What is Research Psychology?
Basically Research Psychology involves critically looking at what has been studied and seeing the gaps in knowledge, proposing testable questions, designing a study to measure/test, running participants, looking at results, and drawing conclusions. All on psychological topics that range across all the topics in first year psych.
For students at a university, research psychology is the form most taught and demonstrated on campus by professors.
Getting a Taste
Your best option is to try Research while in undergrad through any of the following:
- 299 (Research Opportunities Program) in second year (Apply in first year)
- 303 and 304 projects (independent projects with a professor as a supervisor, Talk to Undergraduate Advisor, Ask Professors to supervise)
- Research Specialist Program (applying in spring of 2nd year or fall of 3rd, Apply)
- Third year Lab courses (specialists get priority enrolment, enrol on ROSI)
- Volunteering in labs (usually less research and more paper work, email Professors)
By actually doing research you can see whether you like the process and tasks, or if it drives you batty. Also if you decide to continue research experience really helps get more experience and get into graduate school.
Finding out Information
Some good sources are:
- Asking graduate students (your TAs) and professors about the research they are conducting
- Asking fellow undergraduate students who are currently doing research projects or are in labs
- Attend any talks about Research Psychology
Some Q & A:
- A: Usually graduate school in a Doctoral (PhD) program
- A: More classes and Research for 4-6 years, including possibly a Masters Thesis and for sure a Doctoral Dissertation
- A: Post-Doc (more research for about two years), Professorship (see your Profs as examples), Instructor/Lecturer, Researcher for a Company, or Consulting