Different types of research
April, 2021 | 4 mins read
By Caitlyn Siu
Fifth Year | Faculty of Science, Integrated Sciences
Getting into research can be overwhelming, especially since there are several different types you can get involved in. Let’s take a look at a few types of research to help ease the process.
Wet labs are dedicated to investigating chemicals, drugs, gases, and/or biological samples. These are the typical labs you might be able to picture with lab benches, safety equipment, hoods, sinks, fridges, and other equipment. If you’ve participated in any Chemistry lab course, you already have some experience working in a wet lab!
Working in these labs may involve handling different chemicals and “wet” hazards, so you will be able to gain experience adhering to strict safety measures and sterilization procedures. Additionally, you will be able to observe real-life processes occurring in front of your eyes, which can be really helpful to understand theoretical concepts from your classes. A couple examples of the many experiments you can conduct in a wet lab include chemical titrations, bacterial culturing, and light diffraction.
Dry labs involve computational and mathematical analysis, often using computational models to simulate real-life processes. Working in dry labs is a great way to develop your computational and critical-thinking skills. You can also gain some valuable experience working with a variety of electronic tools and computing equipment.
With a position in a dry lab, you might be able to work on bioinformatics projects involving R, use electronic equipment in a robotics lab, or simulate the processes of a black hole on a computer model. The possibilities are endless!
Clinical research typically evaluates the screening, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. Depending on the focus of the research, a position in a clinical research lab may give you valuable experience interacting directly with patients and working on ongoing clinical trials.. Clinical research can also involve collecting tissue samples from certain populations and investigating the use of new therapeutic devices.
If you are interested in contributing to advancements in patient care and learning about how treatments are developed along the way, clinical research might be a good choice for you!
Fieldwork is another valuable way to get involved in research. Fieldwork brings you out of the laboratory to collect raw data from the real, natural environment. You may have the opportunity to collect data on people, culture, and landscapes through methods such as participant interviews and landscape surveying.
If you’re interested in hands-on opportunities outside of traditional laboratory settings, fieldwork may be a good option for you!
Choosing the type of research you want to pursue will depend on the experience and skills you want to develop and the research topic you are interested in. Each type of research has its own unique benefits and opportunities to develop valuable skills, so don’t be afraid to get out there and explore the research opportunities that are available to you!