The Research Assistant Syllabus
Conducting research is an exciting process of discovery and learning. It provides many opportunities to develop a deep understanding about the scientific method and specific research topics. It also involves the student in a professional role that requires ethical responsibility. The syllabus I have created for the Research Assistant is personalized to the student's interests and abilities, and thus is modifiable so as to create an exceptional learning experience. Specific responsibilities and learning goals are to be listed in the student's Independent Study form application. Course credit is available, and usually equates into 40-45 hours of research activity per credit hour. While the Research Assistant responsibilities and activities are often flexible, they may include the following activities:
Complete certificate training in the National Institute of Health course entitled, "Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams." To access this required computer based course and begin certificate training go to the Internet site: http://cme.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/learning/humanparticipant-protections.asp
Develop and enhance critical-thinking skills
Learn to use statistical software programs (e.g., SPSS, SAS)
Participate in the data-collection process
Keep a research journal
Develop the ability to conduct literature searches through the library and internet
Develop a portfolio of research reports and summarizations
Develop familiarity with various research methodologies and related concerns
Develop capacity to pose effective research questions and hypotheses
Develop understanding of statistical analyses and data management skills
Further develop reading and comprehension of scientific articles
Develop and improve technical writing and oral presentation skills, as well as research proposal writing
Apply ethical principles in actual research situations
Develop and pursue your unique research question(s)
Preparation of research report for submission to professional meeting
Preparation of research report for submission to journal
Team meetings usually on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, as well as with research participants throughout the research project.
I am looking for outstanding students. I hope students will participate in the undergraduate research symposiums at the Tri-State Conference (this fall at Northern Illinois University), the Academic Excellence Symposium (here at GB in the spring), as well as annual APS or APA meetings.
Every person is different in their learning and what they may accomplish. Research activity usually involves reading so that you can develop a foundation concerning the literature and issues that are confronted in the investigation. You may also assist in data collection and entry, as well as statistical analyses (if you've taken statistics you probably qualify to help manage various data sets). There may be other things to do as well, and usually new activities arise, so the overall road-map for any semester is very flexible. I also expect students to be "self-starters" and able to work relatively independently. Usually, there is a meeting each week (about 45 minutes) to see where we are in the project and what new issues, concerns, or ideas are important to talk about.
(A) Successful completion of assigned responsibilities listed in syllabus (worth 70% of grade); (B) Preparation of a research report (5 pages minimum; worth 30% of grade). Note that these evaluative guidelines may be revised in accordance with the unique aspects of the project and upon agreement with student.
To register as a Research Assistant, you will need to complete the Independent Study form (found in the Human Development/Psychology Suite--ask Twila Marquardt to help you locate this), and create your syllabus for the semester. After that then you will need to attain my signature and the department Chair's signature, and deliver it to the Registrar.
Information from other students who served as Research Assistants:
Read about the special benefits, insights, and challenges experienced by other students collaboratively involved in research with Professor VonDras: Research Assistants Talk
Greg Pouliot explains his project on life goals and social relationships with respect to age and culture as Ginny Dell, left, examines his display. -- Evan Siegle/Green Bay Press-Gazette
Examples of Collaborative Projects:
See examples of collaborative projects at the following link: Collaborative Research Projects