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Research

faculty handbook

Faculty Research Grants Funded By BC

This website describes the faculty research grant program at BC.

The Psychology Office sends out reminders to faculty whenever one of the grants described below can be applied for.

Research Expense Grants (REG) can be applied for twice a year for winter/spring and summer/fall. The maximum amount of any REG is $2,000.

Research Incentive Grants (RIG) (for $15,000) are available annually on a competitive basis, with nine intended primarily for non-tenured faculty to assist them in establishing their research program. The RIG program is designed to support research carried out directly by the faculty applicant. Normally, a Research Incentive Grant will not be awarded to the same faculty member more than once in three years.

Undergraduate Research Fellowships (URF) provide grants to faculty to pay for a student’s research assistance for a faculty member’s research project. A student may work up to 20 hours a week during the academic semester and up to 40 hours a week during semester breaks. Students do not receive academic credit for work done under an Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Applications for the fall are due to the Chair on September 1; applications for the spring are due on December 3; applications for the summer are due on March 12.

Faculty Teaching Grants Funded By BC

At least eight Teaching, Advising, and Mentoring (TAM) Grants are awarded for proposals that go beyond the work ordinarily performed by faculty in revising and developing courses or in advisement planning. Some TAM grants are awarded to faculty who propose to integrate the latest technologies into their projects.

External Grants

Faculty are expected to apply for external funding to support their research, and external funding is an important criterion for tenure. This website may be helpful.

The Office for Sponsored Programs helps faculty in grant preparation.

Undergraduates in Your Lab

Our undergraduates are eager to get involved in research. Students can join a lab as a volunteer, or they can get independent study credit for their work.

There are a few ways to recruit RAs to work in your lab. Each spring, Psi Chi hosts a lab fair where you can describe the work that goes on in your lab and announce that you welcome applications. You may also ask faculty to let you come into their classes to announce that your lab is looking for research assistants. Here it makes most sense to go to psychology classes in a topic area related to your research. Finally, word of mouth from graduating RAs to younger students always seems to work very well.

Many faculty feel that a semester of volunteering is in order prior to allowing a student to get independent study credit. Students who get independent study credit should write a paper so that this is an academic experience. We do not want to offer a course credit to a student who simply helps in data collection.

Students can also write a senior thesis based on research they conduct in your lab. We have two kinds of theses: a senior thesis, and an honors thesis. You can read about our Psychology Honors Program (and note that this is distinct from the University Honors Program).

Students can also conduct research in your lab as a Scholar of the College.

IRB Approval

All studies that you conduct, and all studies that undergraduate or graduate students conduct, must receive approval from Boston College’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Obtaining a CITI Certificate Needed for IRB Approval

Boston College now subscribes to the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program. Before you submit an IRB application for the first time, you must complete the core Human Subject Training modules online, and people submitting applications who completed their NIH training or BC training more than three years ago must complete refresher modules on the CITI Program. You will have three options for the basic training: 1) Social Behavioral Courses, 2) Biomedical Courses, or 3) both Social Behavioral and Biomedical Courses. After each section, you will be quizzed on the answers, so read the materials carefully.

To access the program:

  1. Go to www.citiprogram.org. Once there, click on “New Users Register Here.”
  2. Click on “The Protection of Human Research Subjects.”
  3. Under “Select your institution or organization” page select “Boston College” in the “Participating Institutions” dropdown box. If you are doing multi-site research, you will also be able to complete training requirements for that institution if they subscribe to CITI.
  4. Next create your own username and password and select the Learner group. After going through registration process you will then proceed to the educational courses. For first time users, select courses only under Question 1, and for Refresher Courses select courses only under Question 2. Remember to write down your user name and password because you can complete all the modules in one sitting, or sign in and complete it later. If you are an IRB member, you must complete both the Social Behavioral and Biomedical Courses.
  5. Once you have complete all the required modules a certificate will be generated and sent directly to the IRB Administrator, but you should also print a copy for your own records.

Recruiting Research Participants from the Psychology Subject Pool

The department requires that students taking the following courses serve as research participants for three hours per semester:

  • PSYC1110 Introduction to Psychology as a Natural Science
  • PSYC1110 Introduction to Psychology as a Social Science
  • PSYC1120 Introduction to Behavioral Statistics and Research I
  • PSYC1121 Introduction to Behavioral Statistics and Research II

Students who choose not to participate in research can write three short papers instead. Complete details on the research credit policy are available on our website.

Scheduling Participants Using the Subject Pool

Sona Systems is a way to recruit for participants online. All Boston College psychology students can access the site and sign up for studies. Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Request an experimenter account by emailing psychoffice@bc.edu.
  2. Post your study. Once your study has been approved by the IRB, you can post it on SONA. There are several parts to posting.
    1. Login and click “Post New Study” from home screen.
    2. Select the type of study.
    3. Post study name, abstract, and summary. Make these as simple and undergraduate-friendly as possible. Most people don’t read beyond the title.
    4. Make sure you correctly fill out the credit number (or post that you will pay cash), duration, and eligibility information. You also need to select all of the people who will be able to run participants (hold “control” and click the names). Each experimenter will have to have previously signed up for an experimenter account. Note that undergraduate RAs must sign up for an experimenter account even if they already have a participant account.
    5. Choose the principal investigator (a faculty member) and write in the IRB number and expiration date. Click “approved” and “active study.”
    6. There are a number of advanced options at the bottom, such as prerequisites, disqualifiers (previous studies the participant cannot have completed) and course restrictions (this is where you can denote that you will pay cash). You can also define when before a posted time a participant can no longer sign up (the default is 24 hours; many of us like to say 4 hours), or whether the researcher will receive an email stating that someone signed up or cancelled (good for notifying undergraduate RAs). Here you can also assign timeslots to a specific researcher. This is critical if you have more than one RA working on the project. This way you can ensure each RA posts his or her own timeslots.
    7. Click “add this study.”
  3. Post times. Once your study is added, you can start posting time slots for participants to sign up.
    1. At the bottom of your study page, click “View/ Administer Time Slots.”
    2. At the bottom of the next page, click “Add a time slot” or “Add multiple timeslots,” depending on your preference.
    3. Enter the date, start time, number of participants, location, and experimenter.
    4. For multiple timeslots, you can determine how many in a row you want to post and how much time you need between slots to reset your space.
    5. Click “Add this time slot.”
  4. Give credit. Once participants have either finished the study or failed to show up, you can give them credit or not.
    • If they were paid cash, you can give them 0 credits without penalizing them.
    • If they participated, you can give them 1/2 credit per half hour of the study.
    • If they missed the appointment, award zero credits.