Research Participation Requirement - PSY 120
Fall, 2006 - Dr. DeFonso


In order to obtain a more detailed and personal understanding of how research is conducted in psychology, students are required to become familiar with the specifics of actual psychological studies. This may be accomplished in one of two ways.

First, students may participate in ongoing research projects conducted by members of the Psychology Department. Such participation may involve, for example filling out a questionnaire or engaging in an activity that is part of an experiment. Alternatively, students may read an article published in a psychological journal and write a short paper on the study.

Students are required to complete four projects. For each project credit earned, you will receive 3 points toward your grade in my class, for a maximum of 12 points. You may choose from the following:

  1. Participate in four different research projects. (Occasionally a project may be worth 2 credits; in this case, you would need only three different projects.)
  2. Complete four alternative assignments.
  3. Some combination of the above, i.e. you may participate in 1-3 studies and fulfill the rest of the requirement by doing the alternative assignment(s).

Students who choose to participate in research projects must do the following:

Students must sign up for studies using the online sign-up system (ExperimenTrak.) There are no sign-up sheets, and there are no exceptions. Instructions for using ExperimenTrak will be provided to you. If you have problems, contact Christina, the Psychology Department secretary.

Students must take note of the date, time, location, and the name of the experimenter running the study. If a phone number is provided, take note of that as well. It is your responsibility to know the date, time, and location of your research appointment. Your PSY 120 instructor is not in charge of these research projects and cannot provide you with this information. Neither can the Psychology Department Secretary.

Students should receive a confirmation/reminder email about 48 hours before the scheduled time of the study. To receive a reminder, you need to make sure your email address is correct in the online sign-up system. To verify or change your email address, go to NOTE: IF THIS LINK DOES NOT WORK, TYPE IN THIS ADDRESS DIRECTLY TO GET TO EXPERIMENTRAK. If you are having problems logging in or using ExperimenTrak, call the Psychology Department secretary at 481-6403.

After logging in, click on the Profile tab at the top of the page. If your email address isn't there or is incorrect, enter or correct it and click the Submit Changes button at the bottom of the page.

Cancellations and No-Shows:

If you must cancel your appointment, be sure to remove your name from the web sign-up sheet as soon as possible, so that another student may take your spot in that study. To cancel your appointment, go to the online sign-up system and log in. Click on the Appointment tab at the top of the page, and click the Cancel button to the right of the experiment you wish to cancel.

You may cancel your participation via the online sign-up system until 1 hour before the session is to begin. If you must cancel your appointment within 1 hour of the session's start time due to some unexpected situation, or if you are unable to use the online system for some reason, you must call either the researcher (if a number has been provided) or the Psychology Department Research Cancellation Number: Dial 481-5441 and then dial 19292#. (you must press the pound key.) Leave your name, the experimenter's name, your professor's name, and the time you were supposed to participate. DO NOT CALL THE PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT SECRETARY!

Failure to show up for a study without notifying the researcher as described above will result in a 0 for that portion of your research requirement. You will not be able to make up those lost points by attempting to earn additional credits. For example, if you sign up for 4 studies and participate in 3 of the studies but fail to show up for the fourth study, you can only earn a maximum of 3 research credits. You cannot earn the fourth credit even if you sign up for a fifth study and participate in it.

You will be able to track the credit earned for participation in research studies with the online system. Check periodically to make sure that your credit has been correctly applied. If there is a problem, contact your instructor as soon as you can.

(For more information or for a list of frequently asked questions, go to:
Please note, however, that the policy on this website is a general departmental policy. Some details of my policy, as outlined on this handout, may be slightly different.)

Students who choose to do an alternative assignment must do the following:

Obtain an article reporting on a research study by going to the section of the library where psychological journals are kept (at IPFW it's on the second floor) and choosing an article from a scientific, scholarly journal (NOT a magazine) published within the last ten years. The article should describe an actual research experiment using human subjects (as opposed to a theoretical article or review of literature; NO rat studies please). Internet sources are OK only if they are actual psychological journals. Examples of scholarly journals include:

Journal of Abnormal Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Journal of Experimental Psychology; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; Cognitive Psychology; Sex Roles.

Write a short summary, approximately 2 pages in length (double-spaced.) The paper should be typed and stapled together. The pages should have one-inch margins all around; do not use big margins or large fonts. 12-point Times New Roman is a good choice.

In the summary of the study, describe why the study was conducted (i.e.what question was being investigated), what methodology was employed, what the results and final conclusions were, and what you think it would be like to have participated in the study yourself. (In other words, this will be a "virtual" research experience.) The summary should be in your own words, not copied from the journal article.

Be sure to include at the top of the paper your name, the day and time that your PSY 120 class meets and the word "Research" (to distinguish it from a Gen.Ed. assignment). Also, write the title of the article, the author(s), the name of the journal in which you found it, and the date, volume, and pages of the journal.

The last day to participate in research projects is Friday, December 8. The alternate research papers must also be turned in by Friday, December 8, 5:00 PM in Neff 388. However, earlier is better.

Link to Dr. DeFonso's General Education Policy.
Back to Dr. DeFonso's home page.