Yes. Students must arrange their research projects BEFORE the start of term. The research collaboration agreement form must be signed by the student and the supervisor and submitted by the end of the week in which the first presentations are given (first presentations typically occur in the second week of classes). It is strongly recommended to look for a supervisor and to scope a COGS 402 project well in advance (a term or two before you plan to do your COGS 402 project).
It is never too early to start planning for your COGS 402 project.
For example, if you plan to do your COGS 402 at term 2 of your 4th year at UBC:
- In your 1st/2nd years, start paying attention to the research topics that excite you. What area would you like to contribute to?
- In your 3rd year, start looking into which labs or research groups you might want to join, and who you might wish to have as your supervisor. Keep paying attention to your own research interests too, in case they change (you may get inspired to do something at a recent guest lecture for instance). It is not too early to start reaching out to places you're interested in and start volunteering at a lab or other research environment. Attend "Gearing Up for 402" hosted by the Cognitive Systems Society (CSS) to hear from students who have completed their COGS 402 projects.
- When you reach 4th year, start generating research question candidates for your COGS 402 project. If you take COGS 401 in term 1, you may find additional inspiration there.
- Start by introspection. What areas of research interest you? Do you have someone in mind who you'd love to work with?
- To find inspiration, see what Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy and Psychology are up to. Note that your COGS 402 does not necessarily need to be in your stream. For example, a student in the computational intelligence and design stream could do a COGS 402 project at a psychology lab. A student in the language stream could do a COGS 402 project under a supervisor in philosophy. There may also be labs or other research environments in Applied Science, Music, Visual Arts, Public Health, Medicine, Kinesiology, etc. that you could do a COGS-related 402 project in.
- Reach out! Send an email (remember to do some research beforehand - what project(s) would you be interested in working on and why?) and/or say hello in person. In case the lab or supervisor is not familiar with what a COGS 402 is, have the information handy (it can be found here).
- For some labs, there may be an "onboarding period" (a time period when you get trained up on how to run studies) before you become eligible to do a COGS 402 project. This onboarding period varies across labs (some labs may have no onboarding period), but it could take 1 full term. This is one of the reasons why students are encouraged to start looking for a project supervisor well in advance.
- Depending on how many research assistants, volunteers and directed studies students a lab already has, a lab can be at capacity and cannot take on additional students. It may be advantageous to pursue multiple threads.
- Not sure if a project is suitable for COGS 402? Do not hesitate to contact your COGS 402 instructor.
- Interested in doing a COGS 402 project with labs outside of UBC or with industry? It is possible, but it can be trickier to arrange. When in doubt, contact your COGS 402 instructor.
- Things to consider when scoping a COGS 402 project:
- Is the project feasible in 3 months?
- Are there any potential roadblocks that can kill your project? How can you minimize that risk?
- The final deliverable is a write-up. Think of what your final deliverable will look like. If you have no idea what that would look like, you might suffer at the end of the term.
- You need to be the one who comes up with a research question, think of ways to answer that question, and to try it out. In other words, you need to be a cognitive agent throughout the project.
- For more information on how to prepare for your COGS 402 project, it is recommended to attend "Gearing Up for 402" hosted by the Cognitive Systems Society (CSS). Students who have completed their 402 projects will be there to offer insight.
Your supervisor can send the evaluation form to the COGS402 instructor directly.