7 Tips for Collaborating on a Research Project

Research can be a solitary and even lonely experience. You spent hours collecting data and pouring over results. Many hours more involve writing up results in isolation. Even for an introvert, it can be a process devoid of interaction. Moreover, a researcher working alone loses the additional experience and perspectives to be gained by working in a research team. In today’s post, I want to offer 7 tips for collaborating on a research project. I’ve been fortunate to have more positive than negative experiences working with colleagues. I hope these tips will provide you with some advice on how to improve your collaboration not only on research, but any work you might undertake.

Photo credit: U.S. Army

I am one of those rare Southerners that doesn’t enjoy NASCAR racing. It just has never been my thing. Yet, I’ve always been fascinated by the work of the pit crew. There is such a system in place that allows an amazing amount of work to be done in just a few seconds.

I think of research collaborations in the same way. You can do so much more, better, and faster in a research team than you can working in isolation. In many disciplines and in different methodological approaches, teamwork is common. As a qualitative higher education researcher, I often have the option to work on my own on a project or to work with a colleague.

How to be a Quick Starting Faculty Member

Noted faculty development researcher Robert Boice identified a small percentage of early career faculty that demonstrated enormous success. These faculty learned how to balance the competing demands on their time. Specifically, they figured out how to achieve success across the teaching, research, and service aspects of faculty life. In today’s post, I draw from Boice’s work to provide some suggestions on how to be a quick starting faculty member. Although this advice is particularly geared for new faculty, we are at that point in the semester that many of us are struggling with the various demands on our time. I suspect that the tips here will be helpful for faculty (and many staff) regardless of your career stage.

Photo credit: AP

Boice identified less than 10% of faculty who he termed quick starters. By analyzing the traits, behaviors, and strategies of this group, we can make some suggestions for early career faculty success.

College Football is Broken

This weekend should have been a glorious one for college football. There were amazing upsets with the #2, #3, #4, #6, #8, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, and #19 ranked teams losing. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that college football is broken. In what should be a celebration of the sport, I find myself disillusioned and increasingly disinterested in the results. There are three events that crystalize for me the problems of college football.

The Changing Curriculum: Yale Report of 1828

In my History of Higher Education course this week, we were discussing the Yale Report and the reforms of the early 1800s.  It struck me that so much of the debates during this period of American higher education mirror those we have today.  In today’s post, I want to share a section from my monograph, Understanding Institutional Diversity in American Higher Education, that deals with this period.  One of the values of studying the history of higher education is how often debates are recycled.  I hope this gives you a new appreciation for some of the challenges that all of us in higher education are trying to figure out right now.

Yale Report authors Jeremiah Day (left) and Benjamin Silliman (right).

The early colonial curriculum largely focused on the ancient Latin and Greek languages. As the Revolutionary War approached, the curriculum remained focused on ancient languages, yet introduced Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke. Religion remained an overriding influence even as institutions struggled to incorporate Enlightenment philosophies. This tension remained through the early years of the new country, with Enlightenment ideals playing an increasingly greater role. Due to a lack of established faculty to teach the subjects, student unrest, and broader societal concerns, institutions slowly sought to reestablish the classical curriculum, moving away from the trend to increase professional education that started to occur in the early 1800s.