Get Psyched: an in-depth research based showcase

 

Students dressed for success stood proudly in front of their research projects awaiting those who came to learn more about their specific study.

The Psychology 74: Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences class hosted a psychology showcase on May 23, where students in the course had the chance to present their original research.

The event mimicked actual psychology, biology and sociology conferences, with the research projects displayed in a specific format used in professional showcases.

The students stood in front of their posters and were available to answer questions and explain their fieldwork to those in attendance.

Class instructor Angela Belden said the class prepares students for careers in the research field.

“This is the kind of thing that you see at professional conferences. They do these kinds of poster styles, and so I’m trying to expose the students to that kind of thing,” Belden said.

Belden, who has been teaching the course for almost seven years, said she believes that students in the class leave enriched and challenged, making them more marketable candidates for the future.

“It’s a ton of work, but it’s such an amazing thing to be able to research something you’re interested in, to be able to do something from start to finish. To see all that is just fabulous,” Belden said.

According to Belden, the students were able to choose any research topic that interested them, and the posters displayed in The Great Hall were a culmination of the semester’s work.

They worked in groups, but each individual wrote their own paper and presented their findings.

The students covered a wide range of topics such as ethnicity, drug use, gender roles, and body image.

Psychology major Justin Ezer focused his research on the perception of anabolic steroids and prescription stimulants. He was interested in how Pierce students perceived cheating, and how they compared the use of drugs in academic and athletic disciplines.

“It’s a norm in a college society. A lot of students take Adderall and Ritalin to study, and a lot of people don’t realize the effects of drugs of this sort, so I wanted to get the opinion of students in general from Pierce College to see how they feel about steroids,” Ezer said.

Ezer’s study found that a majority of the participants considered the use of Adderall more unethical than the use of prescription stimulants.

He said that one of the advantages of taking the class is that if his project receives a good grade, he can use it as a foundation for further research when he begins taking upper-division classes.

“It’s a great class to take to get ready for transferring,” Ezer said. “I feel like this should be a prerequisite for everyone before they transfer as psychology [majors] because they have to take a research class when they transfer.”

He believes the class has put him at an advantage when entering upper-division research courses because he is now familiar with writing college-level analysis papers and conducting psychological research.

Pierce student Kayla Christian researched gender stereotypes and their portrayal in film. She watched 35 films on Netflix and recorded how often characters displayed typical feminine and masculine traits.

“When it comes to feminine traits, it’s almost like people shy away from showing sensitivity in their roles because it’s not appealing,” Christian said.

Christian, who changed her research topic three times, said the class was challenging.

“It’s easy to come up with a hypothesis. It’s easy to say you want to research a certain topic, but when you actually start to research it and try to find data and supporting evidence, then it was a little bit hard,” Christian said.

She said she feels very accomplished and proud that she learned new things that she was able to uncover through her own research.

Belden said that she is proud of the work her students created.

‘It’s a lot of work, but it’s so worth it at the end to feel the pride and accomplishment of something like this,” Belden said. “Nothing beats it.”