Research at PLU

Research experience at PLU begins with participation in research studies as a requirement for successful completion of our introductory and social psychology courses. Further explanation of these requirements are outlined below.   Our students regularly present their research at professional meetings, such as the Western Psychological Association and the Washington State Psychological Association.  In addition, students are involved in faculty research projects in both the Ramstad and Harstad laboratories, often times leading to publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Because the psychology department at PLU is committed to providing meaningful and rigorous undergraduate education that balances science and application, we provide a core of courses which cover research methodology and statistics designed to enhance the development of skills in critical thinking and theory building.  Our goal is to prepare students to succeed throughout life.

Throughout the program direct experience and interactive teaching methods are emphasized so that, by graduation, our B.S. majors are required to do their own research.  Students obtaining the B.A. degree also experience the research process because we provide the context and the opportunity for hands-on work and thoughtful consideration of psychology in the liberal arts and the sciences throughout our programs of study.

More Questions?

If you need further information after reviewing these questions and answers, contact the Research Familiarization Coordinator directly at

Why do I have to complete this requirement?

The goals of the research familiarization requirement are:

  • to establish early in the psychology curriculum that psychology is a scientific endeavor, that even those of us who do (or intend to do) applied and/or clinical work need a strong background in the scientific method as it relates to psychology;
  • to further science education within psychology by providing students at the introductory level with opportunities to participate in the process as subjects in experiments, and by availing themselves of opportunities to learn about cutting-edge research in psychology through colloquia and journal articles;
  • to provide students with more in-depth knowledge about the scientific method or about a particular research topic in psychology than can typically be achieved in an introductory lecture course.

How do I fulfill this requirement?

The requirement is fulfilled when you earn the required number of research familiarization credits during this term.  These credits can be earned in three ways.  You can:

  • participate in experiments as a subject,
  • attend and summarize research colloquia sponsored by the psychology department; and/or
  • read and summarize designated journal articles
  • For additional details please see the handout on the Research Familiarization requirement you received in your Psyc 101 class.  If you still have questions after carefully reviewing the handout, please e-mail