Research Participation

Empirical research provides the foundation for psychological knowledge. Therefore, one of the goals of the Psychology Department is to help students understand how empirical research is conducted, and how it contributes to our knowledge base. In an effort to achieve that goal, students are given opportunities to participate in a variety of research projects throughout the year. Our hope is that research participation will help students make connections between theory and research, and will help researchers recruit study participants.

Research Requirements for General Psychology (PSY-150)

All students enrolled in General Psychology (PSY-150) are required to participate in activities that will help them learn more about how research is conducted, and how it contributes to psychological knowledge. Students are encouraged to serve as participants in psychological research studies that are carried out by IWU faculty; however, an alternative research activity is available if students elect not to participate. All research participation must be completed by the Monday of the last week of regularly scheduled classes.

Ways to Meet the Requirement:

  1. Research Participation. Students may participate in 2 hours of research that is approved by the Psychology department (studies are posted online and, occasionally, may be mentioned in class). An hour of participation is equal to 4 credits (every 15 minutes of participation = 1 credit). Therefore, students will need a total of 8 credits for the semester. Note that if you sign up for a study you should arrive five minutes early because some experiments cannot accommodate late participants. Students who are unable to make a scheduled appointment, must notify the researchers beforehand or they will be penalized. If you are interested in serving as a research participant, please read the instructions for using our online research participation system. There you will find out more information about the various studies that are being conducted and you can choose which one best fits your interests and schedule

  2. Alternative Writing Assignment. Students may read peer-reviewed journal articles from one or more areas of psychology and write about them. Each article summary is worth 4 credits; therefore, students must complete two article summaries to meet the 8 credit research requirement. Eligible articles include those that are at least 5 pages in length and report the results of original empirical research (i.e., research that involves the collection of data from human or animal subjects). The requirement for article summaries may vary by instructor, but should be at least 500 words in length and include the following:
    • APA style citation of the article
    • Identification of the research question(s)
    • Description of the methods the researchers used to conduct their study
    • Description of the results of the study
    • Summary of the authors conclusions
    • What you learned about research after having read this article
    If you have any questions, please contact the Research Coordinator in the Psychology Department at 765.677.2409 or send an email to

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