Leigh Ann Vaughn

Professor, Psychology


Research questions for spring 2021 include:

  • What did people pay attention to when describing how they responded to COVID-19?
  • How do the word people used in these descriptions relate to how close and connected they reported feeling to others?
  • Are some goals reliably more enjoyable than others?
  • How well do research findings replicate at Ithaca College and around the world? (Our team is part of an international research replicability project with more than 360 collaborating institutions.)

The idea of doing research might seem intimidating, but the way we do it on this team makes it fun and not as hard as you might expect. Working together makes our research fun. Students have a lot of voice in the design of the studies, and we all work together in troubleshooting them. We analyze data together, figure out what results mean, and write up results to present at professional conferences.

The work outside of class is highly consistent week to week, and takes 2-3 hours per week. Almost every week, students run a research session in a lab, recruit for research participants, read an assigned research article, and do 1-2 short writing assignments. These activities build research skills that are great for graduate school, including literature review, working closely with others on research, writing in APA style, and analyzing data using SPSS.

Every year, we present our work at the Annual Convention of the Eastern Psychological Association and other professional conferences. In the past 10 years, 50 of my research team students and I have co-authored and presented 29 posters at professional conferences.