Announcing the Psi Beta National Research Project for 2010-2011!!!

Psi Beta National Research Project – Overview
Psi Beta’s National Council is pleased to invite all Psi Beta chapters to participate in an exciting new research and service project. Chapters will have the opportunity to conduct a great research project that involves participation in a national study. Chapters can then present their portion of the study at local and regional conferences. Furthermore, each chapter’s study will have the potential to grow into an important local service project that involves promoting the academic success of first year college students.

1. Variables to be Measured – Participating chapters will measure the extent that students – first year freshmen – on their campus perceive themselves to be socially and academically “connected” to their campus, the extent they desire to become further connected, and personality factors such as shyness that may interact with connectedness. Instruments for measuring shyness, campus connectedness, and associated personality factors are provided in a research packet.

2. Target Population – First year, fulltime (12 unit or more) degree and/or transfer-bound freshmen students at your campus are the preferred sample group.

3. IRB Safeguards – The Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Irvine Valley College has approved this study. The study meets the APA’s research ethics guidelines for proper and safe treatment of human participants.

4. Informed Consent – Participating chapters must include informed consent procedures in their study. Psi Beta will provide an informed consent template that chapters can adapt for their own use.

5. Data Uses – Data from each chapter’s study will be used in three ways:
A. Local Research Study – Local Psi Beta chapters can analyze their data to determine the extent that their freshman students experience shyness, are socially and academically integrated with the campus, and their desire to become further connected to the campus. Many hypotheses can be tested with the data collected. Chapters can prepare their findings and present their study at regional and local conferences. Having done a high quality research project will help chapters qualify for Psi Beta’s “Chapter Excellence” recognition award.
B. Participation in a National Study – Local chapters will be expected to input their data to Psi Beta’s national research database. Each chapter should submit a minimum of 30 cases (i.e., data from at least 30 different students). Psi Beta’s research team will organize the national data into an Excel and a SPSS data file which will then be made available to participating chapters. Chapters submitting their local data will be acknowledged in any publications or articles produced from the aggregate data.
C. Potential Service Project for Local Chapters – Psi Beta chapters can use their data for designing any number of service projects designed to help students work through their shyness and/or to develop and evaluate ways to help students better connect with the college. Assisting students in these ways can literally change lives. There is a body of research showing, for example, that students who are better connected to their college are more likely to persist and reach their educational and career goals.

6. The Instruments – The study consists of three instruments. Dr. Bernado J. Carducci, Director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, has provided a shyness scale. A second instrument, the Campus Connectedness Instrument (CCI) was designed specifically for this study. The Big 5 personality inventory is the third instrument. Please note that the three instruments mentioned here are incorporated into a single questionnaire. You will administer one questionnaire to your participants. That single questionnaire will include all three of the instruments – this will make the data collection process more efficient.

7. Project Due Dates –
a. Notify Psi Beta of your Chapter’s Interest in Participating – by December 1st, 2010 via an email sent to Executive Director Jerry Rudmann (jrudmann@ivc.edu).
b. Submit data via the online survey – on or before February 28th, 2011.
c. Request data files from Executive Director (jrudmann@ivc.edu) any time after March 16th, 2011.

8. Research Consultants – The following individuals have agreed to serve as research consultants for this study: Bernado J. Carducci, Ph.D., Shyness Research Institute, Indiana University Southeast; Kari Tucker, Ph.D., Psi Beta advisor and professor of psychology at Irvine Valley College; and Jerry Rudmann, Ph.D., Executive Director of Psi Beta.

Further Details for Chapter Participation

1. Request to Participate – The chapter’s primary advisor should email Psi Beta’s Executive Director (jrudmann@ivc.edu) and request to participate by December 1st, 2010.

2. Download Materials
– Download and print the following documents

A) The questionnaire (this is a digital copy that you can use to create your own “hard copy” questionnaire). This is what your participants will complete unless you choose to have your participants enter their data directly into the online form (see 2e below). Note that this questionnaire includes all three of the instruments (Connectedness, Shyness, and the Big-Five).
B) The informed consent form
C) Reseacher scripts
E) Link to online data form – chapters should use the data input link (see 4 below) to input data from their participants. Alternatively, chapters can bring participants to an on-campus computer lab, have them complete the informed consent form, and then have participants themselves enter their responses directly into the online questionnaire. See 4 below for the link to the online data entry form.

3. Search the Literature – Using Astin’s (1999)* paper as a “seed” article, search for more recent journal articles on college student engagement, academic and social integration, quality of effort, and campus involvement as these concepts relate to the academic outcomes of college students. If you focus your study more on shyness, also look for journal articles and books on shyness. Look also for recent articles on the Big Five personality inventory. The literature search will serve to familiarize student researchers with the state of knowledge on this topic.
*Astin, A. W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40, 518-529.

4. Gather and Submit Data – You should sample from the population of first-year freshmen students at your college. Your sample size should be at least 30, but a larger sample size will help ensure a more representative sample especially when randomly sampling is not practical. Submit your data via the online data form on or before February 28th, 2011. This link goes to the online data submission form.

5. Request National Data File – After March 16th, 2011, the chapter’s primary advisor should contact the Psi Beta Executive Director at jrudmann@ivc.edu to request a copy of the national data file (Excel and SPSS). Only participating chapters will be provided with the data files.

6. Analyze the Data
– Analyze your data using procedures covered in introductory level statistical courses. Use appropriate descriptive statistics to determine response frequencies, averages, and standard deviations. Basic inferential statistics (e.g., correlations, independent and dependent t-tests, and ANOVA) can be used for testing your hypotheses. Does the data indicate, for example, that students who describe themselves as shy are less connected than non-shy students? Are female students more open to receiving help in becoming better connected than are male students? Many other hypotheses can be explored.

7. Write Up Your Findings – Prepare a research report for your study. Follow reporting guidelines as described in the textbook used in your college’s research methods course. If the psychology department at your college doesn’t offer a research methods course, obtain a copy of one of the many textbooks written for this course (e.g., Cozby, 2004). Write your report using American Psychological Association (APA) style format (American Psychological Association, 6th edition). Use your research report to prepare a research poster for presentation at a conference poster session. Members can enter their papers into the annual Psi Beta / Pearson student research paper competition. Your chapter can host its own mini-conference (have a keynote speaker on psychological research, then have a student poster session, followed by refreshments!).


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