Experiential Learning in Action

Research Model

Students have the chance to put knowledge, skills, and theories learned in the classroom to work in real research contexts. Students use systematic methods to make intellectual contributions to a field, which culminates in a public presentation of their research results.

The psychology department’s 10 research teams group students with a faculty member to conduct research on a variety of issues. Regardless of the topic, students play a powerful and influential role in this research, an uncommon role for undergraduate psychology majors. Cynthia Scheibe, associate professor of psychology and director of the Center for Research on the Effects of Television (CRETV), mentors the research team that focuses on the psychology of media and media literacy.

Current projects include studies of put-downs and teasing on television shows, the impact of television on false nutritional beliefs of children, and the effectiveness of media literacy interventions in K–12 education. “I support and guide the research,” says Scheibe, “but students are first and foremost involved in every aspect. Students work with me to design studies, collect and analyze data, and coauthor articles and presentations. 

Essentially they engage in what is considered graduate-level work.” Although the workload is heavy, psychology major Meagan Howell ’08 values all she has learned as a three-semester member of the team: “The content of our studies is interesting, but what really keeps me excited is how engaged and involved I am in the research.”