PSYS 100 Introduction to Psychological Science requires you to complete a certain number of extracurricular research activities (i.e., research studies) or alternative assignments that provide you an opportunity to experience psychology as a science. Please see the course syllabus for a further explanation of this requirement.

You can fulfill this requirement by volunteering to participate in approved studies or completing alternative research activities (such as critical evaluation of psychological research reported in the media).

How Does this Requirement Affect Grades?

This participation requirement does not affect your grade the way that test scores do.

If your grade for the course is a C-, D or an F, then you will receive the grade you've earned regardless of whether you complete this assignment.

If you earn an A, B, or C for the course and do not complete this requirement, you will receive an incomplete (I) for the course. Ball State automatically changes an incomplete to an "F" if course requirements are not completed.

  • Prior to Fall 2014 your research requirement must be completed within 12 months.
  • As of Fall 2014 your research requirement must be completed by May 1 of the following year.
  • For Spring and Summer courses your research requirement must be completed by December 1 of the current year.


Our faculty encourage students in PSYS 100 to volunteer in psychology studies for two reasons:

We Want You to Get Something Out of this Course

Volunteering in psychology studies helps you become acquainted, through personal experience, with research techniques discussed in the classroom and can give you new perspectives on models and theories studied by psychologists. Researchers have found that students who participate in psychological research demonstrate a firmer grasp of the information discussed in their general psychology classes than students who do not participate in research.

Your Participation Furthers Psychology

Participating in psychological studies provides researchers (students and faculty) with useful information that may be presented at professional meetings or published in journals and books. It becomes part of the accumulated scientific data of the discipline. Academic psychologists and the students they mentor appreciate your contribution.

Should you choose not to volunteer, alternative projects are available.


We make every effort to assure that your participation is safe and educational. The Ball State University Institutional Review Board (IRB) scrutinizes all studies to assure that experimenters conform to university regulations and laws for research involving human subjects.

Your Rights

  • You may elect not to participate in any study. You may elect to do alternative projects instead.
  • If you do decide to participate, you are free to leave any study at any time if you find yourself uncomfortable or unhappy with the experimental situation. There is absolutely no penalty to you for leaving a study under such circumstances.

Your Responsibilities

  • You must show up at the specified time and place for which you signed up. Other students and faculty members will count on you to be prompt and present. "No-shows" can jeopardize an experiment.
  • If, for any reason, you cannot make it to a study, delete your reservation from the study as soon as you realize that you cannot keep the appointment. Cancellations should be at least 24 hours in advance. Students who fail to show up three times for experiments for which they have signed up will be barred from further participation in the research program.
Research Studies


  • Sign up for a study online.
  • Complete the research study.
  • For online studies, read instructions carefully and complete it as soon as you can. For studies not online, arrive at the appropriate location at the appropriate time. If you cannot keep the appointment, be sure to cancel the reservation on-line or notify the staff in NQ 104 or call 765-285-1690 as soon as possible.
  • Before you begin a study the researcher will explain what you will be doing before you begin.
  • In many cases, you will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you have been informed about the experiment and are willing to participate. Some studies, for example anonymous surveys, do not legally require an informed consent form.
  • Regardless of the type of study, if at any time you choose not to participate, you will not be penalized in any way.
  • You can check your participation credits by going to Researchers will post your participation online usually within a week after your participation.
  • If you do not receive credit, return to the experiment sign-up site and e-mail the researcher.

Questions and Concerns

  • If you have a complaint about a study, we are interested in helping you get it resolved.
  • If you show up for an experiment and the experimenter is more than 10 minutes late, inform the staff in NQ 104.
  • If you have questions about the study itself, please contact the researcher through the experiment website email system.
  • If you have other complaints, see the staff in the department or your instructor. If they cannot deal with a complaint or concern, they will know who can.
  • If you feel that you were treated unethically, you should report your complaint to the Department of Psychological Science and/or the University Institutional Review Board at the Office of Research. The telephone number for the IRB is 765-285-1600.

If you do not wish to volunteer as a research participant, you will need to complete alternative research projects.

Instructors differ in the alternatives they prefer. The faculty agree that the projects should be related to research in psychological science and should require about the same total time commitment as required of those participating in studies.


  • Talk to your instructor as early in the semester as possible about your options.
  • Do not begin until you are sure the instructor will accept the specific project(s) you plan to do and that the project(s) will earn the required credit hours of extracurricular credit.

Example Projects

Write an evaluation of newspaper or magazine articles on psychological research (approximately three typed pages). The format of the evaluation should be as follows:

  • Enclose a copy of news or magazine articles published since the beginning of this semester.
  • In your paper, provide the context of the article and your interest in the topic.
  • Describe at least one specific research study from your text that is directly related to the article you are evaluating. Make specific reference to the text page number and identify the study.
  • Specify the independent and dependent variables and describe the research design.
  • Indicate what specific inferences can be made from the evidence--can you infer that one variable causes another to change?
  • Discuss the implications of the results including your evaluation of the methods and conclusions
    • existence and/or appropriateness of controls
    • generalizability from the subjects in the study
    • the relationship among the variables studied and the variables in the statement you are evaluating
  • Now evaluate the original statements in the media on the basis of the research you have discussed.

Watch programs on television that pertain to some psychological topic and write a short paper (approximately three typed pages) on the concepts and examples covered in the program.

Watch films or videotapes at Bracken Library that pertain to a psychological topic and write a short paper (approximately three typed pages) on the concepts and examples covered.