Undergraduate Student Research
In the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, it is never too early to start building research experience. The earlier a student gets involved with a research project, the more practice they will be able to develop.
Research can earn a student internship or course credit, build invaluable workplace experience and begin career-changing relationships with faculty. Each year, students showcase their research at the department’s poster session, and some undergraduates see their research teams’ work published in scientific journals.
"Joining a research lab early on was monumental in developing my vague interests into a passion."
Independent Research Projects
In addition to completing required research participation for psychology majors, students are encouraged to contact faculty directly to learn more about current opportunities. Undergraduates can also search for open research assistant positions, fellowships and more at GW's Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research.
Undergraduate Research Requirement Guidelines
The research requirement is designed to give students hands-on experience with psychological research. Most of the concepts and facts covered in psychology courses have been tested through research; by becoming active members in the process, students have the opportunity to contribute to future findings. To meet the requirement, students must earn points of research credit by participating in a research study or writing reports about articles describing psychological research.
Students in Psychology 1001 are required to earn four points of research credit; students in Psychology 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2101 are required to earn three points of research credit for each course in which they are enrolled. Instructors in any other course may ask students to participate in research projects as a requirement or for extra credit. For the written report option, every acceptable report submitted at the end of the semester will receive one point of research credit. For the research participation option, students receive half a point of research credit for every half hour of participation. In the case of studies lasting less than half an hour, students will receive half a point of credit. Credits only count for the semester in which they were completed, meaning that students may not transfer credits from a previous semester.
Written Report Option
To complete this option, students must select articles from a list of acceptable journals, which are listed on this page and available through the GW Libraries website. The student then writes a two-page paper summarizing each article. Instructions for submitting can be found on the EMS page.
- Acceptable Journals
- Child Development
- Developmental Psychology
- Journal of Applied Psychology
- Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology
- Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
- Journal of Experimental Psychology
- Journal of Abnormal Psychology
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
- Journal of Personality
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
- Journal of Physiological Psychology
- Memory and Cognition
- Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
- Each report must be two pages, double-spaced.
- Students must turn in a photocopy of the first page of the article along with the summary.
- The summary must be in the student’s own words, indicating an understanding of the study. If the summary or major parts of it are lifted word for word out of the article, students will not receive credit.
- The summary should answer these questions:
- What was the major research question being asked?
- Why is this question worth answering
- Briefly, what sort of methods did they use?
- What conclusions did they draw from the study?
- Many articles in these journals include more than one study; students only need to summarize one study from each article if they choose multi-study articles.
Research Participation Option
Students use the Experiment Management System (EMS) to sign up for research studies and track their progress throughout the term. After a student participates in a study, the researcher will report participation to the EMS and provide the participant with a receipt. At the end of the semester, the EMS will report the credit that students have accumulated to their instructor.
Details on how to use the system and obtain participation receipts, participant rights and responsibilities and the process for awarding credit are explained on the EMS page. Questions about research participation? Email the subject pool administrator.