Second Semester – PSYENCE FRIDAY

The Middle: Part 1 (Second Semester) 

  1. So now you are in your second semester of the hell that is graduate school. I wish I could tell you congratulations for this accomplishment but unfortunately, things really don’t get any easier. (I’m a regular ball of sunshine, can you tell?) Your advisor will likely begin to breathe down your neck this semester so get excited for that! 
  2. HOWEVER. You can prepare for this. You should seriously be prepping your thesis at this point. It should become your goal to propose your thesis this semester.  
  3. What is a proposal, you ask? Why, let me tell you! 
  4. First, you need to ask your potential committee members if they will serve on your committee. You should have considered who you wanted last semester and decided by this semester.  It’s not a bad idea to run your potential committee members by your advisor.  You need to complete this form and have your members sign it at your proposal.  
  5. A proposal is a meeting with you and your committee members (and others if you would like them there) in which you propose what it is you would like to do for your thesis.  
  6. The proposal has two parts: Part 1: Presentation, Part 2: Your proposal document 

Part 1: Presentation: 

  • This is best accomplished via PowerPoint or some other visual presentation software such as Prezi. Your presentation should be a walk-through of your study. 
  • Intro: This is the lit review portion of your proposal. I advise beginning with who the heck cares/why is this important and working your literature in from there.
  • Proposed research question/hypotheses: These are the specific questions you have drawn from your extensive literature review.
  • Predictions: Always good to put your predictions in graph form, if you can. Let your committee know what you think will happen.  
  • Design: Draw your design out for them. This is easily accomplished with the tables tool in PowerPoint. 
  • Method: This is your method. Obviously. 
  • Be detailed! Tell your committee where you will participants from (we’ll cover that in a bit), how many participants you will need, EXACTLY what the participants are going to do, EXACTLY what you are going to do, and all that the experiment will entail.  
  • Expected results: You should reiterate your predictions here. You need to have your analysis picked out already. I know this is a daunting task since you know, statistics and all, but it is necessary. Andy Field’s statistics book is an excellent resource for this. If you’re taking Multivariate, this is an EXCELLENT place to draw ideas from.  I’d advise using something a bit more elegant than just a one-sample t-test. 
  • Discussion: Tell us why this matters! How will your results enhance the field of psychology? How can they be used to potentially change the world? WHY ARE WE HERE?!? Okay, maybe not that last one but you get the picture.  Make your presentation at least a little bit exciting. It doesn’t have to blow anyone away or anything but it needs to captivate attention. It should be informative and clear. Want to know the best part about your proposal presentation? You get to use it to build from to create your….wait for it…DEFENSE! So make it good because future you will have a lot less work to do if you rock it the first time around. 

Part 2: Proposal document 

  • The format of this is dependent on what your advisor wants. Some advisors want short summaries and others want full documents. My personal advice would be to provide them with a full-blown paper. It should be a summary of your study, just like your presentation. Give your committee this about a week before your proposal. Again, you get to use this to build your final thesis from. You have to schedule your proposal meeting. You should get all of your committee members’ available times a couple weeks before you want to have the meeting. It can be a challenge to get all of your committee in one room at one specific time so leave plenty of time to do this!  Once you have all the times, confirm the best one with all of them. When you have picked a certain time on a certain day, you need to schedule the room. You can schedule a room by going to the dean’s office and requesting a room for a thesis proposal. I would allot at least an hour for this.  Your other option is to propose at Psyence Friday (if it works for your committee members) and you get to skip the scheduling a room step.  
  • Ta-Da! Now you have a proposal meeting scheduled. Remind your committee members the day before.  
  • At the proposal, go through your presentation and then ask for questions. It is at this time that committee members will ask you questions and provide suggestions for how to better your study. Take these to heart and change whatever needs to be changed.  Have them sign the Thesis Committee Member form and take this to the graduate college office (4th floor of the Nigh, room 404).  They will likely give you the go ahead to submit your IRB! IRB: Institutional Review Board. Don’t panic, these things are plenty doable. You should be working on this ahead of your presentation but it should not be turned in or finalized until post-proposal presentation. It can be, but if your committee changes things then you have to submit an amendment.  
  1. Here are IRB guidelines: You MUST know your design in order to fill out an IRB application! The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is the overseeing body of research conducted with human subjects. It is operated out of UCO’s Office of Research Compliance.  
  2. Director: Dr. Jill Devenport, Coordinator: Pam Lumen. It is located in Admin 216, 974-5497 

  • 3 different types of review: 

  1. Exempt Projects: Pose minimal risks to participants and have no identifying information Includes existing data, publically available data, or data used for evaluation purposes. Exempt means that it does not have to go to Full Board Review. An IRB application is still required. 
  2. Expedited Review: No more than minimal risk posed to the participants. Involves behavioral or physiological measures. These will be reviewed by one or more board members. 
  3. Full Board Review: Involve more than minimal risk (deception) to participants or involve vulnerable populations such as children, prisoners, pregnant women, and fetuses.  The full IRB board will meet to review the application. DUE 10 DAYS BEFORE EACH IRB MEETING.

  • Meetings are the first Wednesday of every month. 
  • Required forms: 

  1. The IRB application itself 
  2. Submit an electronic copy to and turn in a hard copy with signatures. 
  3. Informed Consent Form 
  4. PHRP certificates. Yours, the co-PI’s, and any confederates 
  5. Your advisor’s 
  6. SONA permission letter. Located in the lab. 
  7. Debriefing  
  8. Any measures/scales 
  9. A script 
  10. Personnel Agreement if you have confederates/RA’s. Located in the lab.  
  11. SONA screenshot of your study information (SONA manual attached) 
  12. Required signatures. Yours, as the primary investigator. The co-PI’s or faculty mentor’s (this is your advisor). The department chair (Dr. Hamlin). The dean 
  13. Give your completed IRB application with your signature and the co-PI’s signature to Bonnie and she will give it to Dr. Hamlin and the dean.  
  14. You will then be required to deliver your application to the Office of Research Compliance. 
  15. Give yourself AT LEAST one day per signature. 


  • Be concise.  
  • Provide an appropriate literature review to address the issue but do not go overboard. 
  • Provide a very detailed method. 

  • They want to know exactly what you will do to your participants.  
  • Turn in the application AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. 
  • This is especially important if you are using deception. The full board only meets once a month and the application does not immediately get approved following the meeting. 
  • Once your IRB is approved, forward the approval email to 
  • You should submit your IRB during your first year, following your proposal meeting. Once you have approval, you are GOOD TO GO!  
  • RCSA (Research, Creative, Scholarly Activities) Grant applications are due during the spring semester every year around February/March.  
  • SUBMIT AN APPLICATION!! Why would you not want to get paid to do something you already have to do? 
  • $500 to use for research and 5 hours per week of paid RA.  
  • So just submit the application. Instructions can be found here: