Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Careers in psi research

I'm often asked about how one pursues a career in psi research, meaning how does one earn a living doing this sort of research. Here's how one person asked this question (I've changed a few minor details to maintain the writer's anonymity):

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"I'm writing for your advice and opinion regarding a career in this type of research. I've been casually interested in the study of consciousness and extrasensory research for many years, but would like to pursue this path full-time. I have a BS in engineering and have worked in technical research for 5 years. I was able to learn and contribute to my field, publish a few manuscripts in peer reviewed journals, etc. but have decided that I need to focus my energy on something that I have a sincere interest and passion for."

"I'd also like to work with researchers such as yourself who are taking a scientific approach to consciousness, ESP, etc. I think the results of this research are important, but it also provides legitimacy to the field, rather than the entertainment/sideshow viewpoint that many in the general public have... I'd like to apply my research background, but as you probably know, there aren't many jobs in extrasensory research. Do you have any suggestion or advice in terms of getting into this type of research? Specifically, do you feel that an advanced degree is required?"

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My response:

Given the nonexistent career track in this realm, this is a risky decision that would only appeal to a very small percentage of fledgling scientists and scholars. My advice for students is to (1) earn a PhD in a traditional scientific or scholarly discipline from an accredited, recognized university, and then become successful in that discipline. This step might take 6 to 8 years after an undergraduate degree. (2) Attend the annual conventions of the Parapsychological Association (www.parapsych.org) to meet professionals who have worked in the field for many years. You can start this immediately, at any age. (3) Read the relevant journals and start doing your own experiments or scholarly work. (4) Start publishing and presenting papers in journals interested in these topics. (5) Make it known to the people you've met that you're interested in any jobs that may arise. And (6) be prepared to move, perhaps multiple times, to where the jobs are. Demonstrated interest, competence and persistence are prime attractors in all realms of life, including this one.

1 comment:

Malcolm said...

I've been reading this blog's history for 6 or 7 hours now. And there's something about the concluding words to this 8-year old entry ("Demonstrated interest, competence, and persistence are prime attractors in all realms of life, including this one.") that I find especially characteristic. And the fact that no one commented on it . . . strangely touching.