glance may backfire in the long run purely due to incompatible personalities. That being said, it is often better to partner with someone who you know you will get along with as opposed to partnering with a more talented individual who will end up sucking the joy out of the process.

At the end of the day, perhaps the most important characteristic to look for in a research partner is that of consistency. If your partner is consistent in both work ethic and personality, the likelihood of your team producing meaningful and worthwhile research increases exponentially. This is due to the nature of the research process, in short: it’s a long grind. That being said, a partner who is willing to match you step for step is invaluable. If you would like to seize your opportunity to conduct meaningful research, be sure to check out VUT’s various academic programmes.