Should I allow students to volunteer as research assistants?

Enthusiastic students may volunteer to contribute to your research project during the academic year or over the summer. However, a volunteer’s enthusiasm often fades over time as research competes with other commitments, particularly paid work and credit-bearing classes. Ask volunteers what their other commitments are and how much time they can realistically commit to research. Set expectations for volunteers so that you are not investing more work than they are.

Finally, consider whether you can support volunteers either financially or with academic credit, and make such support visible. Working class students may not have time for volunteer activities that don’t have immediate material benefits.