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to research or not to research?


bibliophile222
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So first things first: I am in a Master's program for Speech-Language Pathology, which as some of you may know is a professional program. There are Ph.D.s but most leave with the Master's, so research is not highly stressed unless you plan on a Ph.D. (which I don't). However, there are a couple non-thesis options for our capstone projects. The standard is a systematic lit review done in small groups, but there is also the option to do a non-thesis research project with faculty. I am interested in the research project because I think it would be fascinating and incredibly informative to work with a faculty member in this way (and let's not deceive ourselves, a presentation/publication opportunity would be pretty cool).

Anyways, Dr. X has said that there are 2 slots open in her lab. I'm interested in her area of research, but it's not my primary interest and not really where I want to end up specializing (I think--I haven't done any placements yet so this could change). I also really love her teaching style and think she's crazy smart. She thinks highly of my writing and class participation. On the other hand, Dr. Y is doing work more closely related to my interests (again, so far, could change) but I haven't had him as a professor yet and don't know what opportunities, if any, are available. Or I could be practical but boring and do the lit review like everyone else.

To summarize, I think working with Dr. X would be pretty awesome and we have a good rapport. I might be a better fit with Dr. Y but there are too many unknowns. My gut says to try it out with Dr. X, but I'm just not sure if the subject matter is what I want to end up doing once I graduate. Is broadening my horizons and range of experience worth the slight mismatch in interest?

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I'm not in your field, but I strongly suggest you go with your gut and choose Dr. X, who you already know is supportive of you and your work, and is familiar with your background. My mentor was in a completely different specialty than what I ended up doing, but she was incredibly helpful and supportive and willing to go above and beyond to help me out because of our rapport. I truly think this is the best you can hope for out of an advisor.

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Thank you! I think you kind of confirmed what I was thinking, which is what I was really looking for, of course. ?

Thinking about it more, because it isn't a Ph.D. I don't think fit matters as much. If anything it will make me a more well-rounded clinician with greater flexibility for job openings in the future.

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