Psych major, professor granted valuable experience

Septembre Russell

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Students now have the opportunity to come to the aid of Linfield’s psychology majors as they prepare their semester projects.

In their junior or senior year of psychology majors are required to take a semester-long research class.

In the class, students create research projects that involve forming a research question, finding measures for evaluating said question, such as surveys or questionnaires, and analyzing research results.

Students generally spend an entire semester on their projects.  For senior psychology major Kendall Moriarty, more time was necessary for her project, titled “Age and Attractiveness.” Moriarty said because she knew one semester would not be sufficient time for her study, she and Assistant Professor of Psychology Jennifer Linder applied for a Faculty-Student Collaborative Research Grant.

Each year, the Faculty Development Committee reviews project proposals and provides funding for a faculty member and a student to work closely on a research project. Linder and Moriarty worked together during the summer 40 hours a week for five weeks, Linder said.  The grant covered the cost of research supplies and provided a stipend for Moriarty.

Together Linder and Moriarty reviewed literature, gathered measures and set up stimuli. The project is currently in the data collection stage.

However beneficial the outcome, student research studies are quite time consuming. Moriarty said she can spend up to 25 hours a week on data collection.  After collecting the data, Moriarty will write a paper analyzing the results.

“[The grant is] a very productive way to do research because both the student and faculty member can focus all of their time and energy on the project which you can’t do during the academic year,” Linder said.

The research experience is important for psychology majors.

“It really opens our eyes to problem solving and critical thinking,” Moriarty said. “To work closely with a faculty member has been really good. [Linder] is a mentor in every sense of the word.”

Linder said the FDC awards grants for research projects in many fields and is not limited to just
psychology.

“This kind of research experience really makes Linfield students stand out to both prospective graduate programs and employers,” he said.

Anyone is welcome to be a part of student research projects. Participation involves signing up for a time slot, showing up and completing the necessary tasks depending on the study.

“[We] mainly get participants from Introduction to Psychology classes because they get credit,” Moriarty said.

Students can volunteer for “Age and Attractiveness”  by contacting Moriarty at kmoriar@linfield.edu.

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