Research Capstone in Psychology

Spring 2018
Class Size: 25
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

social psychology, gender and women's studies

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.

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 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.

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 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. Students who do not stay at the convention site hotel will be charged only the $20 poster printing fee plus $75 for registration/student membership to attend WPA.

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

Located in: Olympia