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Funding your own research trip - worth it?


serenade

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If your grant proposal gets rejected and the deadlines for applying to other funding sources have passed by the time you receive your rejection notification, is it worth it to fund your own research trip? Obviously not ideal, but has anyone had the experience of getting rejected and choosing to still travel to conduct research - on their own dime - as opposed to waiting and reapplying during the next grant cycle? 

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It would depend on where you are in your degree program, where you'd be going on the trip, how long the trip would last, how much the trip would cost, and how much funding you have available... It's hard to say without knowing more. I've never conducted research without having at least enough funding to cover flights and lodging.

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  • 1 month later...

I think the answer is usually no. But it is a matter of opportunity and trade-off. If after very extremely serious consideration, you still think your own budget allows the expense, then go for it because good field research may greatly benefit your next grant proposal. Another circumstance that applied is that you have failed multiple time with your grant writings and are in dire need of improving yourself. Otherwise, do not. A friend of mine works in public health and his grant proposals have been rejected many times, but I haven't seen him doing field work by his own pocket.

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Yes, it depends. I had a personal policy to never pay out of pocket for research/school trips (and that included conference travel) but I never needed to travel for dissertation/thesis research, because I did it all locally. Things also might change depending on the location - an Amtrak ride and two nights in a hotel to study in the archives of a university 2 hours away is different from a year-long research trip to Brazil, for example.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As mentioned by someone in the thread, crowdfunding is an option that you could explore. Going on a research trip on personal trip is not ideally advisable, but if the place you are travelling to is not far and if the research trip cost will not leave you bankrupt, then you might give it a shot. 

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I think it depends, as some have mentioned, on the type of research and the percentage of costs you'd be willing to pay out of pocket. 

A couple of years ago I got funding for going to my research site. It was less than expected so I had to cut off two non-priority archives from that trip. Last year, I got funding for flights and managed to get free lodging so I only paid for food. 

Also, in my school we are funded unevenly over the summer (some students are funded three months, some are funded one or two). So you are sort of expected to use some of your stipend towards research costs (the rule of thumb is 50%). 

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I would triple check with reliable sources (DGS, committee members, POC at top tier academic journals) within my area before I used crowdfunding to finance research. Does the use of crowdfunding violate any ethical standards, existing guidelines, or tweak established (but unspoken) sensibilities in the profession one seeks to join?

Graduate school is often about jumping through hoops and sometimes novel solutions and innovative approaches are punished rather than celebrated.

 

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