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I'm a 3rd year undergraduate student. I was thinking of making a side project where I analyze the effects of different vaccines on the rate of new cases. I will be using methods I've learned from my recent Regression Analysis class.

I'll also be following the formal structure of a research paper (Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, References, etc). When I'm done, I'm thinking of asking a statistics professor to review my findings just to check I've done all the tests right.

It will be put on my resume for future internship applications. Is it correct to define it as a "research paper" to my employers if it's not being published anywhere and the only author is me?

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    You say this is for the Internship part of your journey. Mark it “unpublished” and you’re good. It expresses your current interest. Change it as your journey evolves and starts to mature. Jun 28 at 1:57
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    There is the grey literature of whitepapers. Technically it would be possible to publish a whitepaper on for example github. This will leave a lack of (peer) review and potential archiving questions, but it would make it available to others. Depending on how detailed/in depth a white paper is, it may or may not be appropriate to list it.
    – DetlevCM
    Jun 28 at 11:24
  • You can upload it to a preprint server and refer to it as a preprint, if you intend to publish it. It is also possible to follow some reasonable process to be able to identify it as a "technical report" or "internship report".
    – Jake
    Jun 28 at 21:41
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It seems risky to put something on your CV that no one has vetted. If this were a course project and a professor could attest to its value then you'd be on safer ground.

But you can always list the project itself (not the paper) as "Work in Progress" on a CV with a view that it will be published eventually.

Some things that have turned out to be very important have been done and then put away in a drawer somewhere only to see the light of day decades later. Isaac Newton did that with his early work on The Calculus. But its value was only obvious after it became public. Newton didn't claim, when he put it in the drawer, that he had done something significant. That only came later.

If you want to put it on your CV as a research paper, I suggest you submit it for publication. But the project is still valid as work in progress in any case.

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  • I see, I don't know about submitting for an actual publication because with my knowledge-level (no PhD, haha), my findings will be trivial at best, so the chance of publication is near nil. What if I asked a statistics professor at my school to review the paper to point out any mistakes and then I put his/her name on the paper as the reviewer, would that increase the credibility to employers?
    – NoName
    Jun 27 at 23:24
  • You could acknowledge them, but nothing more. Getting advice from a prof is a good idea and will be valuable to your education. But, note that, in general, papers are most valuable for admission to higher level programs, not for employers.
    – Buffy
    Jun 27 at 23:28
  • Yeah, I just trying to find a way to "prove" what I've learned because from previous internship interviews, when I told potential employers that I learned this, this, and this, they always ask me to show examples where I applied those methods.
    – NoName
    Jun 27 at 23:44
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    A "work in progress" is a work that is currently being worked on. Just because a paper has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal does not mean it is a work in progress.
    – Stef
    Jun 28 at 12:47
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No, the correct term for an unpublished work is "manuscript."

Reference: What are the boundaries between draft, manuscript, preprint, paper, and article?

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Yes, it is a research paper. The term "research" only means the text is a result of research. A paper that is published is "published paper". You can also call your paper a preprint. It is a more specific way to characterize the paper.

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If you have done work/research, then any paper coming out of this, a report on it, is literally (a report on) research.

Similarly, if you put it on-line in any way, it is literally "published".

The loaded and dubious sense of "published" these days is "accepted in a peer-reviewed situation". :)

So, in my opinion, your paper is research. If you make it publicly available it is literally published, though not in the status-enhancing sense of passing gate-keepers/referees/editors. :)

Depending what you want to convey about your work, taking these contemporary conventions into account should surely allow you to avoid any accusations of deception. :)

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