Undergraduate Research Across the Psychology Curriculum A Case Study and Program Assessment

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Kevin M. Clark
Rosalyn Davis
Kathryn Holcomb
Gin Morgan


Over the past 10 years, the Psychology Department at Indiana University Kokomo has worked to incorporate more opportunities for students to engage in undergraduate research throughout the psychology curriculum. Our previous requirements included a lower level methods course that most students took prior to statistics, with the result that students did not have the opportunity to practice the use of statistics in research contexts unless they completed an independent research project during their senior year. We made several curricular changes to enhance these opportunities to apply statistical knowledge, to increase research literacy and critical analysis, and to better prepare students who go on to complete an independent research project. The lower level methods course was redesigned to explore psychology as a major and career, introduce research concepts, and help students develop critical thinking skills. We also reinstated an upper level methods course with statistics as a prerequisite, allowing better integration of statistics with research methods. Most recently, in fall 2018, we added a lab to the upper level methods course, in which students use computer-based statistical software for data analysis. In addition to these curricular changes, the department has recently been promoting and facilitating more student travel to research conferences throughout the undergraduate program. In this article, we describe the program we designed to scaffold student research and present a six-level framework applicable across a broad range of disciplines. We also present data collected from current students and alumni in psychology to assess their perceptions of the impact of these changes on their research confidence and competence as well as limited results from assessment of student learning. Finally, we provide recommendations for other programs interested in increasing opportunities for student research in their disciplines.


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Clark, K. M., Davis, R., Holcomb, K., & Morgan, G. (2021). Undergraduate Research Across the Psychology Curriculum: A Case Study and Program Assessment. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v21i1.30553