Psychology of Research Psychologists (POPR):
A Youth-led Research Short Course
With support from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) of UC-Berkeley (bitss.org), the Cor Foundation developed an innovative school-based program based on project-based learning and a youth-led research approach to promote research transparency in psychological research among high school students in AP Psychology.
Annually, 288,000 students enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology across 8,478 US high schools. The AP Psychology course curriculum includes lecture, activities, and interactive software to prepare students for the culminating AP exam, but it does not offer a problem or project-based learning method to develop research questions nor apply psychological science to their own lives and school problems. Additionally, 0 of the 14 AP Psychology course areas focus on a pressing concern in psychology: the need for open, reproducible and transparent research. In a 2015 publication in Science, psychological researchers tried to reproduce the results of 100 prior psychological experiments; only 39% of the studies were reproducible. The field of psychology is at the cross-roads – continue to produce poor-quality experiments and potentially risk losing the public trust OR train the next generation of scientists to conduct experiments ethically and with transparency.
“Adults in general, but particularly those in schools and community-based organizations, have historically viewed youth from two primary perspectives as objects that need to be controlled because youth are incapable of knowing what is best for them, and as recipients, as they are really “adults in waiting” and in need of being socialized and educated accordingly. A third perspective… sees youth as partners with adults… capable of making significant and lasting contributions now” (Delgado, 2006, p. 3).
Pilot Course at Yorktown High School (Arlington, VA)
This Psychology of Psychological Research is being piloted with 125 Yorktown High School (YHS) students in 5 sections of AP Psychology. In teams, they are conducting a correlational or social network study using transparent practices from May 14 to June 8. This course will teach students how to use the scientific method to answer psychological questions on character, (dis)honesty, school climate/safety, mental health, and technology. They will also create a poster presentation of their research to share with others.
Students will conduct a psychological research study based on the research workflow model developed by the Center for Open Science (cos.io):
- Search and discover research topics of interest
- Develop an idea
- Design a study using a correlational design or social network analysis
- Acquire materials
- Collect data using google forms
- Store data on a public repository
- Analyze data using an open-source software, JASP (jasp-stats.org)
- Interpret findings
- Develop a research poster
- Present a research poster to psychological “judges” at the conclusion of the course
Promoting Research Transparency
Research studies will be conducted with ethics, transparency, and reproducibility. These practices will be built into the course design. However, some additional transparent practices will be optional. Badges are incentives for researchers to engage in transparent research practices, such as pre-registration of a study along with sharing of data and materials in a public repository/website (osf.io).
Throughout the research process, students can earn these optional badges for completing their research in a transparent and reproducible way.
Youth-Generated Research Questions
Check back soon to learn about the research questions, method and results of their studies!
Are you a university professor, a post-doc, a graduate student, or high school AP psychology who is interested in delivering this course in May 2019? Not sure yet? Email us and we can work with you!