I'm currently a sophomore studying chemical engineering. I completed a summer internship as a chemist and subsequently took a job with the same people as a lab tech. While there, a civil engineering professor asked me to assist in running a research project in the same lab. I now keep the reactors running, perform maintenance as needed, and collect some data from different points in the reactors. I keep the project alive but I don't do much with analysis.

My question is: does this count as research? Can I say "yes" to yes/no "do you have research experience" questions (and then explain in my resume)? Or?

  • 1
    It's not really clear what you're actually asking. I'd hazard this is too broad and personal a question for Academia SE.
    – Eppicurt
    Mar 22, 2018 at 4:41
  • From the task you described, I would say "no".
    – OBu
    Mar 22, 2018 at 7:06
  • 2
    I would think the answer might depend on the context in which the question "do you have research experience?" is being asked. If you were applying for a professor job, clearly the answer is no. But if you were applying for a masters program, a yes answer would seem more plausible (but maybe would still depend on the details of the program).
    – Jessica B
    Mar 22, 2018 at 7:09
  • Did you consider talking to the professor? Maybe he can let you in on the analysis if you declare your interest, maybe he can write you a letter of recommendation describing the important work you did?
    – Dirk
    Mar 22, 2018 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


Does being a lab tech count as research? Probably not. Research means making contributions that go beyond the state-of-the-art. Keeping the machines turned on isn't really research.

But!! Don't sell yourself short. You say that you collect data and "don't do much" with analysis. Do you do anything with analysis? Do you understand the aims of the project? Do you write up the data? Do you discuss the results with anyone? Also, your internship seems like it should have had some research associated with it.

Can you answer "yes" to a yes/no question about having done research? I would say yes -- let the reader decide whether your research "counts" or not. So long as you are clear elsewhere in the application about what you did, you should be fine.

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