Posted By John E. Edlund, PhD, Psi Chi Research Director,
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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Dear Psi Chi Member,
I am proud to introduce Psi Chi’s first-ever celebration of Undergraduate Research Week! All students and faculty—not just undergrads—are invited to join us April 9–13 to shine a light on the latest generation of students striving to advance the science and application of psychology.
In 2010, Undergraduate Research Week was declared by the U.S. House of Representatives. Indeed, many professionals first discovered their passion for research when they were students. This celebration is to recognize those beginnings too, and for the mentors who cultivate countless bright minds. Here are four ways you can honor this special occasion:
1. Join a Research Project
Psi Chi NICE recently partnered with StudySwap, a free tool featuring dozens of projects actively seeking collaborators such as yourself. See the brand-new article which will appear in Eye on Psi Chi, “Undergrad Researchers Will Save Psychological Science,” to learn about additional research opportunities.
2. Receive Financial Support
Psi Chi provides $400,000 annually in awards, grants, and scholarships. This includes significant funding for undergraduate research awards, research grants, and travel grants to conventions. View a complete list of annual programs and deadlines.
3. Share and Support Current Research
Share about your current research projects on Facebook. Use hashtag #PsiChiURW. Specific projects, interests, conference attendance—we want to hear about it all! You are also encouraged to participate in online surveys conducted by Psi Chi members. Twenty-one studies are currently seeking participants; submit a link to your own surveys too.
4. Learn Something New
Over the years, Psi Chi has built up a wealth of free articles and resources about Conducting Research and Attending and Presenting at Conventions. You are welcome to use these in your classrooms and other endeavors.
Open Science Practices
Publishing Your Work
Presenting at Conventions
Undergraduate research opportunities cultivate future generations of passionate and innovative researchers. I look forward to your participation in the celebration!
John E. Edlund, PhD
Psi Chi Research Director
Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)
A Better You
Psi Chi Related
Posted By Sarah Ann Coffin, CSU Monterey Bay,
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Spring Into Research
The morning espresso-to-go routine is back! Welcome all to the new spring semester. As you begin to order books and learn new class schedules, don’t forget to keep your eye on the summer research prize. Often at the start of a new semester, I find myself wrapped up in to-do lists and settling into revised routines. After the extended holiday and relaxation, it can be difficult to prioritize internships and summer research. However, the beginning of the semester is the perfect time to plan for great new opportunities!
Start With a Timeline
Nothing says organization like a rough outline of your research plan. Take a step toward meeting your goals for this semester and summer by establishing a location to jot down deadlines and requirements. Applications like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote provide platforms to map out weekly tasks in organized notebooks by subject. Busy students can use these apps on their mobile phones for quick access to to-do lists on the run. If you are like me, you will love the color coding features that help you keep track of assignments for all of your psychology classes. By getting in the habit of writing down due dates and future opportunities, you can stay on top of research applications, grant deadlines, and assignments this semester.
Fund Your Research
Psi Chi offers grants and awards to fund your research as early as February and March of this year. If you are enrolled in lab or plan to join within the coming year, Psi Chi provides opportunities for financial support for both undergraduate and graduate students. Applications open 30 days prior to deadline dates, so stay updated on ways to fund for your research! While you are perusing Psi Chi’s funding opportunities, take a moment to also check in with your university’s student research center. Many universities throughout the nation provide services to support your research and quest to graduate school through workshops, awards, and grants. Don’t put your dreams of conducting experiments on the back burner; take advantage of the fantastic resources provided to you as a student and member of Psi Chi.
Summer Is Coming!
Let’s face it, it can be frustrating to try to balance a research internship with maintaining grades, personal care, and a social life. Whether you are choosing to invest in summer research for personal edification or for graduate school, finding the right data sources to assist your search for an internship is essential. Try starting with broad websites to give you an idea of the potential research positions available in your concentration, such as the American Psychological Association or the National Science Foundation. From there, you can find sites with internships specific to your interests, such as Johns Hopkins for research in child development or Yale University for origins of social cognition. When you find the concentration that best suits you, don’t forget to record application deadlines in your Evernote or Microsoft OneNote file. Your future self will thank you!
Prepped to Go
With planning on your side, you can tackle landing your desired research position without all of the last minute hassle. For those of you who resolved to procrastinate less in 2018, now is your time to shine! When you do apply for this year’s funding and positions, be confident in your abilities. Whether you are one of ten applicants or one of thousands, be proud of yourself for your careful planning and efforts invested. In preparation alone, you will have exhibited qualities in organization, critical thinking, and goal achievement. Not only will these qualities reflect in your application, but in the way you conduct yourself in your research position as well. Good luck this semester and in all your research endeavors! I can’t wait to see where science takes us next.
Join a Collaborative Research Program
Submitting to Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research
Tips to Find a Faculty Sponsor
A Better You
Posted By Psi Chi Central Office,
Monday, October 9, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
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Psi Chi Story: Katina Harris
Katina D. Harris (Prairie View A &M University) recently won a Psi Chi travel grant to attend to attend SWPA, and so could you! View the deadlines for next year’s regional conventions.
A third-year PhD student, Katina serves as a research assistant and research mentor in the African American Faith Communities Project Lab. She received her BA in psychology at North Carolina Central University, and she has conducted nearly 20 scholarly presentations. Katina’s goal is to become a clinical psychologist and work in academia; her research interests include emerging adults, religion, academics, and mental health. In today’s interview, she answers five quick questions about her Psi Chi story.
For what purpose did you use your travel grant?
SWPA’s 2017 convention in San Antonio was the first academic convention I attended without a mentor or peer. I drove to San Antonio, which is about 3 hours from my home. Because I have an older car, I did not feel confident about driving my personal vehicle to the convention. I used the Psi Chi Travel Grant to secure a rental vehicle ($104.00) and pay hotel parking ($36.80).
I am grateful to receive a Psi Chi travel grant, which helped reduce SWPA expenses and allowed me to present on the importance of mentoring students. Attending SWPA provided a great opportunity for me to meet leading experts, learn about groundbreaking research, and receive presentation feedback. Because I am interested in a career in academia, I also looked forward to meeting psychologists who might provide career advice and inspire new research ideas.
Would you have been able to attend the convention without the travel grant?
This was a wonderful convention and I would like to believe that I would have attended without external funding sources. However, I can not say definitively I would have attended SWPA 2017 convention without financial support from Psi Chi.
How did it feel to win a grant from Psi Chi?
It was my first time applying for any type of award through Psi Chi, and I felt ecstatic to win the travel grant.
Would you recommend Psi Chi awards and grants to fellow students?
I recommend other students apply to receive Psi Chi awards and grants to support their research and professional development.
What has your overall experience with Psi Chi been like?
I have had a good experience with Psi Chi International Organization. The organizational representatives have always been helpful when I called and were very responsive by e-mail. I value my membership with the organization, and I do not regret my decision to become a Psi Chi scholar. When I learned of Psi Chi in 2012, I looked forward to becoming a member because I believed that the organization would benefit me as an undergraduate student. Now as a graduate student, I realize the organization continues to benefit me in multiple ways.
Conduct a Lab Experiment
Psi Chi members, we’d like to hear about your Psi Chi story in the comments below (member login required). And don’t forget to congratulate Katina too! Happy travels, everyone!
Psi Chi Related
Posted By Psi Chi Central Office,
Monday, July 10, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, May 31, 2017
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Praise or Criticism: Which Is Better?
Have you ever been shouted at or talked down to by a coach? Don’t feel bad—many athletes, both amateur and expert, have experienced the same thing. But why? What effect does criticizing, insulting, and even belittling people have on their performance?
Psi Chi member Thomas Gambino (Rutgers University, NJ) recently conducted a study about this controversial topic called “The Effect of Verbal Praise on Maze Completion.” In the study, some of his participants were praised while trying to complete a simple maze task. For example, at the one minute mark, these participants were told, “You are doing great. There are still four minutes left. Remember to erase your lines if you come to a dead end.”
Here’s where it gets interesting. Other participants were not treated so kindly. For example, at the one minute mark, Thomas told them all this: “You are not even close. This maze is hard, but not that hard. Are you taking this experiment seriously?”
In today’s behind-the-scenes interview, Thomas tells us a little about the inspiration and results of this fascinating project.
How did you become interested in this topic?
I became interested through my experiences playing sports. I was fortunate enough to be able to play basketball throughout high school and two years in college. I played on many school teams and travel teams. I always thought the team and I played better with a more encouraging coach. I wanted to put my theory to the test.
What were the general findings of your article?
The general findings were that the encouraging group completed their maze faster than the less encouraging group. The encouraging group was also more likely to persist in completing the task. You can read the complete study, including the encouraging and less encouraging scripts HERE.
What was it like working with participants?
It was very interesting discouraging the participants in the less encouraging group. Many of them either began talking back to me or even insulted me. This caused them to waste time in completing the maze. Many participants gave up after one discouraging statement. At times, it was difficult for me to keep a straight face while saying the discouraging statements. I am not someone that enjoys making people feel uncomfortable.
After the study was over, the participants in the less encouraging group were all relieved to know I was reading off of a script. Some were still confused about why I was “mean” to them. I definitely enjoyed praising the participants in the praise group. It was almost like I was instilling hope in them to keep going, and many thanked me for praising them while they were completing the maze.
Did any challenges arise while you were conducting the study, and if so, how did you handle them?
I had a difficult time finding participants. The study required that participants feel comfortable sitting in a quiet room with me to complete the study. I do not consider myself a creepy person but sitting alone with a stranger can be uncomfortable. What drove me to finish this study was the hope that coaches and teachers would be able to use these results in working with their students and players. Hopefully, I will be able to change a team or classroom in promoting a positive and happy environment.
What advice do you have for individuals wanting to learn more about conducting research?
I would recommend that interested individuals recruit diverse participants. Almost all of my participants were White college students. It would be interesting to see how others would react. In conducting any research/experiment, it is important that the individual loves the topic. It is not enough to be “interested” alone.
Another helpful tip is to find a research advisor who you love working with. My advisor, Dr. Verneda Hamm Baugh was instrumental to my study. I remember spending countless hours in her office working on my paper. It is definitely a long road but something I would highly recommend for every undergraduate student!
Conduct an Experiment
Psi Chi members, can you think of a time when you received praise or less than encouraging feedback from a coach or mentor? Tell us how this made you feel and how you reacted in the comments below (member login required).
Also, don't forget, submissions to Psi Chi Journal are open year round!
All Things Psych
Posted By Psi Chi Central Office,
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
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All About Psi Chi's
New Call for Abstracts!
To encourage open and reliable research practices, Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research is proud to announce a Call for Abstracts (due June 30) for potential manuscripts to be published in a special issue. In today’s post, Invited Editor Dr. Steven V. Rouse (Pepperdine University) shares about this very unique opportunity.
What is the special issue about?
In the last couple of years, there has been growing interest in making research more transparent. It used to be the case that researchers would only share their materials or data with people who directly asked for it, and then only when they could justify a compelling reason. The problem is that this made it hard to replicate studies, so it was hard to know whether the results were simply a statistical fluke or really represented a consistently observable finding. So, several journals have started awarding Open Science Badges to articles that have followed some of the contemporary best practices in research.
What are Open Science Badges?
The Center for Open Science encouraged journals to begin awarding three badges, which you can see at https://osf.io/tvyxz/. The first is called Open Data, which simply means that the researchers have agreed to post their data online at an open-access site, allowing anyone to download the data (provided that it doesn’t violate confidentiality or any other aspect of the IRB approval).
The second is Open Materials, which is given to an article if the authors post their surveys and other research materials on a freely accessible website (except, of course, for anything that is protected by copyright or test security restrictions).
The third is Preregistration. This means that the researchers took the time (ideally prior to data collection, but at least prior to data analysis) to specify their research plans. This would include details like the number of subjects that would be included, the specific procedures of the study, the hypotheses, and the statistical analyses that would be performed. Really, almost all of us think through these questions before starting a study anyway because these are the kinds of questions that researchers have to answer for IRB approval. The difference is that the researchers agree to have these details “frozen” on a publicly accessible website before gathering or analyzing their data.
In addition to those three badges created by the Center for Open Science, Psi Chi Journal also created its own fourth badge: Replication. Because Psi Chi Journal and the Psi Chi Research Advisory Committee believe that replication is an important part of the scientific process (as explained HERE), we wanted to recognize articles that serve this important role.
Beyond that quick overview of the four badges, I wrote an editorial that explains each of them in more depth.
Why should a researcher want to be published in this special issue?
I truly believe that the field of empirical psychology is at a turning point that will be historic. We are moving in a direction that is more open and transparent, more collaborative, and more intentional. And I think this change is a positive one. It excites me to know that Psi Chi Journal is at the forefront of this change, along with some of the flagship journals of the Association for Psychological Science. And it excites me to know that our authors—especially the authors who are already doing high-quality empirical research in their undergraduate years—will be among the earliest psychological researchers to earn Open Science Badges.
Who is eligible to submit an abstract?
Any Psi Chi member—undergrad, grad, or faculty member—can submit an empirical research article to be considered for publication in Psi Chi Journal. For this special issue, though, there are a couple of specific criteria. First, the manuscript needs to qualify for one or more of these Open Science Badges. But, second, the project needs to be far enough along—either completed or in advanced stages—for us to be able to expect the completed manuscript submission later this fall. So if you are working on your IRB proposal this summer and plan to collect data when the fall arrives, why not send in a proposal abstract?
How easy or difficult is it to earn a badge?
The nice thing about the badges is that researchers can choose for themselves how much they want to jump into this new approach—do they want to stick their toes in the water to try it out, or do they want to jump all the way in. For me personally, when I realized that this was the direction that our science is moving in, I just jumped right in, and I found out it was a lot easier than I expected. In part, this is because of an amazing website called the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/), which allows researchers to create free accounts that they can use to store their data, their materials, and to preregister their studies.
But, realistically, some badges would be easier to earn than others. The Open Materials badge would be the easiest. After all, this just means that the authors have posted the surveys and other research materials on OSF for anyone to access. As long as this doesn’t violate copyright laws or test security ethical principles, I think most studies should be able to earn this badge. In fact, every time I conduct a survey study now, I post the survey on my OSF site: https://osf.io/a2rpv/
People who are willing to make a bigger commitment could also explore the Open Data badge. It’s still a very easy process—authors simply upload Excel files or SPSS files or R files onto OSF. This is a bit trickier than the Open Materials Badge, though, because authors need to make sure this doesn’t violate privacy. If an author didn’t indicate on their IRB proposal that they were going to upload the data, they should probably check with their IRB representatives to make sure that this wouldn’t be a violation of their approval. But now, for example, whenever I submit an IRB proposal, I inform my IRB that the data will be stripped of any identifying information and then will be posted permanently on OSF; I also explain this on the Informed Consent Forms.
A Preregistration requires a greater commitment, but it’s become so helpful to me personally that I can’t imagine ever doing a study without preregistering it. When you create a project on OSF, there’s a link that lets you preregister it; it leads you through a set of questions about your methodology, hypotheses, and planned analyses, and then when you are satisfied with your answers, it freezes the preregistration. In other words, the system puts a time-stamp on your preregistration and prevents you from making any further changes. Then, when you actually conduct the study, you follow the steps you already laid out in advance (unless you have a reason to make a change, in which case you simply explain the reason for the change. These are called Transparent Changes, which still allow you to earn a badge).
Probably the greatest commitment is a Replication, because everything about your study is guided by the article that you are trying to replicate. In some ways, this seems like it should be easier, because you are following in someone else’s footsteps. However, in order to be a true replication, an author needs to be conscientious to step exactly in those existing footprints or to be aware of any deviations. So everything about the study must perfectly duplicate the original study or clearly explain what factors they changed and why. After all, if the results of a replication differ from those of the original study, we need to be able to come up with hypotheses for why the findings weren’t consistent.
Would my article be eligible for the $1,000,000 Preregistration Challenge?
This is really exciting. The Center for Open Science has a $1,000,000 fund to award prizes of $1,000 to 1,000 researchers who preregistered their studies and then published them in approved journals. Learn more.
However, there are two important details. First, when preregistering on OSF, you have to specify that you want to be eligible for the Preregistration Challenge and answer a specific set of questions. You see, when you preregister, OSF provides you with a few different options of preregistration questions to answer. The simplest set of questions is the AsPredicted form, which I used for a project preregistered as seen HERE. As shown, this is simply a set of eight very basic questions. However, this wouldn’t qualify for the challenge. Another option is called the Preregistration Challenge form, which I used for a project I preregistered HERE. As you can see, this is much more in-depth, with 26 questions to answer. Then, when you submit it, a researcher at OSF reviews it and sends you an e-mail if there are details that you need to clarify. So this is more time-consuming, but I have found it to be really helpful in getting feedback about my plans.
Second, even if a project has been preregistered, it can only win the award if it gets published in a journal that qualifies for Preregistration badges. If you visit HERE, you can see that more than 3,000 journals are now awarding badges. However, only a few dozen of these are in psychology—the rest are in other scientific disciplines. So you have to be sure to submit it for publication in one of the journals on this list. Because Psi Chi Journal was one of the early adopters of the Open Science Badges, our manuscripts meet this qualification requirement for the award.
What were your thoughts when you were asked to lead this special issue?
When Dr. Debi Brannon, the editor of Psi Chi Journal, asked me to serve as the guest editor, I was really excited. After all, I really believe that this is an important new change in the field of empirical psychology, and I look forward to the day when it’s more common to see preregistrations, replications, and open posting of data and materials. But then it struck me how unique this idea is. You see, every time I’ve ever seen a Special Issue of any psychological research journals, all of the articles are unified by a certain theme or a certain topic, like when the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science had a special issue all about the cognitive ability of dogs (Vol. 25, Issue 5). This is completely different. This issue won’t be unified by a topic area. Instead, the articles will be similar in that they will have all taken the steps necessary to earn one or more of these badges. Psi Chi Journal has never before had a special issue, and I think this is the best way to start—bringing awareness to this new set of best practices in psychological research.
Conduct an Lab Experiment
Psi Chi members, do you have questions about the special issue, our journal, or its badges? We would like to hear from you in the comment section below (member login required).
Psi Chi Related