Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Good research vs headache

I think that undergraduates participating in professional, publishable, serious research is amazing. It's a wonderful learning experience where individuals can learn the skills they'll need to lead a miserable life as a graduate student. Sometimes, though, this might cause frustration in those actually working with the undergraduates.

For example, sometimes they leave your name off their poster, or, when it comes time to decide the authors on a publication, they neglect to mention that you spent hours helping them analyze the data. Also they sometimes misspell the name of your study organism (which, in the sciences, is basically like getting your own phone number wrong).

In addition.....

...they've been know to cut corners

For example, this solution seems a little too thick to be accurately pipetted.
But someone used it anyway.

(Otherwise it would be wasteful, right?...)

...they tend to ignore things they don't want to clean up (if you've ever had a messy roommate, you know how this game goes....whoever cleans up the dead bugs first is the loser!).

Also, they're not the best at documenting things.

When it comes time to replicate your experiments, it doesn't help much if you keep a lab notebook, but then for some reason took it with you when you graduated.

Of course, in science the bottom line is the data.

...which is when we send a grad student to the rescue:

Should have just done it myself in the first place.

...and for the rescue of the graduate students.....


Disclaimer: I should mention that in reality I think most of my undergrads are great and valuable assets to my research. I enjoy working with them and (I hope) they with me. On the other hand, every once in a while someone comes along that really doesn't care, or doesn't listen, which really gets under my skin. And they're the reason for this post.

posted from Bloggeroid

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