Propose research that is a psychological experiment and that is absolute minimal risk. We will learn about these terms over the course of the semester (week 7 for experiment and week 2 for minimal risk). You may or may not propose an experiment that is something that you would really like to do someday. Here are two examples.
• If your interests are in developmental psychology and you would love to propose research to examine the types of child outcomes associated with harsh or lax parenting styles, you will have to wait for another opportunity to do so. The
research you propose for this class must be an experiment, which, as you will learn, involves the researcher creating and controlling conditions, and then randomly assigning participants to those conditions. Not all interesting psychological questions can be studied experimentally, and this is one example. You cannot randomly assign parents to raise their children harshly or to be lax. Instead you can simply observe parents as they are and see what types of traits their children develop, in other words, conduct what we call a correlational design. So why do I require an experiment? Because in some ways, it is the most complex design we have in our tool chest. If you can propose a solid experiment, I know you will be aware of many of the considerations you will need to take into account in a correlational design.
• If your interests are in clinical psychology and you would love to propose research to examine the best treatment for PTSD, you will have to wait until you are proposing a thesis or dissertation and you have more content and training under your belt. Why? Because these questions involve potential risk to participants from undergoing experimental treatments, and you are not sufficiently trained at this point in your studies and career to account for those risks. Therefore, minimal risk is required for the research designs you will propose.