There are various ways in which Psi Beta students can gain research experience. If your college offers courses in introductory behavioral research methods and behavioral statistics, students can learn a lot about the research methods used in psychology by completing those courses. The research course may require students to engage in a study in which data are gathered and the results of the study are used to prepare an APA-style report. Research reports such as these may be sufficient to present in a poster session at a research conference and/or to submit to Psi Beta’s annual research paper competition. If your college is in a state in which community colleges are not expected to offer introductory research methods courses, Psi Beta students still have ways in which they can engage in research activities that culminate in a paper and a poster presentation. Regardless of the approach used to provide Psi Beta students with research experiences, all studies MUST be conducted under the mentorship of a psychology professor.
There are several ways in which a chapter can promote student research:
- RESEARCH AND STATISTICS COURSES – Encourage members to complete the psychology research methods and statistics courses and use that opportunity to do a study.
- PSI BETA CHAPTER RESEARCH COMMITTEE – Regardless of the availability of research and statistics courses on campus, any chapter can form a Research Committee. The Research Committee can meet outside of the regular Psi Beta chapter meetings and plan and conduct one or more studies. Be sure the research committee includes a psychology professor who can meet with them. All psychology teachers have completed courses in research and have the expertise needed to mentor student research studies.
- CONFERENCES – Find conferences in which members can present posters (some conferences allow students to give oral presentations as well). All regions of the country have annual regional conferences. The west coast has the Western Psychological Association (WPA), the southeast as the Southeast Psychological Association (SEPA), and so on. Many of the regionals feature poster sessions in which Psi Beta students can present their research. Also, be vigilant for student research poster sessions hosted by local universities. Consider organizing your own, on-campus student research event in which you offer a keynote speaker who talks about his or her research, a student poster session, even awards for various categories (e.g., best use of APA style, study having the most participants, most creative study, best application of psychology, best overall poster, etc.). The on-campus research event could be expanded into Psychology Day in which speakers on various topics can be scheduled, students in booths could give different demonstrations of psychology (illusions, etc).
- PSI BETA’S ANNUAL RESEARCH STUDY – Each year Psi Beta hosts a national research study. If a chapter provides data from a minimum of 30 participants, your chapter can have a copy of the resulting national database from that study. The datafile becomes available in late February or early March. Members of your chapter can analyze the data file, and prepare an APA style research report and/or a poster based on the data. Each year, Psi Beta students present posters (based on the national research data) at psychology conferences.
- PSI BETA’S ANNUAL RESEARCH PAPER COMPETITION – Psi Beta hosts a student research paper award each year.