Why is Research Important?
As a psychology student, you are asked as part of your course requirements to participate in a number of research studies. Why is this both a worthwhile and important task? There are a number of reasons:
- It provides an opportunity observe the empirical process of psychological inquiry from the inside.
- Your responses assist your fellow students in completing a very important part of their psychological training. If you’ve already completed Research Methods, then you know how important getting good participants is! If you haven’t had it yet, trust me – you will want others to reciprocate when you implement your own research!
- Your responses assist professors and student researchers in forwarding the understanding of human nature – the main goal of Psychology as a science! Some of these studies are covered by news, radio, and television programs based upon their impact. Some may be funded by external grants in the hopes of shedding light on particular behaviors or attitudes. Some might eventually have an impact on your own life or the lives of those you care about!
The department of psychology has recently instituted a new policy regarding research participation.
Research requirements are now based around time spent participating rather than the number of studies one completes. Fifteen (15) minutes of participation time is equal to 1 research credit. Therefore, for example, a study that is posted as three (3) research credits is estimated to require 45 minutes of your time.
Please note that the research credits are decided in advance by the faculty investigator or the student’s faculty mentor based upon expectations of how long participation will take. As a result, if you finish sooner or take more time to complete the study, this will not affect the number of credits you receive. Please take your time during participation and provide the best feedback you can.
All 200-level psychology classes have a requirement of ten (10) units (150 minutes) during the semester. 300- and 400-level courses have a five (5) unit (75 minute) requirement. If you’re taking nothing but psychology courses, this could mean a good deal of research participation! The good news is that you’ll be in a Statistics and Research Methods class eventually, running your own study – and you’ll want a number of helpful, honest participants like yourself when the time comes!
If you do not wish to participate in Psychology research, you may instead do the alternative assignment – an article review. This requires that you read a scholarly article from a peer-reviewed psychology journal (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, etc) related to your class material and give a summary of its hypotheses, methods, results, and conclusions. The article summary should be 1-2 pages in length and written in APA style. You may pick up the Alternative Assignment from the Psychology Department Assisstant's office in Swenson 208.
If you sign up to participate in a study and later find that you cannot make your appointment, it is a professional courtesy to contact the researcher and let them know well in advance. Students who fail to do this – in other words, who simply no-show – will have their name reported to their professors and will be required to participate in an additional study (i.e., on top of the one that was missed) in order to make this up.