The Right Research Team: Why You Need It and How to Get It

Research teams bring together people of varying skill sets and knowledge bases to create something none of them could have written individually. They only work, though, if you gather the right people.

Creating the right team starts with something very simple: choosing the number of people to work with. You don’t want your team to be too big and cumbersome to manage, but at the same time you want diverse opinions and expertise. This number will vary for every project and researcher, and you can always change the quantity later if you find someone you really want to add.

Still, it’s a good thing to anticipate so you don’t end up with too few or too many people. Ideally, you’ll strike a balance where everybody has a different point of view and a different set of skills, and where no one is crowded out, but at the same time there are independent voices and relationships don’t get stressed and strained.

While leadership experts have pointed to six as the best team size, they advise that anywhere between five and 12 is a good range.

Picking the Players

After you’ve selected a number, you’ll need to choose the actual researchers you want to work with. Chances are you already have some idea about this, but try thinking outside the box; you may be inspired to add a new person to the team – perhaps someone from a different discipline or with a different research or leadership style that you hadn’t considered.

Building a great research team doesn’t stop at the assembly stage, though. After building the team, it’s important to maximize how well people work together. Some find that having a shared space enhances collaboration and productivity because it allows people to share and talk in real time. In today’s world, however, you may specifically want to work with people at different organizations and institutions, and in these cases it is helpful to have a program – such as EndNote – which facilitates this type of interaction.

Your researchers should think of themselves as a team; otherwise, they’ll be more focused on their own portion and personal opinions than on the whole project.

One way to build a team mindset is by encouraging team members to see each other as more than professional colleagues. Help them know each other and see common goals. This is what separates “team assembly” from “team building” – and you’ll see the difference in the final product.


Learn how EndNote can help you collaborate with your research team! 
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