What is the difference between a “project” and a “team”
For the most part, the terms project and team are interchangeable, as most team leaders will only have one of each. For the purposes of the ARP, we consider your research the “project”, and the “team” is the group of students who volunteered to work on the project under your direction. In some cases, team leaders elect to have more than one team. In any case, each team is between 3 and 8 students.
How many teams should I have?
There are several reasons why a team leader might want multiple teams. The most common is because they have more than 8 students who want to work on their project. In this case, the team leader would split the total students among multiple teams, and the other project details would be identical apart from that. Sometimes, a team leader may want to split up the students to work on different aspects of the same project (i.e. different techniques, different research questions, different research sites, etc.). In this case the team leader would select multiple teams, with slightly different project details explaining the purpose an goal of each team. And of course, a team leader may have completely different research projects going on, and therefore need unique teams for each one. This would need multiple teams in the registration form, with different project details for each team.
Why does the ARP limit team size?
As with many of our policies, this is based on feedback from team leaders in previous semesters, as well as our own program evaluation. On the lower end, we ask that each team have at least 3 team members (not including the team leader). This is because there are specific dynamics to team-based work that usually only manifest with a group of three. The content of the leadership program and the best practices we use to inform that content are specific to this kind of team-based dynamic. This is not to say that a team of less than 3 doesn’t work, only that the skills and training we have for the team leader are geared to apply to the minimum size. On the other end, we cap each team at 8 for a similar reason: more than 8 students on a single team start to resemble for a traditional classroom dynamic. Again, this might work for the team leader’s purposes, but the language of team-leadership becomes difficult to translate. Additionally, teams with more than 8 students often naturally start to subdivide themselves, which undercuts the cohesive team dynamic that we try to foster, and this has direct impact on motivation and productivity. In other words, team between 3 and 8 report more cohesion, which translates to better motivation, which in turn creates better performance and productivity.