What is this person's relationship to me?
December 3, 2011 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Somewhat silly usage question: If I'm someone's research assistant, how can I succinctly describe their relationship to me?

I'm registering rec letter authors for graduate school applications, and I'm getting hung up (probably in an effort to procrastinate) on how to fill out the "Relationship to You" field on some of these forms. Basically, what's an analogous way to say: "I was his research assistant; he was my ______"? For example, if someone was my professor, I was zer student.

'Supervisor' isn't quite right because he didn't supervise me per se, I find data/edit/program for this guy.

I can always put "colleague" or just "I was his research assistant" in these forms but the former doesn't really seem to describe the relationship accurately and the latter seems cumbersome (but it's probably what I'll go with if I can't think of anything else). Thought the hive mind might have some ideas.

This is in a social scientific context, not a lab, if that makes any difference.
posted by dismas to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He was your "senior research staff".
posted by knz at 1:26 PM on December 3, 2011

Research advisor.
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:28 PM on December 3, 2011 [7 favorites]

Research advisor
posted by k8t at 1:28 PM on December 3, 2011

posted by maurreen at 1:31 PM on December 3, 2011

Research Lead.
posted by Quarter Pincher at 1:32 PM on December 3, 2011

Research director? Research manager?
( advisor doesn't emphasize the paid job/ subordinate employee aspect I think?)
posted by Bwithh at 1:34 PM on December 3, 2011

Professor? Research assistant supervisor?
posted by deadweightloss at 1:52 PM on December 3, 2011

Research lead / research supervisor or, better yet:

If you happen to know that they're the principal investigator on the research project (ie, they're the project leader), you could present them as principal investigator.
posted by Milau at 1:55 PM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks y'all! I went with "research supervisor" (didn't quite want to use "research director" since that's someone's job title at my institution).
posted by dismas at 1:56 PM on December 3, 2011

Yeah, if they're the faculty member running the research project, then principal investigator.
posted by clerestory at 7:00 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, but "principal investigator" is their relationship to the project, not to their research assistant(s).

If I am Alice's research assistant, she may well be the principal investigator, but she's my research supervisor.
posted by flabdablet at 9:10 PM on December 3, 2011

Ok, maybe this is a field-specific thing, then, because I read "research supervisor" as someone who is overseeing the student's independent work (like on a undergrad research project, independent study, or thesis) and I definitely hear grad students talk about "my PI." This is in mostly biomed fields, fwiw. Might also be institution specific.
posted by clerestory at 10:48 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Supervisor, research supervisor, research advisor, trial coordinator, principal investigator, boss, author (if it's a book). I just called mine Professor since that was her title at the institution & that's what she preferred.
posted by zdravo at 1:49 PM on December 4, 2011

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