How to Join

Overview

The Interactive Measurement Group is a psychometrics lab.  Psychometrics means “the use of statistics in psychology”.  Our lab emphasizes statistics, computers, writing, teamwork, and preparation for post-baccalaureate programs.

Currently, our lab is using a hybrid format.  In March 2020, we switch to a virtual format, where all meetings and training were done online.  We continued in a fully online format through Summer 2021.  In Fall 2021, we are switching to a hybrid format.  For the Monday lab meetings, all members will meet online.  For the Wednesday lab meetings, some members will meet online and some will meet in person.

The Interactive Measurement Group meets year-round.  In the Spring and Fall, we have lab meetings all semester.  In the summer, we hold lab meetings for a period of 8 weeks, starting in the fourth week, which gives us a few weeks off at the beginning and end of summer.

In the past, all lab members stayed in our lab for at least three semesters.  A large portion of lab members ended up staying for more than that, sometimes as much as 8 or 10 semesters.  However, it’s not sustainable for us to accept a large number of new research assistants and keep all of them for multiple years.  Therefore, we are now asking that new members commit to just ONE semester.  At the end of that semester, they can leave the lab, choose to join us for another semester as a new lab member, or apply to become a permanent member.  Permanent members must commit to at least 2 more semesters. 

For logistical reasons, not all students will be accepted as permanent lab members.  Students who do not become permanent members will be well-qualified to join another research lab.  Students who do not join another lab will still be better prepared for graduate school, law school, and medical school than they would have been if they hadn’t joined our lab.

New Lab Members

Lab Activities

New lab members are involved in a wide variety of activities.  They

  • Learn to use a wide variety of software programs that are useful for research and post-baccalaureate programs, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher
  • Learn to complete introductory statistical analyses using statistical packages, such as the R (5 weeks), SPSS (3 weeks), and Jamovi (3 weeks)
  • Learn advanced statistical techniques, such as between-within ANOVA, multiple regression, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and censored data analysis
  • Create professional conference posters
  • Learn to create online studies using Qualtrics
  • Give live and recorded presentations, followed by question-and-answer sessions
  • Complete the free online Palouse Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program
  • Provide feedback to other lab members on their written work and their spoken presentations
  • Participate in workshops on getting into post-baccalaureate programs, such as picking a graduate school, program, and advisor; getting good letters of reference; creating a curriculum vitae; writing a statement of purpose; and taking the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT
  • Prepare answers to possible graduate school (or medical school or employment) interview questions
  • Learn about other organizations that can help them achieve their educational and career goals, such as Psi Chi, OUMP, OUR, CSUN, McNair, and AANAPISI

Registration

New lab members will sign up for PSY 496 (Independent Study).

In Fall and Spring, we recommend you sign up for 3 credits, which will count as one of your electives for your undergraduate degree. 

In Summer, we recommend you sign up for 2 credits.  If you prefer, you can sign up for 3 credits, which will count as one of your electives for your undergraduate degree, but will require you to complete more lab hours.

If you cannot afford that many credits, you can sign up for as little as 1 credit. 

If you have already graduated or if you have completed 12 credits of independent study courses, you may volunteer instead.

Time Commitment

In the Fall and Spring, you will be expected to complete at least 180 lab hours (12 hours per week), regardless of whether you sign up for 1, 2, or 3 credits.  Many new lab members complete more than 180 hours, but this is not required.

In the Summer, you will be expected to complete at least 120 lab hours (15 hours per week) if you sign up for 1 or 2 credits.  If you prefer to sign up for 3 credits, you will be expected to complete 180 hours (22.5 hours per week).  Many new lab members complete more than 120 hours and some complete more than 180 hours, but this is not required.

If you do not complete the required number of lab hours, your course grade will go down.

You must also be available on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-7 pm.  That’s when we have our lab meetings and trainings. This is when you will receive your training.

Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum GPA 3.00
  • Must have taken PSY 101 (Introductory Psychology) or equivalent
  • Must have taken PSY 210 (Introductory Statistics) or equivalent 
  • Available Mondays and Wednesdays 4 – 7pm for virtual lab meetings
  • Able to commit to 180 hours of lab work in Fall and Spring or 120 hours of lab work in Summer.

No special skills are required. We value students with different backgrounds, skills, and career goals.

Costs

In some semesters, students learn to calculate statistics in R using DataCamp.
  • $25 for a one-month membership to DataCamp in order to learn R.
Most semesters, students need to acquire one or two books.
  • ~$50 for books on writing, statistics, and/or productivity.  You can buy or rent these books or borrow them from the library.  The required books will be announced by the lab manager before the semester begins.
  • ~$35 for the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition.

Funding

All positions are unpaid.

Students are encouraged to join organizations that will help offset the costs of research and graduate school applications.  These organizations include Psi Chi and the McNair Research Program.  Students are also encouraged to apply for competitive grants from the Office of Undergraduate Research and CSUN (UNLV’s undergraduate student government).

Grading 

Grades will be based upon two criteria: lab hours and quality of work.  Each of these will be marked out of 50, and then these will be added together to obtain your final grade.  In addition, penalties will be applied to the final course grade if students miss meetings or fail to hand in poster assignments.

Completing Required Lab Hours

You will receive a base grade of 50 for completing your required lab hours.  If you do not complete all of your required hours, you will receive a lower grade.  You will lose 1 point for each 1% of missing time.  For example, if you were required to complete 180 hours but only completed 162 hours, this is a 10% loss, and so you would receive 40 points for your lab hours.  Although I will be grateful if you work additional hours beyond the minimum required for this course, extra hours earn no extra points.

Quality of Work

You will receive a grade out of 50 in terms of the quality of your research assistance.  If you performed poorly, you might get 20 or 25 out of 50.  If you performed well, you might get 40 or more out of 50.  Thus, someone who did a moderately good job and completed all of their required hours would get 30/50 plus 50/50 = 80/100.  The most important qualities in a research assistant are work quality (primarily accuracy, the ability to follow instructions, and problem-solving skills) and a good attitude (primarily cooperativeness, interest in the material, and willingness to accept feedback).  Quality is much more important than speed.

Penalties

Missed Lab Meetings

All new lab members are required to attend the Monday and Wednesday lab meetings.  If students miss meetings or are more than 5 minutes late and do not have an extremely good reason, they will lose 1% off their final course grade. 

The following are considered compelling reasons for missing a meeting: being sick and being out of town to attend a professional conference. If you are sick, please do not come to an in-person meeting (not even to tell someone that you are sick). Instead, let the meeting chair know afterwards: No one in the lab wants to get sick. Moreover, if you are sick, we discourage you from coming to virtual meetings: When you are sick, it’s important that you rest.  If you really, really, really want to come to a virtual meeting when you are sick, we’ll let you, but please take it easy on yourself: consider taking long breaks or quitting early.

Students are not required to attend meetings on a day when the university is closed: Students are welcome to meet that day or to schedule an extra meeting at a time when the university is open, but this is not required.

The following are not considered compelling reasons for missing a meeting: going to work and being on holiday (but see the exception below for summer). These absences will result in reductions in your course grade. If a student is out of town, they can still attend meetings virtually.

At present, all of our meetings are being held online. To be counted as attending a virtual meeting, students must be signed in for the Zoom call.  Ideally, students will have their video cameras on for most or all of the meeting.  However, students may need to turn off their video for part or all of the meeting (for example, because of a poor internet connection).  Students are expected to problem-solve and adapt as needed so that they can actively participate during the meetings.

In the summer, I expect students to go on holidays. These holidays might occur during summer term 1 (before lab meetings start) or at the end of summer (after lab meetings end), but they also might occur during the 8-week period when we have lab meetings. Therefore, during the summer, I will allow students to skip an entire week of meetings with no penalty. If you miss a lab meeting during the summer, let the meeting chair know if you want this to count as your summer holiday.

If you know in advance that you will be unable to attend a meeting, please notify the meeting chair as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the second week of the semester.

Also, if you do miss a lab meeting for any reason, you should make arrangements to complete the workshop or activities within 7 days of your return (e.g., if you are sick for two weeks, try to make up for this by the end of the third week). 

Missed Poster Meetings

Some students will work with a team to create a conference poster.  Poster team members are required to attend poster meetings.  The team cannot make adequate progress unless everyone is present.  If a poster team member misses one of those meetings (or is late), their course grade will go down by 1%. 

Late Poster Assignments

Poster teams will complete a series of assignments, each of which has specific requirements.  Unless there is a very good reason for missing one of these deadlines (e.g., every team member was either sick or at a conference that week), late assignments will result in penalties of 1% per week, which will reduce students’ final course grade. For example, if an assignment is 1 – 7 days late, the final course grade is reduced by 1%; if the assignment is 8 – 14 days late, the final course grade is reduced by 2%.  Throughout the semester, there may be holidays during which the university is closed.  Students must plan ahead to ensure that assignments are still completed by the deadlines.

It is essential to recognize that there is NO grade penalty if an assignment is done poorly.  If you are having trouble with the poster, the goal is to give you feedback and assistance.  Therefore, you MUST hand in your assignments on time, so we can get you the feedback you need.

Grading Scheme

The following grading scheme will be used:

A

93 – 100

A-

90 – 92

B+

87 – 89

B

83 – 86

B-

80 – 82

C+

77 – 79

C

73 – 76

C-

70 – 72

D+

67 – 69

D

63 – 66

D-

60 – 62

F

Below 60

How to Apply to be a New Lab Member

Contact us by email at kim.barchard@unlv.edu — ideally, you should contact us at least one month before the semester starts, but we will consider applications at any time.

Answer the following questions:

  1. When will you graduate?
  2. What are you planning to do after you graduate?
  3. Why are you interested in joining our research lab?
  4. Are you available on Mondays and Wednesdays, 4 – 7pm?
  5. Which statistics courses have you taken and what grade did you earn in each?
  6. For how many credits would you like to register?
  7. Would you prefer to attend the Wednesday lab meetings online or in person?

In this same email, attach copies of all of your post-secondary transcripts.

Permanent Lab Members

Lab Activities

Permanent lab members continue to build foundational skills by completing the same activities as new lab members.  In addition, they get involved in a wide variety of more advanced activities.

Permanent lab members get involved in all aspects of the research process.  They help design studies and write proposals to the Institutional Review Board for ethical approval.  They design websites and online studies.  They advertise studies online through websites like Mturk.  They score test results by hand and with the computer.  They enter data into the computer.  They analyze the data using introductory statistics techniques (such as those taught in PSY 210) and advanced statistical techniques that are typically only taught to graduate students.  They write up the results in the format of conference posters and presentations, and present their findings to the lab.  Finally, many students take their completed projects to regional and national conferences.  In the past, those were usually in-person conferences, but this year we have presented at several virtual conferences.

Permanent members improve their writing skills and learn about the publication process by writing articles for our lab newsletter. 

Permanent lab members are also involved in running and managing the lab.  They write agendas, chair meetings, set the presentation schedule, select outside speakers, develop and deliver workshops and presentations, and edit articles for our lab newsletter. They may become creative problem-solvers, exploring new software or learning to use existing software for new purposes, and then teaching these new skills to other lab members.

Permanent lab members also participate in mock graduate school (or medical school) interviews, in which they describe their research experience and their fit with a particular program. 

Permanent lab members also assist Dr. Barchard in teaching PSY 210 (Introductory Statistics). They update materials on WebCampus, run labs, assist students in completing assignments, hold office hours, and answer questions via email.  In the past, permanent lab members have assisted Dr. Barchard in designing assignments on SPSS and Jamovi, which have subsequently been published on the curated website TeachPsychScience.

Some permanent lab members complete an Honors Thesis or McNair Summer Research Project with Dr. Barchard.  These projects are individually designed based upon the shared interests of the students and Dr. Barchard.

There are only a few labs in this department where you can get such a wide range of research, teaching, and leadership experience. 

Minimum Requirements

  • Must have completed at least 120 lab hours within the Interactive Measurement Group
  • Have maintained a minimum GPA of at least 3.00
  • Available Mondays and Wednesdays 4 – 7pm for virtual lab meetings
  • Able to commit to 180 hours of lab work for at least two more semesters

Desirable Qualifications

We value students with different backgrounds, skills, and career goals.

Permanent lab members demonstrate strong communication and teamwork, high standards for the quality of their work, and the potential for good leadership and mentoring.

Registration

Permanent lab members usually register for 3 credits of PSY 496 (Independent Study) or PSY 498 (Independent Research) in the Fall and Spring, and 2 credits in the Summer.  Sometimes permanent members register for PSY 439 (Field Experience in Teaching of Psychology) or PSY 766 (Graduate Independent Research). 

If you cannot afford the tuition to register for that many credits, talk with Dr. Barchard about the possibility of signing up for fewer credits or simply volunteering.

If you have already graduated or if you have completed 12 credits of independent study courses, you may volunteer instead.

Students who are completing their honors thesis are required by the Honors College to register for HON 498 and 499.  Typically, these students will NOT sign up for independent study in addition to their honors courses, though they may do lab work beyond their honors theses. 

Time Commitment

In the Fall and Spring, you will be expected to complete at least 180 lab hours (12 hours per week), regardless of whether you sign up for 1, 2, or 3 credits. Most permanent lab members complete more than 180 hours per semester, and some complete more than 300 hours (20 hours per week), but this is not required.  If you need to arrange a lighter workload (less than 12 hours per week), contact Dr. Barchard.

In the Summer, you will be expected to complete at least 120 lab hours (15 hours per week) if you sign up for 1 or 2 credits.  If you prefer to sign up for 3 credits, you will be expected to complete 180 hours (22.5 hours per week).  Most permanent lab members complete more than 120 lab hours in the summer, and some complete mroe than 180 hours, but this is not required.  If you need to arrange a lighter workload (less than 15 hours per week), contact Dr. Barchard.

If you do not complete the required number of lab hours, your course grade will go down.

If you do not register for credit (i.e., you simply volunteer), you are expected to complete the same number of hours.  We’re a lab: We’re counting on you to contribute.

You must be available on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-7 pm.  That’s when we have our lab meetings and trainings. You will both give and receive training during these times.

Costs

In some semesters, students learn to calculate statistics in R using DataCamp.
  • $25 for a one-month membership to DataCamp in order to learn R.
Most semesters, students need to acquire one or two books.
  • ~$50 for books on writing, statistics, and/or productivity.  You can buy or rent these books or borrow them from the library.  The required books will be announced by the lab manager before the semester begins.
  • ~$35 for the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition.

Funding

All positions are unpaid.

Students are encouraged to join organizations that will help offset the costs of research and graduate school applictions.  These organizations include Psi Chi and the McNair Research Program.  Students are also encouraged to apply for competitive grants from the Office of Undergraduate Research and CSUN (UNLV’s undergraduate student government).

Grading 

Grades is based on identical criteria for permanent members as for new members. See the section above.

How to Apply to be a Permanent Lab Member

If you are not yet a member of the Interactive Measurement Group, click here.

If you have completed at least half a semester in the Interactive Measurement Group and you would like to become a permanent member, contact Dr. Barchard at kim.barchard@unlv.edu — ideally, you should contact Dr. Barchard about one month before the semester ends, but we will consider applications at any time.

Answer the following questions:

  1. When will you graduate?
  2. What are you planning to do after you graduate?
  3. How have you benefited from being in the Interactive Measurement Group so far?
  4. Why are you interested in becoming a permanent member of the Interactive Measurement Group?
  5. Are you available on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 – 7pm?
  6. Can you commit to another two semesters?
  7. For this coming semester, would you prefer to attend Wednesday lab meetings online or in person?

In this same email, attach copies of all of your post-secondary transcripts.