The following statement describes a hypothetical system for collective undergraduate research. Currently, students can participate in a pretest of such a system in the Collective Undergraduate Research Project.
Consider the following alternative system for conducting undergraduate research in psychology. Imagine research students from around the country conducting their independent and senior capstone research projects focused on a question that you personally find to be critically relevant. Each year, students could select topics from a short list of “Critical Questions” identified by the discipline (i.e., APS, SPSP) and published in late spring. In the following year when they complete their research, the data could be submitted to a web-portal that you could freely access and analyze. With over 90,000 seniors graduating nationally across the US with a psychology major and about 25 % completing a research project including some kind of empirical data collection, even a meager participation rate would yield a wealth of research that could immensely benefit the field of psychology.
The advantages relate to both pedagogy and theory in psychology. While obstacles are numerous for implementing such a system, it would require relatively minor shifts and additions to the resources we currently expense for undergraduate research training and the added benefits to our students’ education and the experience of faculty who guide undergraduate research far outweigh the costs. Further, consider benefits for undergraduate and graduate student training in quantitative methods accessing data representing diverse projects from multiple institutions across broad geographical regions. Finally, the data would allow for tests of competing theories that could advance the field generally.
As with any radical idea, our established system will be resistant to this change, even though we have the technological and management resources to implement an alternative system of psychological research. I am currently developing alternative models to implement collective undergraduate research projects and would like input from the field about the perceived value and difficulty involved. I would also like to hear from people who are interested in trying to pretest such a system.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments you have about this idea, whether supportive or critical. As with all requests, I promise to summarize the responses.
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- Psychology of Work
- Research Methods/Statistics
- Senior Research
- Social Psychology
Jon E. Grahe
Department of Psychology
Pacific Lutheran University
1010 121st S Street
Tacoma, Washington 98447
- Phone: (253) 535-7394