FALL 2015 Psychological Research Experiential Requirement 


It cannot be stressed enough how important it is that you read and understand all of the following information. This requirement is one that seems to cause students the most difficulty due, principally, to not correctly following all the instructions and thus greatly adversely affects their grade. Thank you for your cooperation.


Experience with research and the work of professionals is an important source of knowledge about the field of psychology.  Student familiarity with these aspects of psychology is a course requirement.  Fulfillment of this requirement is an essential part of the course and accounts for up to 30 points toward your grade.  Three research experiences, in one or more of the options listed below must be completed and a paper written about each one. The three papers (each a minimum of 2 full pages of content thus minimum 6 full pages total, any additional required documents and the cover page must be turned in together no later than WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 18, 4:45.  You may do a combination of different experience activities to equal a total of three or, where allowed, do all of one kind or two plus something different, etc. There are seven varieties of experiences to choose from (note: there are more than 30 possible combinations!) Print out the cover page (provided on the website, below this link), as you will need to turn it in with your written work. If you are unable to get a copy, please request one from the graduate assistants. If you do not complete the entire assignment correctly and on time, thus earning 30 points, you will receive only partial credit, i.e. a mere 5 points for each activity correctly completed. Also you are required to turn in this assignment, on time, in order to get a grade of a C+ or higher or to get “Credit” if you are taking the course CR/NC. If you do not do so, your grade will be lowered one full step (e.g. B to C). Details about the format of the papers are presented after the options below. Please pay careful attention to all the formatting information.


These are your activity options followed by the specific guidelines for your papers:



You may participate in a research study approved by the instructor.  These include research being conducted by graduate students and psychologists from our campus, as well as other academic institutions. Your participation is entirely voluntary and, typically, will take about one hour.  Opportunities will be announced in class or are available through the SONA research website. Often participation is in the form of completing questionnaires, which may be available on-line through SONA research studies. You need to get verification of your participation. The department operates a research participant database (SONA) and there will be further information on how to use it presented in class. You may always access the SONA system by using the link on the Psychology Department web page: You must first enroll in the SONA site before accessing studies. Any of these studies are acceptable for credit. Pay attention to the credit value they offer as some are only .5 credit thus necessitating two .5 to equal 1 credit. Credit assigned by the SONA system is based on the amount of participation and time required. A 1 credit study is generally about 45 minutes but this varies. Print your participation credit sheet from the SONA system, the completion statement at the end of the survey or obtain the signature of the researcher. If you are participating in a study not part of the SONA system but that has been announced in class, be sure to get a signature or other verification of participation from the researcher

For each study you participate in you need to write a reflective paper on your experience. This paper (at least 2 pages of content!) should include a description of the study you participated in, e.g. content of questionnaire, or where, when, and what you did in an experiment etc. In addition, you need to identify what area of psychology (e.g. developmental, social, cognitive, etc.) is being studied, and what types of data are being collected. You need to evaluate the quality of the research based on your experience and, finally, how do you feel the experience related to you and your knowledge of psychology. Please be certain to address all these aspects in your paper otherwise it will not count for full credit.

You may not claim credit for a study you sign up for but is cancelled by the researcher. You may participate in research for 1, 2 or 3 credits. You must write two pages for each credit earned. Note: some studies offer 2 or even 3 credits, for these you must write at least a 4 or 6 page paper.



The campus Student Health Center offers a variety of workshops using behavioral research findings in order to educate students about health issues.  The workshops schedules are available at the Student Health Center website: http://health.sfsu.edu/Health_and_Wellness_Workshops.html. You may not participate, for credit, in the workshops on “Sex Toys”, “Hot Safer Sex”, eye care, birth control, or health insurance for credit, nor the P.E.A.C.H. workshops as these do not have as much of a direct connection to psychological research. You are, of course, more than welcome to attend for your own interest. If you want to attend any workshop for credit, you will need to sign-up for the workshop at the Student Health Center. The workshops are about an hour in length. You need to fill in your cover sheet and get a signature or stamp to verify your participation therefore you should bring it with you to the workshop. (If you sign up for a workshop and your plans change, please be courteous and let the Student Health Center know as other students may be on a waiting list!)

You need to write a reflective paper on your experience. This paper (at least 2 full pages of content) should include a description of the workshop you participated in, e.g. content, where, when, and what you did. Also, you need to identify the area of psychology this workshop relates to. Next, you need to evaluate the quality of the workshop based on your experience and finally: how do you feel the experience related to you and your knowledge of psychology? Please be certain to address all these aspects in your paper otherwise it will not count for full credit.

You may only attend ONE workshop as part of your three total activities.



You may do a review of a research report published in a professional journal, dated 2009-2015. Please summarize in your own words a psychological research study reported in an approved professional journal. You must use a journal from the approved list (see posting on the course website).  Many of them are available in our library, some available online through psycINFO, a database available through the library website. Do not search on the web or Google; use the psycINFO database (available through the library online databases) or visit the library. Popular magazine articles such as Newsweek, Time, or Psychology Today are not acceptable.  If using the database online with the advance search options (in the lower half of the search page), you may restrict your search by publisher (American Psychological Association) and “full text” and “human” and “empirical”. Look carefully at the advanced search options so that you can find the right type of article. Visiting the Library is also an excellent option and you can get the readily and eagerly available assistance of a librarian. You need to find an empirical research study report. This type of article has a short summary paragraph, the abstract, followed by an introduction and then several sections: methods, results, discussion, and references. Do not use a “Brief Report” or a Meta-Analysis. All articles should be approved by Dr. Lynch, one of the graduate assistants or by one of the tutors. This assures you that you are using the right type of article.

You need to write a paper (at least 2 full pages of content) evaluating the study reported in the journal article. This evaluation must include the citation listing of the article (examples of this format are available in the reference list at the back of your text book, e.g. author, date, title, journal etc.). On psycINFO there is a citation format link to the right as you are viewing the articles details; a copy paste of the APA format is an easy way to get it right. Your paper will then describe and discuss the study. Present information about how the study was conducted, i.e. what were the hypotheses? Who were the participants? What procedures were used, and what data were collected? Next report the main results of the study. Discuss the findings and your evaluation of the quality of the research. Be certain to write in your own words; do not simply quote the article. What area of psychology does the study concern? How do the findings relate to you? Be certain to address each question thoroughly and thoughtfully in integrated essay format and to do so in your own words. You must attach a photocopy of the complete article. The pdf is preferable to the html version if you are getting it online. It does not matter if you have marked up the copy, please attach.

You may do one, two, or three reviews; each review counts for one research activity credit.



San Francisco is fortunate to be home to the premier interactive science museum, The Exploratorium (http://www.exploratorium.org). The interactive exhibits focus on a variety of areas of science, especially sensation and perception. You may visit and write up about your experiences for 1 research activity credit.

You should write up about 4 different interactive exhibits concerned with psychology (therefore do not include activities on plant biology and basic physics). The paper should briefly explain what you did and what you learned, both in general and specifically, about yourself from each activity. Write up each of your four activities in a separate section of your paper. Conclude with an overall evaluation of the experience.  Attach your admission receipt or sticker or photo with yourself in the museum to your cover sheet as proof of attendance. (On free days receipts and stickers are not given.) The Exploratorium is open on Thursday evening for people 18 and over…it is a very fun time to attend. The free days are: 9/27

The Exploratorium visit may be done to fulfill one research activity credit.



If you are currently a smoker and would like to quit, here is an excellent opportunity to do so and earn 1 research credit. For credit you must maintain a daily record of success and rate your willpower on a 1-5 scale (1 little at all…5 maximum will power); and rate your urge to smoke on a 1 to 5 scale (1 not at all…5 very much). Your daily entry will also comment on success. Keep the record going on your desktop or in a notebook for a minimum of 6 weeks (therefore you must begin no later than OCTOBER 7. Summarize your performance by examining the “data” you collected. Plot your willpower data on a graph with a data point for each day. Are there patterns? significant changes? ..etc. Comment on this in your paper and also comment on your success. Attach the daily log to your paper (at least 2 pages) and the willpower graph. This is known as a small n study, a not uncommon research design. An enormous amount of support material about how to quit smoking is available at the Student Health Center.

You must inform Dr. Lynch that you are doing this for credit at least 6 weeks before the deadline. Obviously, this may only be done for one research activity credit.



Often special events, such as lectures, occur on and off campus that are appropriate as research experiences. These, if they are occurring, will be announced in class. You must have proof of attendance and attach it to your paper.

The paper, at least 2 full pages of content in length, must include a summary of what the speaker presented. Additionally, you should comment on the information, the quality of the talk, and your level of interest. Finally, be sure to comment on how the information relates to you and understanding psychology.

This may only be done for one credit.



W.W. Norton, the textbook publisher, has developed many, many interactive activities online at: https://digital.wwnorton.com/zaps2

The access to these is either available free with the text or may be purchased separately. These activities are a fun way to learn and understand concepts. You may do any four different ZAPS as a set for one credit, and may complete a different four ZAPS for another credit, and yet another different four for another credit, thus you can earn all 3 credits by doing sets of the ZAPS activities. For each individual ZAP you must print out the results page, if available, and attach it to your paper. The paper for each set should briefly explain what you did and what you learned, both in general and specifically, about yourself from each activity. Write up each of your four activities in a separate section of your paper. Again, four ZAPS and the paper about them equals one research activity credit; you may earn up to three activity credits in this way.




a.      Your papers must be typed, using 12 point Times or Times New Roman style font with 1.5 line spacing. Please do not space between paragraphs (this can be done by going to the format section of MS word, selecting paragraph and adjusting spacing before and after to 0).  You should simply indent the start of a new paragraph. Many versions of MSword (2007) set the default font to Cambria, adjust the font to Times New Roman.

b.      Measure your margins after printing!! Each paper should have at least 2 full pages of content. When in doubt, write more than 2 pages. Do not use headers. Do not use margins greater than 1 inch on all sides of the paper. And remember, like most things in life, it is quality that matters! A simple single line title at the top is sufficient, no expansive top or bottom margins. There is no need to include your name, date or ID number; that information is on your Cover Sheet. If your bottom or top margin is greater than 1” because of your printer, be sure to write a few more lines on page 3 or set your document margins to .75 instead of 1.

c.      Your writing should be thoughtful and well organized in formal essay style. Do not use contractions; you will be marked down. (If you do not know what a contraction is, find out).

d.      Please proof read your work. Be certain to respond to all areas specified for the option you choose. Remember, you should exhibit college level writing skills spelling, grammar, and punctuation must be up to this standard.

e.      When asked to identify the area of psychology that a study relates to, you should consider how the research connects to one of the main topics, i.e. chapters, we cover in class, these are all sub-disciplines of psychology.

f.       Be certain your papers are in your own words! Using ideas or written expressions taken from others without acknowledgement is plagiarism and can lead to expulsion from the University. 

g.      All your work should be presented together with the Cover Sheet found on the class website. Use only one cover sheet and attach all materials behind it. Complete the cover sheet checklist and sign the statement at the end.

h.      You may turn your paper in before or after class and during office hours to the instructor, teacher’s assistants, or the Psychology Office.  We will not be held responsible for research experiential papers pushed under the office door. Papers may NOT be e-mailed. You are encouraged to submit your papers early (on or before 11/16), as they may then be returned for correction, if needed, before the deadline. Returns are always brought to class and may be picked up there.


Failure to follow the format, page, and content requirements completely will result in significant loss of point value. –MFL