Is research for me? Self-assessment

Getting into research is often more like a long gentle slide than a single step. There is plenty of time to wonder if you should be on that slide or jump off, and whether or not you like the look of the landing spot.

Here are some points that might be helpful to consider. If you find yourself saying yes to most of the questions below then my guess would be that you might do better on a clinical research path than if you say no to them. Having said that, I would have said no to at least a good few of them before I got into research – so it could just pay to stay on the slide if you are enjoying the ride.

Questions to consider:

Do you thrive on asking questions, and obsessively pondering about things? Do your friends accuse you of never switching off from thinking and analysing?

Do you embrace feedback, and suggestions for how things could be improved? Can you look at something you have done, discuss it with another person for a fresh pair of eyes, and find a way to make it better? Can you come through dissapointing hits (a period of sulking and self pitty allowed), and build new, turning what seems like a gail force head wind to your advantage?

Are you self-directed and self-assured? Do you get stuff done without someone holding your hand? Do you dare action even at the risk that others might not approve? Do you have inner conviction, and are you able to listen to it?

Can you tolerate uncertainty? Uncertainty of not knowing what you are doing, and having to work outside your comfort zone for much of the time? Personal uncertainty over where your next job might appear from to what your career will exactly look like? Can you view uncertainty as an opportunity to discover and to keep options open?

Are you comfortable to accept your ignorance while also being very thirsty to learn? Essentially, are you happy to know that you do not know very much, and that the little you do know will probably be shown to be false in due course? And, in fact, do you actively seek to expose your own ignorance, and to prove yourself wrong?

Declaration: this self-assessment has received zero testing and has a completely unknown validity and reliability.

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