Research Capstone in Psychology

Spring 2018 quarter

Taught by

social psychology, gender and women's studies


Students should have familiarity with empirical research methods in the social sciences, quantitative or qualitative analysis, and study design; significant previous study (two quarters or more) in psychology, sociology, political science, or anthropology; and a preliminary plan for a research topic. Most importantly, students should be academically, intellectually, and emotionally prepared for conducting an independent research project with other students who are similarly prepared. Students who apply to participate in this program should take their intellectual life seriously, be prepared for critical thinking, and be able to engage in constructive collaboration with other students.

This program is designed to provide a capstone opportunity for juniors and seniors within psychology (or closely related social science disciplines such as sociology or cultural anthropology) to conduct independent research projects within a supportive intellectual environment of other researchers. Research projects may be inductive or deductive in their approach, and may utilize qualitative or quantitative methodology. Research may be aimed at testing a well-established theory, replicating a study, crafting an elegant psychological experiment, designing and executing a written survey, conducting interviews, or engaging in observational ethnographic research. 

Students will form research groups within the program based on shared research interests (or methodological or theoretical interests). Faculty will provide structured support to these learning communities across all aspects of the research process. Students entering this capstone program should do so with a particular research project in mind, although faculty will work one-on-one with students to help shape the nature of their project in both practical and theoretically meaningful ways.

Students will attend the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association (WPA) in Portland, Oregon, from April 26–29, 2018. This field trip will provide direct exposure to researchers in psychology, enabling students to talk with other researchers (many of whom are undergraduate or graduate students); find out about the latest trends in research psychology; and be intellectually stimulated by poster sessions, panel presentations, and talks from well-known scholars in the field.

Students who successfully complete this capstone program will have collected, analyzed, and written up their findings by the end of spring quarter 2018. This program is timed to correspond with the November 2018 deadline to apply to present research findings at WPA the following spring.

Research Opportunities

This is a capstone opportunity within psychology (or closely related social science disciplines such as sociology or cultural anthropology).

Program Details

Fields of Study

psychology sociology

Preparatory For



Spring Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

Special Expenses

Students will need to arrange and purchase their own transportation to Portland, Oregon, as well as four days of meals during the Western Psychological Association conference.


$294–$493 for poster printing costs and an overnight field trip to the annual conference of the Western Psychological Association (WPA) in Portland, Oregon, from April 26–29, 2018. Depending on the type of accommodation the student requires, the student fee for WPA will range between $274–$473 and includes WPA membership/registration fees and four nights at a hotel near the conference site.