I'm currently a second-year university taking up bs industrial engineering. I applied to the student assistantship program in the school earlier this year. Nowhere in the post states that it also includes looking for student research assistants. Fast forward, i got accepted and i saw that i got placed in under research offices. I'm now a student research assistant. I'm dismayed to learn that I have a research paper due at the end of my term as a SRA. I applied knowing that I want to have a hands-on experience on clerical tasks, also for the purpose i have an extra allowance on the side. I feel now that i just added another heavy responsibility to my life, along with my academic requirements in my program. Anyways, as i said I'm a SRA and yet there is no research papers in the office for me to assist. My head does not have any ongoing publications or research papers and sometimes they ask me to do clerical stuff for the office which I'm happy to oblige. But most of the time, I am left with myself to figure out how am I going to do my paper. Since i am in industrial engineering, my task is to create a paper in how my field can help in the office. I am currently having a hard time how to figure this out, especially that my head is expecting a full paper with chapters 1-5. I'm still in undergrad, i don't have the right or perfect skills of making a research paper, let alone by myself. The part that i am having the most difficulty is the methodology part and lastly, the results. The due of this paper will probably on May 22, basically less than 4 months since the effectivity date of my position. I am asking if this setup is just normal, or was the title of "student assistant research" is a scam since i am not feeling the role of a SRA. I feel more like a student researcher to which i did not even apply for.

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    Have you tried talking to anyone involved in the hiring process about these issues? If you didn't, why not? After all, it should normally be at least somewhat transparent what kind of tasks a position you apply for should entail?
    – Sursula
    Apr 10 at 7:06
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    Since you are writing in a rather informal way and your question appears like a wall of text ... bs industrial engineering made me laugh at first I thought bs was a shortening for a ratehr informal expression to describe your situation :D
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 10 at 9:08
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    Why can't you decline it? Why didn't you?
    – Buffy
    Apr 10 at 11:29
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    FYI it seems like you are tripped up by the semantics of the two titles “student research assistant” and “student researcher” … you seem to believe the research assistant is a clerical position. In my university, it is a research position, these are junior researchers. They should have extensive guidance and are not expected to do anything independently.
    – Dawn
    Apr 10 at 18:19
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    Is this for credit or pay? If it's for credit, year or like a semester paper. If it's for pay, then treat it like a progress report on your job. The research paper seems to be just an internal paper. Maybe instead of thinking about it like a journal paper, can you write it as "this is what I learned?" You can't be expected to write anything substantial as a sophomore. The question has a lot of confusing points - a paper with 1-5 chapters doesn't make sense. If you're an SRA, shouldn't you have a research advisor or supervisor? It's likely you might be misunderstanding the expectations.
    – sh314
    Apr 10 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


As a sophomore, you're not ready to write research by yourself unless you're some wunderkind who is far beyond your years, especially not in any engineering field. Presumably, whoever is supervising you or overseeing this position has to know this. So, any paper you do would almost certainly reflect that you're a sophomore in college.

Based on your post, it doesn't even seem to be very technical. I think it's asking how your degree can help in an office setting, if I understood you well. So, it's more about applying industrial engineering to office-spaces, I guess? Anyways, best you can do is try and have a better understanding of the expectations. They won't be asking for any applied math/econometrics work, that's for sure, so all you can do is your best. I would still talk with whoever is the supervisor, though.

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