B.S. Research and Paper Guidelines

Research Experience Requirement

The research experience courses will be completed through laboratory courses or PSYC 199 courses (Independent Study) totaling 8 units of research credit. Approved combinations are:

  • Two PSYC 199s + Research Paper
  • One Lab Course* and One PSYC 199
  • Two Lab Courses*

*At least one Psych lab course (or CBN lab course for CBN majors) must include an APA-style research paper (guidelines listed below).

PSYC 199s can be taken for 2 or 4 units; but must total 8 units for the B.S. degree requirement. If a total of 8 units of PSYC 199 courses are taken to fulfill this requirement, they must be directed by a psychology faculty and culminate in a research paper approved by the primary advisor. Although it is recommended that a psychology faculty is selected within the chosen area of specialization, it is not required.

Research Paper Guidelines

Research papers must be related to the research interests of the faculty member you are working with. Either a review paper or empirical report is acceptable.

The faculty member you work with will determine the specific requirements for the paper, but all papers must meet the following department minimum requirements:

  1. Papers should include a B.S. research paper cover sheet. An example of the signature page for your advisor to sign is available for download, sample cover page [PDF].
  2. Papers should be double-spaced and have at least 6 pages of text.
  3. Papers should contain at least 5 references, including at least 3 empirical papers. These references need to be in APA format.
  4. Papers should discuss specific methodologies used in the lab or in the research articles cited.
  5. Papers should be written clearly so that a non-expert can follow the logic of what is being presented.
  6. Papers should show evidence of critical thinking about research rather than merely summarizing what has been done.
  7. Students in the Psychology Honors Program: if the Honors Thesis meets all of the criteria listed above, it can be submitted in fulfillment of the B.S. Research Paper requirement. Please note that the thesis may need to be revised or modified in order to meet those criteria.

A hard copy of the final BS research paper must be approved by your faculty mentor and submitted to the Psychology Advising Office no later than 3:00 PM Thursday of final exam week of the student's graduating quarter. Failure to submit your BS research paper by the deadline delays your official graduation term to the following quarter. It is the student's responsibility to ensure a signed hard copy of the paper is received before the deadline. Outside reviewers may be asked to read papers before they are accepted, you must plan accordingly.

Tips for Writing the Research Paper

Research papers typically reflect the student’s PSYC 199 and/or lab research experiences.  As such, they make take the form of an empirical research paper (which describes an experiment or series of experiments that the student was involved in).  Alternatively, they make take the form of a literature review (which describes an area of research that the student was involved in). 

For information and helpful tips on how to write both types of papers (such as how to find references, how to structure the paper, scientific writing, and an example paper), and to do so using APA style, please visit the “Writing Research Papers" section of this website.