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.

Our lab uses a hybrid format.  For the Monday lab meetings, we meet online.  For the Wednesday lab meetings, we 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.

New lab members commit to a minimum of three seemsters in the lab.  A large portion of our lab members stay for longer than that. There are always new things to learn.

Details

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, Publisher, and Photoshop
  • 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, censored data analysis, mediation and moderation
  • Learn to program in R and Python
  • Create and deliver professional conference posters
  • Learn to create websitse using WordPress
  • 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

Returning lab members may also

  • Design studies and write proposals to the Institutional Review Board for ethnical approval
  • Administer online studies through websites like Mturk and CloudResearch
  • Create meeting agendas and chair lab meetings
  • Set the presentation schedule for our lab meetings
  • Develop and deliver workshops and presentations
  • Develop assignments to teach statistics and publish them on the curated website TeachPsychScience
  • Write and edit articles for our lab newsletter
  • Interview potential lab members
  • Explore new software and learn to use existing software for new purposes
  • Complete mock interviews for graduate school (or medical school)
  • Assist Dr. Barchard in teaching PSY 210 (Introductory Statistics): Update materials on WebCampus, run labs, assist students in completing assignments, hold office hours, answer questions via email.
  • 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.

Registration

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

Returning 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). 

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

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

Time Commitment

In the Fall and Spring, you will be expected to complete at least 180 lab hours (12 hours per week), regardless of how many credits you sign up for. Most returning 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  sign up for 3 credits, you will be expected to complete 180 hours (22.5 hours per week). Most returning 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.

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
  • Able to commit to at least 3 semesters. These semesters do not need to be continuous: Students can take a semester off and then return (for example, to participate in travel abroad or to travel during 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. Which semester do you want to start and for how many credits would you like to register?

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