Research Internship Tips

Research internships vary from summer high school internships, to undergraduates, to advanced professional internships for postgraduates. Internships may be paid or unpaid, and are generally geared to specific areas of qualification. Internships are geared to specific areas of research, and some are highly specialized. You will need to assess how well the internships meet your needs. The best way to find a research internship is to explore industry leaders. This can reduce the time and effort spent in searching, and directs you to some of the best internships available.

Finding a Research Internship

Large corporate employers, like AT&T, have an integrated program which includes opportunities for research internships and development work from high school, and up to postgraduate level. These are particularly valuable and well organized internship programs that are oriented to academic and job market requirements.

Finding a Research Internship Online

When you search online, you should use specific terms. Do not use generic terms, like " research internship” in your search. The word “internship” will provide you with many irrelevant results. Here are a few tips for searching online:

  • Use a term which is unique to your area of research or is a natural part of a description for the research internship.
  • If possible, use excluders, like “not….” to remove unwanted materials from the search results.
  • Structure your searches so that they can also work on the large job boards to get specific results.

Checking Out the Research Internships

The next stage is to investigate the internships you’ve found. You need to find the internship that provides the best results and best credentials. Contact the internship provider to get a working idea of the internship role and the work involved. Research internship ads vary in quality, and the contact person can usually give you a lot more useful information with a quick phone conversation.

Interviews and Interview Questions

The main subjects of research internship interviews are technical, academic and practical issues. Research work demands a high level of expertise, particularly at postgraduate levels. Your presentation at these interviews should show strong commitment, professional interest and motivation. The internship providers in research need people who are prepared to fully participate and contribute to the work. The main subjects of research internship interviews are:

  • Knowledge base: The knowledge base relates to the core tasks and concepts of the research work. Be prepared for some basic questions in these areas, like “What is a data set?”, etc.
  • Practical experience in the role: Research methodologies, testing methods, data and systems management are all primary roles. 
  • Communications skills: Research in any discipline includes advanced communications skills and excellent written skills.
  • Problem solving: In research, problems relate to test results, research methods, and processes.