How to get a new student into a new job, study says
NEW YORK — Students may want to be able to tell professors they’ve read a paper before, but research has found it’s harder to get them to write one themselves.
So it’s worth asking if a new hire might benefit from knowing their own work before they accept the job offer.
The answer, according to a new study from Harvard University, is yes.
“I think it’s important for prospective students to be aware of the research that’s being done on the topic of the thesis,” said study co-author Daniel K. Cohen, a professor of psychology at Harvard.
“In this case, the research suggests that people are more likely to accept the thesis if they know how it was written and how it’s being presented.”
Students and their professors typically have a lot of access to research on a topic, Cohen said, so they tend to know it’s not an academic article.
They also have a high level of trust in the research, so students feel comfortable sharing their own opinions and reading the article they’ve written.
But when researchers ask students to read and write the same paper, that trust goes away, said study researcher Jonathan S. Cohen of Harvard.
The same holds true for professors who ask students if they’ve seen the paper, said Cohen.
“They tend to think it looks like a good academic article,” Cohen said.
But the researchers wanted to see if the same effect might happen if they didn’t.
So they asked more than 1,000 people to read a summary of research on two topics: whether people prefer reading about other people’s work to reading about themselves and how they’d interpret the paper.
The subjects were asked to write a statement about the topic they were reading and to write about what they saw in the paper and in the interview.
“When students were asked questions about the thesis, the degree to which they thought the thesis was a good or good job opportunity was higher than when they weren’t,” Cohen wrote in an email.
The students also answered questions about whether they felt comfortable asking for a new colleague to take the class.
And when the paper was read, those who had read the paper in question were more likely than the students not to say they would be willing to write for a colleague if it meant they’d get a better job.
The researchers said they hope their findings could help policymakers and employers evaluate a potential hiring strategy, which may include talking to new faculty or even asking the candidate if they would like to work for someone else.
They’re not recommending a formal recommendation to hire or a job offer to the candidate, Cohen added.
But they hope to spur discussion about the potential of the paper to be an advantage in the classroom.