Department of Psychology Research Policy, updated May 31st 2016.

  Psychology majors who plan on continuing their education beyond BYU-Idaho will quickly learn that competition for graduate programs can be fierce. While GPA and test scores are certainly important factors in determining graduate school admission, more and more programs of all types are looking for students with some research experience. This is particularly true of clinical psychology and experimental psychology graduate programs. Many institutions of higher education offer a number of opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research with graduate students or even professors.  These opportunities can often lead to a presentation at a research conference or even a publication before earning the bachelor's degree. Unfortunately, (as is the case at many bachelor's granting schools) such opportunities at BYU-Idaho are few and far between. Whereas some universities have a strong research mission, the mission of BYU-Idaho is centered on teaching and learning and the faculty in the psychology department have devoted their time and effort toward this mission. For this reason, opportunities for conducting research will be provided in the classroom, rather than as extracurricular projects. The purpose of this document is to outline for the psychology major at BYU-Idaho how the BYU-I Psychology Department has chosen to enhance the research experience for its undergraduates given the above-described limitations.

Courses.  There are essentially three courses that are part of the Psychology program (irrespective of emphasis) that serve as the three cornerstones to teach BYUI psychology majors the process of conducting research. These courses are Statistics (Math 221C), Research Methods (Psy 302) and Experiencing Research (Psy 485).    The Statistics course provides students with some of the basic tools needed to conduct good research.  Research Methods builds upon this knowledge by introducing ideas about research design, sampling and other concepts.   The Experiencing Research class is the opportunity for students to actually apply the ideas learned in the first two courses.  The goal of Psy 485 is to reinforce the research and statistical concepts learned in Statistics and Research Methods and to provide students with an opportunity to conduct a project that will enhance their graduate school and job opportunities.  

Early Research Opportunities.   Students should not conduct research until they have enrolled in the Psychology 485 class.  Students who have not yet enrolled in this class may, however, assist upper level students (juniors and seniors) in conducting their Psy 485 research projects or (under special circumstances) assist faculty.   Such assistance should involve fairly simple activities such as assisting in data collection, participant recruitment, or data entry.                     

Additional Research Opportunities after taking Psy 485.   The policy of the department is that students make their Psy 485 experience as useful and fruitful as possible as this will be their final opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate at BYU-Idaho.  If a faculty member is working on a research project and INVITES the student to participate in his or her research project or if a faculty member approaches a student about collaborating on a new project, that student may be involved in an additional project.  HOWEVER, FACULTY ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE SUCH OPPORTUNITIES TO STUDENTS. 

Funding.  There are some funds available to students through the Psychology Department to assist in conducting their study, presenting at conferences, or attending research conferences.  

Funds for Research ProjectsThese funds can be used to provide compensation to participants, purchase assessments, etc.  Students who wish to access departmental funds must submit a research budget proposal early in the semester.  The department chair must approve all budgets.  Please note that all funding is dependent upon availability of research funds.   Once the budget is approved, students must incur the costs for their project first and then request reimbursement.   Reimbursements will not exceed $200[1][2].   Funding for additional approved projects will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Please note that these funds cannot be used to pay for a student's poster.   An acceptable black and white poster can be printed locally for a minimal cost. Funds for Presenting at Conferences.    

The Psychology Department will support student attendance at three conferences:  the BYU-Idaho Research and Creative Works Conference (Psy 485 students will be required to present at this conference which is held each semester), the Rocky Mountain Psychology Association (RMPA) conference (held generally in April) and the Idaho State University Psi Chi Conference (generally held in March or April).  The costs associated with the Research and Creative Works Conference and the PsiChi Conference are minimal and involve primarily posters (see above) and transportation (the department can provide transportation to the Psi Chi conference in Pocatello if needed).    The Rocky Mountain Psychology Association conference funding process is described below. 

First consider the following:

1. You must have a completed research project before applying for funds.  (Students still working on projects by the application deadline will not be considered eligible for funds).

2. You must be attending BYUI during the time of the conference or have recently graduated from BYU-Idaho.   Provided your graduation has been within the last two semesters, you are still eligible for funds. Thus if you graduated Fall 2016, you would still be eligible for funding in Winter of 2017.

3. All funding is contingent upon your research study being accepted by the conference selection committee.   The deadline for RMPA is generally in January.  

4. Students traveling to conferences using department funds must be accompanied by a faculty member. 

If you meet the criteria, you must email a completed research report by the established deadline to the Psychology Department email (   A research report will contain a brief explanation of the following:  literature review, methods, results, and discussion.   Please include somewhere on the research report your name and a reliable email address. A faculty committee will review the reports and notify all candidates of the decision.  Students who are attending will be expected to pay for their food during the conference as well as $100 towards their travel expenses.    The Psychology Department will cover the rest of the expenses (travel, registration and hotel).  In addition, the Psychology Department will help pay for a professional version of the poster the student is presenting if the student does not have one.

If more than one student is involved with the research project, the department MAY pay for all students to attend.  However, this will be based on number of projects requesting funding and availability of funds.  In some cases it may be necessary for the students to select one member of their research group to attend and/or present.

Miscellaneous: All students conducting studies involving human participants MUST submit their proposals to the BYU-Idaho Institutional Review Board before conducting their study.  Students conducting meta-analyses do not need to submit their study to the IRB.

  [1] Amount of funding may change contingent upon availability of research funds.

  [2] Under special circumstances and with department chair approval, projects involving multiple student researchers can request approval for a larger budget.  

Psychology Department Research Policies:

Psychology Department Research Forms:

 Student Posters and Papers