Why Is This Beneficial?
Although every psychology major may not aspire to conduct research in their future career, these courses help all students develop marketable skills, especially the ability to plan, conduct, and present a major project. Regardless of students’ future careers, these are skills that employers value. Most importantly, graduates of our program consistently describe Senior Thesis as a transformative experience that is a frequently discussed topic during graduate school and job interviews.
The “Research Sequence” in Psychology
This is a series of courses (15 credits total) focusing on research and statistical training that culminates in every psychology major completing an original research thesis.
Research I: Methods and Basic Data Analysis Laboratory (PY220, 4 credits)
This course introduces students to the essence of the scientific method, the use of empirical inquiry, and writing in APA style. Students learn to appropriately summarize, describe, and analyze obtained data to test research hypotheses.
Research II: Behavioral Statistics and Laboratory (PY311, 4 credits)
This course continues to develop students’ understanding of statistical concepts and application, including how to answer research questions using statistics, and how to analyze data using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).
Research III: Experimental Methods and Laboratory (PY320, 4 credits)
This course introduces students to the theory and application of experimental methods in psychology. Students plan and conduct several experimental studies, analyzing and presenting the findings using APA style
Research IV: Thesis in Psychology (PY491, 2 credits; Lab Course, 1 credit)
Students produce their own individual original thesis. In preparation of the thesis, students collaborate with a faculty member and complete all phases of the research process, including preparation of a final thesis paper and presentation (a research talk or poster) of their findings at the department research conference.
Additional Research Training Opportunities
Qualitative Research Methods (PY321, 4 credits)
Students are provided with an interdisciplinary overview of qualitative research methods employed in the social sciences and education. Students learn about fieldwork, interviewing, observational studies, time sampling, writing field notes, questionnaires (survey research), archival research, and conducting qualitative research in various settings.
Psychological Tests and Measurements (PY431, 3 credits)
Students are introduced to the theory of measurement, including its application to psychological and educational testing. Students learn about the ethical and practical considerations associated with frequently used tests.
Research Science Mentoring Program
Under the direction of Dr. Lisa Dinella, this mentoring program pairs Monmouth psychology majors with Freehold High School students currently enrolled at The Medical Sciences Specialized Learning Center. This Center is a program that offers rigorous preparation for postsecondary work in the medical and natural sciences. Monmouth psychology students use their research skills and expertise to provide guidance and mentor these high school students as they conduct their own original scientific investigations. Recent research topics have included the effects of ego-depletion on short-term visual memory, the relation between personality traits and preferred academic subjects, and how socioeconomic factors relate to allergen development. This Research Science Mentoring Program provides Monmouth psychology students with an opportunity to use their extensive research training as a resource for the high school students, and provides the high-achieving high school students with an excellent chance to foster their own professional development.
Each semester, the Department of Psychology celebrates the accomplishments of our students by holding a day-long conference where majors are given the opportunity to present their research theses and share their ex-ed experiences with faculty, other students, family, and friends.