If you do not wish to volunteer as a research participant, you will need to complete alternative research projects.

Instructors differ in the alternatives they prefer. The faculty agree that the projects should be related to research in psychological science and should require about the same total time commitment as required of those participating in studies.


  • Talk to your instructor as early in the semester as possible about your options.
  • Do not begin until you are sure the instructor will accept the specific project(s) you plan to do and that the project(s) will earn the required 4 credit hours of extracurricular credit.

Example Projects

Example 1: Write an evaluation of newspaper or magazine articles on psychological research (approximately three typed pages). The format of the evaluation should be as follows:

  • Enclose a copy of news or magazine articles published since the beginning of this semester.
  • In your paper, provide the context of the article and your interest in the topic.
  • Describe at least one specific research study from your text that is directly related to the article you are evaluating. Make specific reference to the text page number and identify the study.
  • Specify the independent and dependent variables and describe the research design.
  • Indicate what specific inferences can be made from the evidence--can you infer that one variable causes another to change?
  • Discuss the implications of the results including your evaluation of the methods and conclusions:
    • existence and/or appropriateness of controls
    • generalizability from the subjects in the study
    • the relationship among the variables studied and the variables in the statement you are evaluating
  • Now evaluate the original statements in the media on the basis of the research you have discussed.

Example 2: Watch programs on television that pertain to some psychological topic and write a short paper (approximately three typed pages) on the concepts and examples covered in the program.

Example 3: Watch films or videotapes at Bracken Library that pertain to a psychological topic and write a short paper (approximately three typed pages) on the concepts and examples covered.