## Research group

[This answer](https://academia.stackexchange.com/a/28843/11365) by JeffE is so perfect, I'm just going to quote it verbatim. He says that asking about the **quality** of a research group is the wrong question,

> What you should be asking is "**How can I judge which research group will best support my educational and career goals?**"  And yes, this is a *very* different question.  And while lab productivity may be correlated with the future career prospects of its members, the two are _not_ identical.  Some great researchers are terrible advisors.
> 
> * Do the lab's **students** have a consistent strong track record of publishing new results?
> 
> * Are the lab's **students** strongly represented at conferences, workshops, and the like?  In particular: Are the lab's **students** given ample opportunity to present their research outside their home department?
> 
> * Are the lab's **students** given ample mentoring and support, both in developing their own research agendas and in applying for external fellowships, lab exchanges, internships, postdoctoral positions, faculty positions, and so on?
> 
> * Are the lab's **students** given ample opportunity for _substantial_ intellectual contributions to the lab's published research, or are they just lab/code monkeys?
> 
> * Does the lab's research agenda closely match your own research interests and abilities?
> 
> * Most importantly: **Where do the lab's former students work now?**  (The worst possible answer is "We don't know.")
> 
> Almost none of these questions can be answered accurately without physically visiting the lab and talking directly to the students _without_ the PI present.  If travel is impractical, use Skype / Google hangout / Facetime / whatever.  Or telephone.  Or, if all else fails, email.

Publishing is key in academia, so to get a sense of a research group, it's also a good idea to look at publications that have come out of the group, as [suggested here](https://academia.stackexchange.com/a/28829/11365):

> * How many articles are published, particularly in high quality journals relevant to the field of interest
> 
> * Is there a consistent strong track record of publishing new results?
> 
> * Their history of representation and contributions to conferences, workshops and the like