Psychology & Family Studies Project Guidelines


Students are expected to develop an original research question based on a thorough review of the relevant academic literature. Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the theories and research relevant to their question. Qualitative and quantitative research projects should be designed so that the research question is adequately addressed. The project should allow the student to make a significant, though small, contribution to the existing literature and should thus meet basic criteria for publication.

Students conducting qualitative projects should (a) ask insightful, in-depth questions, (b) acquire (or develop their own) valid and reliable measures of the constructs under investigation, (c) include sufficient numbers and groups of participants, (d) thoroughly analyze participant responses, and (e) thoroughly explain how their findings contribute to the existing literature.

Students conducting quantitative research projects should (a) use a sufficiently complex design (e.g., an experiment would be preferable to a simple correlational study) to investigate their question or questions, (b) include sufficient numbers and groups of participants (preferably by using the psychology participant pool), (c) acquire (or develop their own) valid and reliable measures of the constructs under investigation, and (d) thoroughly analyze their findings in the context of the existing literature. With respect to statistics, students are encouraged to use the most powerful analyses available (e.g., a one-way ANOVA or regression analysis would typically be considered appropriate).


Honors projects should be written using the professional writing style of the American Psychological Association (Publication Manual, 5th edition). The proposal and final paper should be written in the format of a journal article. A minimum of 20 relevant references is required.

Advisors and committees:

Honors advisors for individual projects will be agreed upon by the Psychology and Family Studies faculty. Students are expected to meet with their advisors weekly. Students are expected to organize and participate in two committee meetings: one to discuss their proposal (during the HO 401 semester) and one to discuss their progress on the project (during the HO 402 semester).