If you plan on pursuing a doctoral-level degree in psychology, then research experience is crucial. It is most important for experimental programs in biological, cognitive and social psychology. For clinical programs, it is more important for the Ph.D. than the Psy. D. Students applying to master’s programs should have a least one semester’s worth of research. Those going for a doctorate should have a full year’s worth or have had experience in non-academic lab settings.
It is possible to gain research experience at Manhattan College in several ways:
- The most common method is to register for a three-credit research in psychology course. These are offered as PSYC 429 during the fall and PSYC 430 in the spring, with different section numbers corresponding to different faculty members. You must get the faculty members permission first. In general, choose a faculty member you have had in class and get along with. Also, the type of project should match your future program of graduate study. Before starting research for credit, one should have taken both Statistics and Research Methods I; although much of the learning is done on site. Typically, students are juniors, although advanced sophomores have also participated. A research assistant performs a variety of duties. These include literature reviews, making up surveys, running experiments and entering and analyzing data. You will learn to become proficient at SPSS, Excel and other statistical, database and experimental software. Research assistants will be expected to have a regular, weekly work schedule. There may also be weekly lab meetings. Scheduling is flexible, with assistants able to work whenever they are free outside of class times, since much of the work does not usually require direct faculty supervision. Research with a faculty member may also be done on a voluntary basis. In the past, students have worked one semester for credit, another as a volunteer, or sometimes worked a year or more on an entirely volunteer basis.
- Another method is to work at an internship for an institution outside the College. Internships are primarily for students pursuing clinically-oriented professions and can be taken for credit or done voluntarily. They are PSYC 375 and PSYC 475 in the fall and spring semesters, respectively. Some internship positions also turn into paid positions. Examples include assisting in a clinical study performed at a hospital in New York City or Westchester County. Please speak with your academic advisor to learn more about internship possibilities.
- A third possibility is to apply for a position as a research assistant in a laboratory setting off campus. Many schools like Columbia and New York University have part-time and full-time positions available throughout the year. They are seeking students with some background in the science to assist in running experiments. Non-traditional academic institutions like hospitals and pharmaceutical companies also hire. Look at the job postings on the boards in the Psychology department.
One of the reasons for getting involved in research is that is allows for conference presentations and journal publications. Our department makes a concerted effort to get our students to do both. There are many psychology conferences each year throughout the United States. Some of these are excellent forums for undergraduate research presentations. The Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) is one. It typically meets every few years in Boston, Washington or New York. The Eastern Colleges Science Conference (ECSC) is another.
A conference presentation involves constructing and presenting a poster about a study. Students must put in at least one semester of work in order to give a poster presentation. Journal article publications require much more effort. At least two consecutive semesters of work, usually much more, are needed before a student can serve as author. So it is always a good idea to get involved with research as early as possible and stick with it as long as possible.
Information for Research Participants
Creating a research participant online account
In order to complete the research requirement for your Psychology courses, you are encouraged to participate in Psychology experiments at Manhattan College. To receive research credits, you need to create an online account to see what studies are available and to sign up to participate.
In order to create an account, follow these instructions:
- Go to https://manhattancollege.sona-systems.com
- Click on “Request Account” on top right side of the page.
- Read the text on the top left hand side of the page before you answer all required questions. Be sure to select the correct course number and section you are in (check your syllabus if you are unsure what your course number is). Once you are done, click on “Request Account.”
- Your login information (i.e., username and password) will then be immediately emailed to you. You will need to check your email for specific login instructions. If you have junk mail (spam) filters configured for your email, please configure the filters to accept email from email@example.com, as emails from the system will often be sent from that address.
- If you did not receive your login information, please check your email program’s junkmail folder before contacting the administrator.
- Once you have your username and name, you can go back tohttps://manhattancollege.sona-systems.com and sign into your account.
- Your login will expire after a certain period of inactivity, usually 20 minutes. This is done for security purposes. If this happens, you can always log in again. When you are done using the system, it is better to explicitly log out, to prevent any problems that may arise if someone uses your computer before the session expires. This is especially important if you are using a public computer lab.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I forget my password?
Go to https://manhattancollege.sona-systems.com and click on “Forgot Password” on the top right hand side of the page. Your password will be emailed after you submit the form, and should arrive in your email box momentarily.
How do I change my password?
If you would like to change your password or other information about yourself, log in into your account and then click on “My Profile” on the top toolbar. If you would like to change your password (and the option is enabled), type your new password (twice, for confirmation) in the provided boxes.
Participate in Experiments
The Department of Psychology encourages all students taking psychology courses to participate in ongoing psychological research. This participation involves one of the following options:
1) Students must complete 3 research credits by participating in experimental research, or
2) Students may fulfill the requirement by reading one psychological research article and responding to questions on the article. If you are in more than one course that includes the research requirement, students should complete a total of 3.5 research credits or one additional article assignment. The deadline to complete these research credits is FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7TH BY 11:59 PM. However, please note that the majority of studies will be run during late October - early November when students in the Advanced Research Methods capstone course (PSYC 414) will be collecting data.
This research requirement provides our faculty and students with an organized participant pool to enable them to conduct psychological research at Manhattan College. Additionally, it provides a valuable educational experience for students in psychology courses by a) exposing them first hand to the techniques and procedures of psychological research, b) giving them an understanding of the function of research and the role of the researcher in psychology, and c) offering them an opportunity to learn about their reactions in specific situations.
ALL STUDIES IN WHICH YOU MAY PARTICIPATE HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE COMMITTEE FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS.
Below, you will find the "Students' Bill of Rights" and an explanation of specific procedures you will need to follow to meet the requirement, as well as a list of commonly asked questions. If you have any questions, please contact the research requirement administrator, Dr. Nuwan Jayawickreme (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Students' Bill of Rights
1. You may refuse to participate in any particular experiment.
2. You may withdraw from an experiment without penalty.
3. You may request that the data you provide be destroyed and not used in any way. There is no penalty or loss of credit if your data are destroyed.
4. You have the option of reading a psychological research article and responding to questions on the article in place of participating in experiments.
5. If you feel that your rights have been violated or that you wish to make any complaints for any reason, you may contact the administrator.
Procedures for Meeting the Research Requirement
1. In order to participate in psychology experiments at Manhattan College and receive research credit, you need to create an online account at https://manhattancollege.sona-systems.com. You will use this account to see what research studies are available and to sign up to participate in studies. For more information on how to create an online account, click on the link below titled “Information for research participants.”
2. You must be 18 or older in order to participate in research. If you are under 18 please contact the administrator.
3. You should select experiments that interest you and sign your name next to a convenient time slot. Note that new experiments may be posted throughout the semester—if you do not find a study that interests you, check the webpage again every few days. Most experiments are looking to recruit a limited number of participants, so make sure you sign up early. Be sure to make a note of the time and location so that you will not miss your appointment, and keep a record of the experimenter's contact so that you can reach them if you need to cancel the appointment.
4. You may participate only once in any experiment. If you have already participated in an experiment, you must select different experiments thereafter. (Some experiments have two parts, and are conducted on two different days. If an experiment that you choose has two parts, attend both sessions and receive credit for both sessions.)
5. You must arrive on time at the assigned room posted on the webpage. If you are late you may lose the chance to participate at that time.
6. Please do not be a No-Show! Lateness or failure to keep your appointment may lead to considerable inconvenience for the experimenter and other students.
7. If you choose not to participate in experimental research, you may fulfill the research requirement by reading an empirical research article and then answering a series of short answer questions on what you have read. You may consult the article as you answer the questions, but you may also need to draw on other sources, such as textbooks, books, encyclopedias or papers. However, the questions are written in such a way that it will not take more than 1.5 hours to read the article and answer the questions. If your answers are not accurate, you will be asked to make corrections. You will receive your 2% towards your final grade once you receive a passing grade on the assigned questions. You may preview the article assignment at the link below. If you would prefer to do this assignment over participating in research, please email the administrator, Dr. Nuwan Jayawickreme (email@example.com) BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH BY 11:59 PM.
Research Requirement Questions and Answers
Here is a list of commonly asked questions about the Psychology Research Requirement, and their answers. Please keep this list handy throughout the semester.
1. Who participates in the research requirement?
All students enrolled in psychology courses may be asked to fulfill the course requirement.Students under 18 please contact the administrator.
2. Why is there a research requirement associated with Psychology courses?
At Manhattan College, as at most educational institutions, psychology is taught as a science, and as such it progresses by means of empirical research. Participating in research offers students a critically important perspective on psychology and research, a perspective they cannot obtain by merely reading about it. For those interested in pursuing a psychology major, serving as a research participant provides the first glimpse of what psychologists actually do. Beyond this, the existence of a research participant pool makes it possible for faculty and students at Manhattan College to conduct original research. Psychology Departments at most colleges and universities have such requirements.
Your participation in research has a profound impact on the study you are taking part in, on the growth of scientific knowledge, and ultimately, on how this knowledge is applied in the real world. PLEASE TAKE YOUR PARTICIPATION SERIOUSLY. If you feel that you cannot participate fully and honestly in a research project, let the researcher know and reschedule your appointment or cancel.
3. How will students sign up for studies?
Go to https://manhattancollege.sona-systems.com, log in into your account and click on “Studies” on the top toolbar. You will see a list of studies. A brief description of each study will be listed, as well as any special requirements that may restrict your eligibility to participate in the study (e.g., “Left Handed People Only”). To view more information about a study, click on the name of the study.
Studies that currently have available participation times (i.e., timeslots) will have “Timeslots Available” listed next to the name of the study. Choose a timeslot that is convenient for you, and click “Sign Up.” If no studies have available timeslots, you may want to logon to the system a few days later to see if new timeslots have been added. You may also select a specific date to view studies with available timeslots on that date. Be sure to write down the name, date, time, and location of the study as well as the researcher’s name and contact information. You will need this information later to get to the study on time, as well as to notify the researcher if unable to attend.
You may only sign up for a timeslot up until a certain time before that timeslot is scheduled to occur. The system will not show a Sign Up button for timeslots where it is too late to sign up. If you sign up for a timeslot and you already have another signup in the system that conflicts with that appointment time, the system will warn you of the scheduling conflict (though it will not prevent the sign-up).
4. When are studies posted?
New studies are posted throughout the semester, so please check the website regularly to find new research opportunities. Don't wait until the end of the semester to sign up for studies!
5. What happens after you sign up for a study?
When you sign up for a study, make sure that you write down its date, time, place, and the phone number of the researcher. You will also receive an email the day before reminding you about the study. Show up at the research site on time (but not more than five minutes early). If you are late, you may lose the chance to participate at that time.
6. What should a student do if he/she has signed up for a study but cannot attend the research session? If you find that you cannot participate in research at the time you have indicated, go to https://manhattancollege.sona-systems.com, log in into your account and click on “My Schedule/Credits” on the top toolbar. You will see listed all the studies you have signed up for, as well as those you have completed. Studies you have signed up for that you are allowed to cancel will have a “Cancel” button next to them. *You need to cancel at least 24 hours prior to the running of the study.
7. What happens when a student fails to show up for a study for which he or she signs up? As indicated in question 6, students may cancel their research appointment without any penalty, if they cancel 24 hours in advance. However, you will not get credit for participating in the study.
8. What happens if a researcher is not present at the research location when the study is set to begin?
While we do not expect this to be a common problem, it is conceivable that a researcher will not be present at the appointed time. Please wait at least fifteen minutes before leaving. If the researcher is more than fifteen minutes late, you have the right to full credit for an hour of research participation. Notify the administrator, ASAP, that you were present but the researcher was not.
9. How much is a credit worth?
A credit is approximately equal to one hour spent participating in a research study. The credits available for a particular research study will be included in the description of the study. Most in-person research studies will be worth 1 credit whereas online studies will typically be worth 0.5 credits.
10. How can a student be assured of receiving appropriate credit for research participation?
Students can always log on to https://manhattancollege.sona-systems.com and click on “My Schedule/Credits” on the top toolbar. Your instructor can also view this info on the webpage; please email Dr. Nuwan Jayawickreme at firstname.lastname@example.org to check for you if you are concerned.
11. What happens if, for practical or principled reasons, you do not wish to participate in psychological research? While we hope and expect that the majority of students will learn from and enjoy participating in research, no student is forced to be a research participant. You may also fulfill the requirement by reading an empirical research article and then answering a series of short answer questions on what you have read. If you would prefer to do this assignment over participating in research, please email the administrator, Dr. Nuwan Jayawickreme BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH BY 11:59 PM.
12. Where do students find the designated psychological articles?
If you wish to read the article instead of participating in research, please contact the administrator and click on the link above for the assignment. Responses should be emailed to the administrator by DECEMBER 7TH BY 11:59 PM.
13. What happens when a student fails to fulfill the research requirement by the end of the semester? Students who do not fulfill their research requirement before the end of the semester are encouraged to read the article and respond to the questions for research credit. The final assignment will be offered until DECEMBER 7TH. If you do not fulfill the requirement by DECEMBER 7TH, you will lose points worth 2% of your final grade.
14. What should students do if they experience problems with any aspect of the research requirement? All problems that you experience with the research requirement should be taken to the administrator, Dr. Nuwan Jayawickreme (email@example.com) who will do everything he can to help you fulfill your requirement. Please do not take problems to your Psychology instructors—only the above administrator can provide assistance on this matter.