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I've not seen this question before, so I'll ask it after feedback I received on this question.

I've finished my MBA in the UK and was awarded distinction but would like to find a research group to work with. I'm no longer in the UK (or even Europe) and would like to find a research group with which I could work on a telecommuting / remote basis.

My goal here is not for income (though it's OK if it led to some). My goal is to build my research experience with the thought of pursuing a PhD (business / intercultural management / something in that general area). My MBA didn't result in a lot of research guidance for me so I feel like there are so many things that I don't know and I want to 'fix' that.

Any ideas how someone can find a research group who would be interested in working with someone remotely for free (obviously there is a time and attention commitment from both sides, which is not exactly free)?

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    There are several online networks for research, perhaps you can find groups through them. For example Project Nudge and ResearchGate. Can't post more links or I will be mistaken for a spambot. But search the web for research networks. – Sander Heinsalu Mar 11 '13 at 19:31
  • Engage with researchers on G+, Twitter, and blogs. Ask for preprints and provide helpful comments. – Artem Kaznatcheev Mar 13 '13 at 0:45
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    If you haven't research experience, you might not fully know what's a helpful comment. – Blaisorblade Oct 12 '13 at 2:08
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    @SanderHeinsalu: have you found anything good on ResearchGate? Up to now, most active discussions I've seen are from people outside the research community (down, in the worst-case, to crackpots). I've never seen a good research proposal there. – Blaisorblade Oct 12 '13 at 2:11
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It is actually of mutual interest, but really hard to find an opportunity. Although, you are offering your time for free, group leaders are reluctant to take this risk to leave their research somewhere that they do not have direct (everyday) control. Note that you should work on a research project currently funded at that research group. In other words, the group leader should complete that project in the corresponding timeframe. Thus, too conservative to put the project completion at risk in favor of having a researcher free of charge.

Sorry for this negative answer, but IMO (maybe others have better approaches), the only possibility is to directly contacting some research groups and negotiating about this possibility. Remember that the judgement will be merely based on your experience and potentials. Once again, IMO, the only chance is if the group leader can find your profession useful for a part of the project, which is not critically sensitive.

Conclusion: there is no system for this, you need to convince the group leader personally.

Note: Another solution can be finding an independent researcher like yourself for starting a personally funded research project, but I think this is not what you are looking for.

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Are you referring to this answer on how to gain research experience after a masters? That changes things. That answer suggests to do menial work for some research group. That's one of the few things where people might care less about you being remote, as long as you do the job — after all, they'd likely try to get students to do it. Especially if you can get (with some luck) to coauthor a publication, but that's often hard to discuss upfront.

But is that relevant? I'd disagree with the poster there. But you should ask a professor in your field — possibly one you'd want to apply for; a bit like this other answer suggested. If they think this experience might count, then go ahead.

If you don't have research experience, it's hard for you to know how to approach research. That's what you're supposed to learn in a PhD (or to a little extent in a research master).

If you're not followed often enough by a supervisor, I believe you're unlikely to learn enough research skills.

I'd probably recommend some book like "The Craft of Research" to get started; the problem is, there's tons of stuff you can only learn from a good supervisor.

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