Research Capstone in Psychology

Spring 2017
Class Size: 25
Credits per quarter

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This program is designed to provide a capstone opportunity 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 interests 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 Sacramento, CA from April 27-30, 2017. 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 by 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 the spring 2017 quarter. This program is timed to correspond with the November 2017 deadline to apply to present research findings at WPA the following spring 2018 in Portland, OR.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:



Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 

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 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.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Special expenses:

Students will need to arrange and purchase their own transportation (e.g., air fare) to Sacramento, CA and 4 days of meals during the Western Psychological Association conference.


$262-$429 for poster printing costs ($20) and an overnight field trip to the annual conference of the Western Psychological Association (WPA) in Sacramento, CA from April 27-30, 2018. Depending on the type of accommodation the student requires at WPA, the student fee for WPA will range between $242-$409 and includes WPA membership/registration fees and four nights hotel at the conference site.

Research Opportunities:

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

Class Standing: Junior–Senior
Class Size: 25

Scheduled for: Day

Advertised schedule:

First class meeting: Tuesday, April 4 at 10am (Lib 2617)

Located in: Olympia

2016-07-26New spring opportunity added.