Psy 496 Independent Research

Psy 496 Independent Research


Psy 496 Independent Study and Psy 498 Independent Research

Psy 766 Independent Study

Kim Barchard

Summer 2008

Students enrolled:

Psy 496Shatoyia Burns (2 credits), Heidi Johanson (2 credits), Viridiana Linares (1 credit), Holly Walker (3 credits), Garrett Farnes (3 creidts)

Volunteers:Brian Brehman, David Weintraub, Amanda Haboush,Danalee Brehman, Stephanie Rojas, Jennifer Guttman, Lauren Shore

Kim Barchard

Office phone: 895-0758
Office number: CBC B346
Lab phone: 895-3093
Lab location: CDC 520
Kim’s website

Talk to your instructor about course registration and lab orientation. / Lab Manager
David Weintraub

Lab phone: 895-3093
Lab location: CDC 520
Lab website

Talk to the lab manager about lab meetings and record keeping, and all the things you do to assist us in the lab that count towards lab hours: data entry, scoring, data collection, etc.
Poster Teams
First Team: Danalee Brehman, Jennifer Guttman
Second Team: Shatoyia Burns, Heidi Johanson, Garrett Farnes
Third Team: Amanda Haboush, Viridiana Linares
Talk to your Poster Team Members about the term poster you are creating together.
Poster Supervisor: Brian
Send your completed poster assignments to the Poster Supervisor for feedback.

Mission Statement

The Interactive Measurement Group will: (1) Prepare students for post-baccalaureate education and careers, by helping them identify career and educational goals, develop their leadership and teamwork skills, develop their communication (oral and written) and computer skills, and develop their research skills; (2) Conduct research on psychometric topics, by collecting, scoring, and analyzing data on psychometric topics, and presenting results in professional forums (conferences, publications).

Course Objectives

This course will introduce students to all aspects of the research process, including 1) literature review, 2) study design and creation, and 3) scoring, data analysis, and presentation. Students will read and present research literature. They will be involved in the creation and administration of new research studies. They will score, enter, and analyze data. They will present research findings both verbally and in written form.

Required Text

American Psychological Association (2001). APA Publication Manual, 5th Edition. Available from the UNLV bookstore, and

Course Requirements

▪ Assist with Dr. Barchard’s research for a specified minimum number of hours

▪ Write a term poster with a team (topic decided in consultation with Dr. Barchard)

Students can enroll in 1 – 6 credits of Independent Study or Independent Research. Students will only be allowed to enroll in less than 3 credits if they have already been in Dr. Barchard’s lab for at least one semester.

Credits / Minimum Lab Hours / Term Poster / Students
1 / 30 / Complete a conference-type poster
Time to assist on this poster: 20 - 40 hours / Viri Linares
1 / 50 / No poster required
2 / 75 / Complete a conference-type poster
Time to assist on this poster: 20 - 40 hours / Heidi Johanson, Shatoyia Burns
2 / 100 / No poster required
3 / 100 / Complete a conference-type poster
Time to complete this project: 30 - 100 hours / Garrett Farnes, Patricia DiSano
3 / 200 / No poster required / Holly Walker
4 / 133 / Complete a conference-type poster
Time to complete this project: 30 - 100 hours
5 / 167 / Complete a conference-type poster
Time to complete this project: 30 - 100 hours
6 / 200 / Complete a conference-type poster
Time to complete this project: 30 - 100hours

Defining Lab Hours

Students will be involved in three types of activities: term posters, research assistance, and lab meetings. Some of these activities count as “lab hours” and some do not.

Time spent on the term poster does not, in general, count as lab hours. This includes time selecting a topic, finding relevant research literature, reading this literature, analyzing data, and writing the paper. The one exception is when the student is talking to Dr. Barchard. All time spent talking with Dr. Barchard counts as lab hours, no matter what the content of the meeting. Individually-scheduled meetings also count as lab hours, even if we spend some or all of the time discussing the term poster.

In general, all time spent doing tasks assigned either by Dr. Barchard or by the Lab Manager counts as lab hours, because these activities help Dr. Barchard directly in collecting data and publishing the findings. In addition, please note that all time spent helping other students with tasks assigned by Dr. Barchard or theLab Manager counts as lab hours. For example, if Dr. Barchard asked a student to do data entry, and another student helps the first student figure out how to do it, both students should record that time as lab hours.

Distinguishing between lab hours and poster hours is usually straight-forward. However, this is sometimes a bit confusing if the Lab Manager is also working on a poster. When the Lab Manager works with their poster team members on the poster, that time counts as poster hours, not lab hours. Working on a poster does not count as lab hours, even if the Lab Manager is a part of your poster team.

Students are encouraged to spend time in the lab, even when they are not doing things related to this class. However, time in the lab only counts as lab hours if the student is working on tasks relevant to the lab. As well, during the lab hours from 4:00 - 6:00pm on Wednesday, students should be working on lab tasks. Poster work and other activities should be done outside of the Wed 4 – 6 lab hours.

Students will record their lab hours and poster hours each time they are in the lab. It is important that they keep these records up to date, because Kim examines these hours every week, to determine if any students are falling behind or are being overwhelmed.


You will meet with your poster team once a week for a minimum of 1 hour to work on your poster. These weekly meetings do NOT count as lab hours. Because of the importance of meeting regularly to talk about posters, attendance at these meetings is required, and you must record meeting minutes. If your team is unable to complete the next homework assignment within that one-hour meeting, you may schedule another meeting or work individually and communicate by email. Meeting times:

First Team: TBA

Second Team: TBA

Third Team: TBA

Lab hours will be held from 4:00 - 6:00pm every Wednesday. The Lab Manager and Assistant Lab Managers will be in the lab during this time. They will help students with any tasks they are working on and also provide training. Students must be working on lab tasks in the lab during this time. Students should not work on posters during these official lab hours.

There will be weekly lab meetings from 6:00 -7:00pm on Wednesday, chaired by the Lab Manager. During these meetings, students will be taught useful skills (such as how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), and will discuss preparation for graduate school. These meetings will also review progress on lab projects, such as data entry, scoring, and study design. Attendance at these meetings is required and counts as lab hours regardless of the content of the meetings.

Attendance at lab hours and lab meetings is required. If you will be unable to attend, please contact the Lab Manager in advance, and then make arrangements to complete the workshop or read the handout within 7 days. If you do not have a compelling reason for missing the meeting, your course grade will be reduced by 1%. Being sick is considered a compelling reason for missing a meeting. If you are sick, please do not come to the meeting (not even to tell someone that you are sick); instead, let the Lab Manager know afterwards and avoid making anyone else sick.

Possible Topics for Lab Meetings

Week / Date / Lab Hours 4 – 6 pm / Lab Meeting 6 – 7 pm
Summer Term 1
Week 1 / May 21 / No lab hours / No lab meeting
Week 2 / May 28 / Word Workshops (for NEW lab members only) by Stephanie / Syllabus by David
Week 3 / June 4 / LEAS training
by Viri and Heidi / Effective Email by David
Summer term 2
Week 1 / June 11 / LEAS training
by Viri and Heidi / GRE by Stephanie and Viri
Week 2 / June 18 / LEAS training
by Heidi and Viri / CV
by Amanda Haboush and Heidi
Week 3 / June 25 / LEAS training
by Heidi and Viri / Captivate
by Stephanie and Holly
Week 4 / July 2 / LEAS training
by Heidi and Viri / How to Choose a Graduate Program
by Amanda Haboush and Heidi
Week 5 / July 9 / LEAS training
by Heidi and Viri / UNLV MFT Program
by Maya Hallmark
Summer Term 3
Week 1 / July 16 / Admin Data Entry Study trainingby Stephanie / Presentation by Paul Carpino
Week 2 / July 23 / Admin Data Entry Study trainingby Stephanie / Planning for Fall semester
by Dr. Kim Barchard
Week 3 / July 30 / 5 – 7pm: Spoken Presentations by All Poster Members
Week 4 / Aug 6 / No lab meeting
Week 5 / Aug 13 / No lab meeting


For most students, your grade will be based on two parts: research assistance (50%) and term poster (50%). Each of these will be marked out of 100, and then these will be weighted to obtain your final grade. If you are not required to complete a term poster, your grade will be based 100% on research assistance. In addition, penalties will be applied to the final course grade if students miss meetings or fail to complete workshops. Research assistance, the term poster, and penalties are described in detail below.

Research Assistance

Dr. Barchard and the lab manager will ask you to complete a number of tasks that directly assist Dr. Barchard in collecting data and publishing her findings. You may also be asked to participate in activities that help keep the lab running. Some activities that help Dr. Barchard collect data include: 1) designing a new psychological test, 2) selecting measures for inclusion in a new study, 3) designing a website that collects data, 4) proof-reading a website, 5) answering email questions regarding an on-going study, and 6) assigning credit for an on-going study. Some activities that help Dr. Barchard publish her findings include 1) entering data, 2) scoring tests, 3) finding materials through PsycINFO and the library, 4) copying materials, 5) proof-reading SPSS Syntax files, and 6) proof-reading manuscripts. Some activities that help keep the lab running are 1) keeping the lab orderly, 2) keeping the computers running by performing virus scans and critical updates, 3) giving orientations to new lab members, 4) training other students, and 5) helping other students with their research tasks and conference presentations.

You will receive a base grade of 50 for completing your required lab hours. If you do not complete all of your required hours, you will receive a lower grade. You will lose 1 point for each 1% of missing time. For example, if you were taking a 3-credit course and were required to complete 100 hours but only completed 90 hours, this is a 10% loss, and so you would receive 40 points for your research assistance. Although I will be very grateful if you work additional hours beyond the minimum required for this course, there will be no extra points for additional hours worked.

You will receive a grade out of 50 in terms of the quality of your research assistance. If you performed poorly, you might get 20 or 25 out of 50. If you performed well, you might get 40 or more out of 50. Thus, someone who did a moderately good job and completed all of their required hours would get 50/50 plus 30/50 = 80/100. The most important qualities in a research assistant are work quality (primarily accuracy, the ability to follow instructions, and problem-solving skills) and a good attitude (primarily cooperativeness, interest in the material and willingness to accept feedback). Quality is much more important than speed.

Because it is difficult to arrange meetings with students who are no longer involved in my lab, all lab work that involves meeting with other students (such as LEAS scoring) must be completed by the end of the semester. If this work is not completed, your grade will be reduced because we may need to do that work again from scratch and so the time you spent on those projects may be lost.

Because it is difficult for new students to complete projects that other students have started, it is important that students make every attempt to completely finish their projects before they leave the lab. If a student is not planning on being actively involved in the lab in the next semester, plans must be made early on to ensure a smooth transition to the students who will be taking over the project.

Term Poster

You will create an empirically-based conference-type poster, using data that has been collected in the lab. This poster will include a literature review, description of how the data was collected, results of your data analysis (conducted with SPSS), and a discussion of your findings. The final poster consists of two parts: the poster and the handout.

Handout: The handout should have ABSOLUTELY ALL of the content from your project. If you took your poster to a conference, you would take 30 – 50 copies of the handout with you, and therefore it is important that it is formatted to take up very little space. It should be single-spaced and double-sided. You may reduce the font size to as little as 8 point, and you may reduce the margins to half an inch.

Poster: The poster is designed to be hung on a wall, so that people can read it as they walk by. Your poster must fit within an 8 foot by 4 foot space (horizontally aligned). This size includes everything: title, main body, references, tables, graphs, etc. I recommend that you use less than 8 feet in width, to allow enough space so that you could stand next to your poster without impeding anyone’s view. Most students plan for a poster that is 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall. If you wish, you may reduce the amount of content displayed on your poster. While your handout includes ALL content, your poster may omit sections or reduce the length of sections, to facilitate quick reading at a conference and to increase clarity (details can be distracting).

In terms of formatting, you should single-space your poster, but you must use a large enough font size to be readable at a distance of 5 feet (I recommend 24 point font). You should attempt to follow APA format to some extent, but the appearance of your poster is more important than formatting rules. However, DO use APA format for your citations, references, and tables.

Your poster will be marked based on the following criteria: Clarity, Accuracy, and Presentation. You will receive scores based on Clarity for each of the five sections of your handout: Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, and Conclusion. You will also receive overall scores for the Accuracy of your handout and the Presentation/Appearance of your poster. Your total score will be based on the average of your five scores on Clarity and your overall scores on Accuracy and Presentation.

Intermediate Steps

Students will be asked to complete their term posters in stages in order to ensure that they make progress on their posters throughout the semester and receive as much feedback as possible at each stage. Students will receive a lot of feedback on their posters – from poster team members, the poster supervisor, Dr. Barchard, and others. This feedback will help students write more clearly and use the proper format for a research poster. In order to ensure that students make continuous progress and receive as much feedback as possible, each assignment has specific requirements and a deadline. Unless there is a very good reason for missing the deadline, late assignments will result in penalties of 1% per week, which will reduce students’ final course grade. For example, if an assignment is 1 – 7 days late, the final course grade is reduced by 1%; if the assignment is 8 – 14 days late, the final course grade is reduced by 2%. All assignments must be typed. The assignments and deadlines are given in the Poster Assignments document. Please contact Dr. Barchard immediately if these deadlines will not work with your schedule.

Working Together on Your Term Projects

Students will work on their poster projects in groups of 2 or 3 students. Assignments will be marked using exactly the same criteria and standards regardless of the number of people working on the poster. Most students will find that working in groups makes it less time-consuming to complete their project and that their projects are of better quality. In addition, this will make it possible for a student who has not yet taken a statistics or research methods course to get involved in original research involving the analysis of real research data.

Getting Involved on Multiple Posters

You are welcome to work on more than one poster. If you want to focus mostly on one poster, we will consider you a volunteer on the other. Your grade will be determined by the poster that you decide to choose for the course, but your name would appear on both, if posters are taken to conferences. If you would like to work equally hard on both posters, though, I will assign you whichever grade is the higher of the two. Of course your name would appear on both posters, if they result in conference presentations. If you are thinking of working on multiple posters, talk to Dr. Barchard about this issue when we create poster teams at the beginning of the semester.