Advanced Psychological Research Projects

Revised and Approved, Spring 2019

The Psychology Department encourages all students who are interested in advanced psychological research to consider undertaking a sustained, long-term research experience.  These are two-semester research projects that will result in an APA-style manuscript. 

Conversations regarding these intensive research projects must be initiated well in advance of the start of the project. The student should identify a general research topic area in consultation with a faculty member and then develop a plan for the completion of the project. The nature of the project is specified by the supervising faculty member in consulation with the student.

These sustained, long-term projects, are typical of professional research in the field of psychology. Typically, students will enroll in a 500-level PSYC course in the Fall and Spring of their senior year, but other possibilities include enrolling in a 500-level PSYC course in Spring of the Junior year and Fall of the Senior year, or completing a research experience in the Summer after the Junior year followed by a PSYC 500-level course in the Fall of the Senior year. Note that a long-term research project might end after 1 semester as decided by the student or the faculty member.

See PSYC 500s: Independent Studies for more information.


Awarding of Honors to an Advanced Psychological Research Project

In the exceptional event that the supervising faculty member believes that the paper meets the department expectations for honors, and if the student meets the GPA expectations for an honors project, the faculty member will forward the manuscript to the tenure track psychology department faculty no later than 1 week before the last day of classes in the Spring semester of the senior year (however, faculty are welcome to forward a paper earlier if the paper is complete). To be awarded honors, the student must have, at graduation, a GPA of at least 3.7 in all of the Psychology courses taken (including courses taken abroad), an overall GPA of 3.5, and a majority faculty vote (see below).

The tenure-track Dickinson College psychology faculty will, after discussion, vote on whether the project, as described in the paper, should be awarded honors.  The faculty will vote using the following standards as their guide:

The project demonstrates excellence in developing and conducting publishable-quality empirical research in psychology:

  • advances a research question(s) that contributes new knowledge to the field of psychology;
  • exhibits theoretical sophistication;
  • advances a thoroughly-researched argument that makes nuanced connections among and between appropriate research sources;
  • exhibits methodological sophistication;
  • correctly conducted analyses with corresponding sophisticated conclusions;
  • achieves a clear voice and confident prose.