The REU program hosted by UNL's Department of Psychology utilizes a team approach to immerse undergraduates in the experience of conducting psychological research.
Each REU student joins a research team that matches the student's interests and skills in psychology and law. Each team, consisting of a faculty member, several graduate students, and five or six undergraduate research assistants will plan and execute studies with the intention of presenting professional papers and submitting research reports to peer-reviewed journals.
Through modeling and practice, REU students will learn to apply sound methodological techniques to study real-world phenomena in a way that does not compromise the scientific integrity of the research. Through practical experience, students learn the art of balancing laboratory and field limitations with enough methodological rigor to provide interpretable data. Students will write the research protocols that guide data collection, and will first observe and then participate in developing research protocols for the team's projects and their own investigations.
Ethics and Responsibilities
REU fellows will learn the ethics of psychological research as they assist their teams to balance the needs of the science with the ethical responsibilities that scientists accept when they collect data with human research participants. The students will analyze the ethical implications of their team's projects and their own proposals. They will learn how to write applications for institutional review boards so they can conduct their own research with human participants after they leave UNL.
Successful researchers are thorough and detail-oriented so their data is highly reliable and interpretable. There is no substitute for experience in learning the importance of systematic and reliable laboratory procedures.
Statistical analysis is the hallmark of social science research; successful researchers enjoy writing computer programs and compiling research results. Hands-on training will demystify complicated statistical procedures. Undergraduate researchers learn the value of statistical analyses and become comfortable with the computer programs that describe and draw inferences from data by doing this work themselves.
The findings of science must be presented to a broader community to be meaningful and useful. Successful scientists know how to offer results to a variety of audiences, including fellow scientists, other professionals, organizational administrators, the courts, and the public. With this in mind, REU fellows will have many opportunities to assist in organizing data, writing reports, and offering oral presentations of the findings. REU students who contribute meaningfully to research projects will be included as co-authors on research presentations and articles submitted for publication. Students will be asked to present the findings from their own projects at the annual Undergraduate Research Fair hosted by the UNL Office of Undergraduate Studies at the conclusion of the spring semester.