My Experience working as a Research Assistant – OurWarwick

My Experience working as a Research Assistant

Annika Sirikulthada | Politics and International Studies (PAIS) Contact Annika

Instantly, after reading through the part-time job opening within the Politics and International Studies department for a Research Assistant, I was extremely drawn in. Having succeeded in the different application rounds of interviews, I am proud to now be working as a research assistant for politics professor Nicola Pratt. However, during the application process, I was rather nervous and was actively seeking more helpful resources to help me in my journey. Thus, I have decided to construct this blog with the intention of helping to prepare first and second-year students by outlining: the application process, the required skills, and the work I conduct on a weekly basis. Indeed, it is important to note that as a social science student, the majority of the research I accumulate is qualitative research, however, the broader required skills for the role, such as how to find accurate and relevant publications and literature, can be applied to any discipline.

So, the application process itself was rather simple which I highly appreciated. The application began like many others: with the submission of a cover letter and a CV. Following this, successful candidates were required to film a 2-minute video answering 4 questions related to the role. Naturally, a few of these questions required us to speak about the types of research topics we would be most interested in engaging with, as well as, outline a few more of our skills set. Truthfully, I could not tell you how many times I re-recorded or deleted my videos as I was actively seeking the perfect answer. In a way, it was really nice that we were given the opportunity to record ourselves, it not only gave us comfort but also creativity. Following this stage, I received my offer for the role in about 1 week. As the role is hosted by the university, you will also need to be set up on Unitemps (a website I’m sure all of us bloggers are extreamly familiar with), in order to successfully submit your timesheets, a brief right to work check will be conducted and students must also be located in the UK.

Now, I will briefly outline the skills I believe are most required for this role:

1. Organization skills: the role demands 8 hours of research per week, this can add up to around 30 hours a month, and thus, in order to effectively conduct this research, it is crucial that you remain organized. I find dedicating a few hours to the role during the weekends really helped as I could focus on my classes during the weekdays.

2. Research skills: in researching, it is critical to effectively source out publications and literature that is not only relevant but also reliable. Usually, I favor publications recommended by the Warwick E-library, Google Scholar, and my supervisor.

3. Presentation skills: once the research has been conducted and you have a number of sources, you simply cannot copy and paste the information; rather, it is important that you present the data in a manner that is your own, but also in a way that will make it easy for your supervisor to read through. So, bullet points, highlighting, tables, and paragraphs can be your new best friends.

Finally, I will go through the work I am currently required to complete. As of right now, I am required to focus on the Prevention of Violent Extremism for professor Nicola Pratt. Each week, I am required to focus on new topics and themes; I started off by focusing on projects in Jordan and Lebanon, then international institutions, and now the research is focusing on policies for women. Overall, I have really enjoyed working as a student research assistant as it allows me to academically engage with topics that are outside of my specific studies. I highly recommend applying in your third year as a PAIS student. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out for questions!

Annika Sirikulthada | Politics and International Studies (PAIS) Contact Annika

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