What is research?

Essentially, psychologists are talking about "research" when we plan a way to answer a particular question. In psychology we may be involved in several types of research involving questionnaires, interviews, or experimental equipment. While research can be conducted with either humans or animals, most of the research currently being conducted in the Psychology Department involves humans.

Why get involved in research?

Students are not presently required to participate in research. Many students find that research experience enables them to be more competitive in acquiring employment and is a vital part of getting into graduate programs. In additions, being involved in faculty research studies allows you to get to know a particular faculty member and allows the faculty member to get to know you. This may be particularly crucial when the student needs good letters of recommendation.

How do I get involved in research?

Faculty members are not likely to approach you about participating in their research as a research assistant. The initial contact is up to the student! The easiest way to get involved is to request an appointment with those professors whose research interests sound attractive to you. Once you have talked with the professors, ask them if you could help them with their research. The faculty member will then be able to recommend particular course work that will enable the student to play a major role in the project. Few faculty members would be able to resist an eager and willing research assistant.

What will I do as a research assistant?

Activities of research assistants vary tremendously from professor to professor. The best way to answer this question is by directly asking to professor. Common activities for research assistants include conducting literature reviews, stapling questionnaires, handing out questionnaires to subjects, scoring questionnaires, interviewing subjects, entering subject data on the computer, conducting data analysis on the computer, or helping to write research papers. Several students have presented research findings at regional and national conferences.

Can I get academic credit for being a research assistant?

Yes! Students may sign up for credit using P495 Readings and Research in Psychology. The amount of credit you earn (1, 2, or 3 credits) will depend on the amount of time you work as a research assistant. The professor will discuss these issues with you during your initial discussion. In addition, each professor may require additional work (e.g., a term paper) when you enroll.