Career Development Guides

Experimental Quality

Experimental Quality

Scientific research, according to a recent book on experimental design, is the process of determining some property Y about some thing X, to a degree of accuracy sufficient for another person to confirm this property Y.

In other words: If it needs to be accurate enough for someone else to confirm it, it needs to be reproducible. Therefore, what distinguishes research from playful observation is reproducibility.

Working with Institutional Review Boards

Protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects

If you intend to conduct research involving human subjects, before you can begin, you must obtain the approval of your institution's Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Most academic or governmental research entities have their own IRBs; there are also independent or commercial IRBs. Regardless, the IRB (sometimes known as an Independent Ethics Committee, or IEC) is the body charged with ensuring that all research conducted at the institution involving human subjects follows regulations and guidelines established by the federal government.

Moving On

The latest installment in BWF’s Career Development Guide series is out.  Moving On:  Managing Career Transitions offers practical advice on when to recognize it’s time to take the next step in advancing your career in research. 

Science writer Karyn Hede interviewed researchers for their advice on setting a good foundation, developing research and teaching statements, networking, securing independent funding, and avoiding common mistakes.

Staffing the Lab

Staffing the Lab:  Perspectives from Both Sides of the Bench answers the question of how to find the best laboratory to work in after a researcher has finished her doctoral program. It also takes the perspective of the principle investigator looking for a candidate to fill a position in her lab.

Staffing the Lab shares the advice and experience of established Burroughs Wellcome Fund awardees and associates.

Communicating Science: Giving Talks

Communicating Science:  Giving Talks is the first in a series of career development guides published by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.  Communicating Science provides advice from scientific speakers, tips on putting together talks, insights into how to use technology to your benefit, horror stories about speeches gone wrong, and pointers to inexpensive, approachable resources available in most communities to polish speaking skills and gain confidence.  

Email Russ Campbell at news [at] for a free print copy.

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