Research Opportunities for students in the Psychology Industrial-Organizational Emphasis Major

Rationale. Psychology majors who plan on continuing their education beyond BYU-Idaho will quickly learn that competition for graduate programs is fierce. While GPA and test scores are certainly important factors in determining graduate school admission, more and more programs of all types are looking for students with some research experience. This is particularly true of industrial/organizational programs of graduate study.

You have a special opportunity here to create your own research and present it at the BYU-I Research & Creative Works conference and other conferences. It is important that you know how to frame this research experience when applying for graduate school; please realize that it is uncommon for bachelor’s degree students to do their own mentored research—usually undergraduate students will work for a graduate student or a professor.

The purpose of this document is to outline for those students in the I-O psychology emphasis major at BYU-Idaho the ways in which this can be accomplished.

Prerequisites. Students may NOT conduct research until they have taken at least one class: FDMATH 221 (Statistics) and PSYCH 302 (Research Methods). Students who have not taken these classes may, however, assist upper level students (juniors and seniors) in conducting their research projects. Such assistance should involve fairly simple activities such as assisting in data collection, participant recruitment, or data entry.

Research Mentoring. Students may not conduct research without supervision from a faculty mentor. All I/O students will be required to conduct at least two research projects before they graduate. See below for further explanations:

  1. All Industrial-Organizational Emphasis Major are required to take PSYCH 355 (Work Psychology; also called Industrial-Organizational Psychology, depending on your calendar year). During the course of that class, students will be required to develop, conduct, and present on a group research project centered on the discipline of Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Students are required to present their work at the Research & Creative Works Conference.
  1. All psychology majors who entered into the I/O Emphasis program from Fall 2013 on will be required to take PSYCH485 (Experiencing Research). The purpose of this class is to provide ALL psychology majors a means by which they can experience the research process. Many of the students in this class will be encouraged to design and carry out a comprehensive review of the literature and/or a meta-analysis. However, students will have the option to conduct a primary research study involving data collection from participants. The instructor for this class will serve as the students’ mentor. The study conducted may be based on the proposal developed in Psy 302 or may be a new proposal developed in the Psy 485 class. It is recommended that I/O students take Psy 355 BEFORE taking Psy 485.
  1. If a student has taken Psy 485 and Psy 355 early enough, they may have the time and inclination to conduct another study. This is permitted; however, students who wish to conduct an additional study must meet two criteria. First, they must find a member of the BYUI psychology department faculty to mentor their research. Please keep in mind that you must discuss this with a faculty member and receive their agreement to mentor you. FACULTY ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MENTOR STUDENTS, so don’t assume that just because you ask they will agree. Our faculty members are very busy and mentoring requires additional work and responsibility on their part. Second, if the faculty member agrees to mentor you, you are required to sign up for at least 1 credit of Psy 395R under the section pertaining to your faculty mentor. Students should not ask faculty from other departments or universities to be mentors when doing psychological research.

Funding. There are some funds available to students through the Psychology Department to assist in conducting their study, presenting at conferences, or attending research conferences.

Funds for Research Projects. These funds can be used to provide compensation to participants, purchase assessments, etc. Students who wish to access departmental funds must submit a research budget proposal early in the semester. The department chair must approve all budgets. Please note that all funding is depending upon availability of research funds. Once the budget is approved, students must incur the costs for their project first and then request reimbursement. Reimbursements will not exceed $200[1]. If you are able to conduct a second research project, you may still apply for research funds but once you have used $200 of the funds, no more funding will be available. Please note that these funds cannot be used to pay for a student’s poster. An acceptable black and white poster can be printed for a minimal cost.

Funds for Presenting at Conferences. The Psychology Department will fund some students to attend the Association for Psychological Science (APS) conference (generally in May) and the Rocky Mountain Psychology Association (RMPA) conference (generally in April). Students may receive financial help for only ONE conference during their time here at BYUI. Students who wish to apply for these funds must meet the following criteria:

  1. You must have a completed research project before applying for funds. (Students still working on projects by the application deadline will not be considered eligible for funds).
  2. You must be attending BYUI during the time of the conference or have recently graduated from BYU-Idaho. Provided your graduation has been within the last two semesters, you are still eligible for funds. Thus if you graduate Fall 2014, you would still be eligible for funding in Winter of 2015.
  3. All funding is contingent upon your research study being accepted by the conference selection committee. The deadlines for APS and RMPA are generally in January.
  4. Students traveling to conferences must be accompanied by a faculty member.

If you meet the criteria, you must email a completed research report by the established deadline to the Psychology Department email (). A research report will contain a brief explanation of the following: literature review, methods, results, and discussion. Please include somewhere on the research report your name and a reliable email address. A faculty committee will review the reports and notify all candidates of the decision. Students who are attending will be expected to pay for their membership in the organization, registration fees, and their food during the conference as well as $100 towards their travel expenses. The Psychology Department will cover the rest of the expenses (travel and hotel). In addition, the Psychology Department will help pay for a professional version of the poster the student is presenting if the student does not have one.

Funds for Attending Conferences. The psychology department will not generally fund students to attend conferences. However, some I/O students MAY be invited to attend special conferences such as the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists (SIOP) by a member of the faculty. Funding in these cases will need to be made on an individual basis and in consultation with the sponsoring faculty member. If invited to attend such a conference and receiving funding to attend, you would not be eligible to apply for funding for other conferences.

Psi Chi Conference at Idaho State University. The psychology department has also taken students to this conference generally held in the spring at Idaho State University in Pocatello. There are no costs associated with this conference and is a small, informal venue for presenting research. If there are enough students interested, the psychology department will arrange transportation there and back.

Miscellaneous. In some cases, two or more individuals may work on one research project. If you are working on a second research project and are going to be coauthor with someone else on that project, then you must also sign up for at least one credit of Psy 395R. In addition, both you and your coauthor are eligible for funding for attendance at conferences. If you choose not to attend the conference but allow your coauthor to go, you would still be eligible for funding for a different conference provided you were presenting the results of a different research study.

All students conducting studies of any kind are eligible for funds. Conferences will accept meta-analyses. So if the study you choose to conduct is a meta-analysis or review, it could be eligible for presentation at a conference.

All students conducting studies involving human participants MUST submit their proposals to the BYU-Idaho Institutional Review Board. Students conducting meta-analyses do not need to submit their study to the IRB.

Questions regarding this policy can be submitted to the Psychology Research Committee, namely, Bros Wiggins, Delton and Gee

[1] Amount of funding may change contingent upon availability of research funds.