PSY 323 Sensation and Perception

March 7, 2019

PSY 323 Sensation and Perception
Research Project
Due Date: April 22nd, 2018
Point Value: 150 points
The culminating project for this course is a research project that will allow you to
investigate the application of sensation and perception principles to the “real world.” You
will select a topic and related research question and search the library databases to
locate relevant, empirical research. Then you will write a paper that summarizes the
research and draws connections between the research findings and the concepts that
you are learning in the course. You will also identify the limitations of the research, and
the directions that the research might take in the future.
Choosing a Topic and Research Question
You have free reign on the topic you choose. To guide your selection process there is a
document containing “project starters,” which are brief news stories about interesting
applications of sensation and perception research. You can use a starter as your topic,
or you can adapt the starter to suit your interests. For example, one of the news stories
is about how witnesses to crime are able to identify the perpetrator by smell with a fair
degree of accuracy. That could serve as the basis for an investigation with the following
research question: What does the research say about the ability of individuals to identify
criminals by smell?
Alternately, I could use the starter as a springboard to examine the different ways that
law enforcement agencies make use of the senses to detect criminal activity and find
criminals, such as facial recognition software, dogs who can smell cadavers, “nose
telescopes” that can smell marijuana in the air, etc. So, my research question might be:
What does the research say about the effectiveness of sensory-perceptual devices to
identify criminals and criminal activities?
Choose something that you find interesting and keep your research question simple.
Also, you may want to take a stroll through the library databases before deciding on a
topic to make sure that enough quality research is available.
Research Article Requirements
You must select 5-7 empirical, primary research articles. Articles that do not meet this
requirement will not be counted among your 5-7 articles required. If you are not sure
what “primary and empirical” means, please visit this library website:
The most efficient way to search the research databases is to use single terms with
“and” and “or”; do NOT input a question to search the database. You may use any of
the library databases to find your articles as long as you can set the delimiters as
• Check the “peer-reviewed” box. This ensures that your research has been
reviewed by other scholars and is deemed of appropriate quality for
• Restrict the date range. Initially, look for articles published within the last 5
years. If that does not yield enough relevant research, then expand the date
range to the last 10 years. Do NOT use research beyond the 10-year range. If
you have difficulty finding research, contact your CA for suggestions. You
may need to refine your search strategies or refine your question.
Article Summaries
In your paper you will provide a summary of each research article (minimum 200 words
per summary). Each summary must include the following information:
• The purpose of the study: why did the researcher(s) conduct the study and what
were the researcher(s) looking for?
• A description of the participants/subjects, including the number and key
demographic variables or features
• A brief description of the methods: what the researcher(s) did, and/or what the
participants/subjects did; also, the measure(s) and the kind of data that was
• The key findings: these should directly connect to the purpose of the study
Course Connections
Based on the findings of the studies you summarized, you will discuss how the research
reinforces or extends the concepts of sensation and perception that we have been
studying throughout the session (minimum 500 words). Consider the “Big Ideas” as well
specific concepts and principles related to vision, audition, the body senses, gustation,
or olfaction. Also, when possible compare and contrast to studies or concrete
applications presented in your text.
Limitations and Future Directions
The authors of the research studies you have reviewed will have presented limitations
to the research, as well as future directions. Using this information, as well as any
relevant information gleaned from your text, you will summarize the “state of the
research” for your topic (minimum 250 words). Questions to consider include: What are
the major challenges to conducting research in this area? Where does this research
need to go? What needs to happen so that this area of research can move forward and
continue to grow? Use specific information from your research as examples.
Introduction and Conclusion
Your introduction and conclusion are the standard elements you would include in any
research paper.
• Introduction: The introduction provides the context for your review of the
research. You should provide an overview of your topic and research question,
and define any key concepts that are being considered in your paper. (Assume
the reader has no background in the content.) In addition, you should briefly
preview the trends in the research that will be further elaborated upon in your
summaries. The introduction should be approximately 200-300 words, though
this may vary depending on the number of concepts needing to be defined.
• Conclusion: The conclusion should answer the question “So what?” Discuss
directly the “answer” to your research question. Then, discuss the significance of
the research in terms of the implications for helping people or improving the
quality of a person’s life, etc. Add any final thoughts you have on the topic. The
conclusion should be approximately 200-300 words.
Paper Format
It is expected that you will follow APA requirements for this paper. I strongly recommend
that psychology majors purchase the APA Manual if you do not already own a copy. It is
an invaluable resource. Otherwise, it is your responsibility to seek out the resources you
need to be able to accurately cite (both in-text and parenthetically) and reference your
research. (See resources provided in the syllabus.) In addition, you must adhere to the
• Use Times New Roman 12-pt. font for everything (e.g., do NOT make your title or
headings a larger size)
• Use 1” margins
• Double-space everywhere (e.g., do NOT insert “blank” lines between sections)
• Include a title page with a running head
• Include page numbers, beginning with “1” on the title page
• Use headings of the appropriate “level” to separate sections of your paper
You do not need to include an abstract for this paper. The organization should be as
• Title page
• Introduction
• Research Summaries
• Course Connections
• Limitations and Future Directions
• Conclusion
• References
Suggested Timeline
You will begin immediately brainstorming ideas for your project topic, as you must
discuss your ideas in the Week 1 discussion forum. During Week 2, you will finalize
your topic and begin exploring the research. Your beginning knowledge of the topic will
be discussed in the Week 2 discussion forum. From Week 3 through Week 6, you may
set your own schedule as long as you meet the submission deadline. However, to keep
on track the suggested schedule is as follows:
Week 1 Explore “project starters” and brainstorm possible topics
Week 2 Finalize topic and begin examining research; find 2-3 articles to read
Week 3 Identify the remainder of your 5-7 research articles; summarize 2-3 articles
Week 4 Summarize the remaining articles; identify limitations and future directions
Week 5 Identify connections between the findings of studies reviewed and specific
sensation and perception concepts from the text, as well as to the “Big
Week 6 Pull it all together into the final paper
Project Support
Your CA is your primary contact for project questions that cannot (or are not) answered
in the Hallway Conversations forum. However, please do not contact your CA with
questions about APA or general writing skills. These questions are better addressed
through the Online Writing Center, the link for which is available on the Blackboard
menu. The ASU library also has a number of resources related to writing in the area of

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