Becoming a Research Assistant (RA)

Before you decide whether you want to work with us on our research team, you should take a look at what is going on in the lab.  After all, it’s better to know what you’re getting into before you get into it! I point out the wisdom of this in an HPL blog post dedicated to preparing for an undergraduate research experience. In that post, I provide step-by-step instructions and links to help you get started with research in psychology at UVU.

You can find out about our research by visiting our Current Projects page. For those applying as research assistants (see below), you can help out on any of those projects.  For those applying as team members (see below), you can propose your own topic if you don’t find anything that strikes your fancy among our current projects.

Here are the different roles within the lab:

Research Assistant (RA): This is a student who is interested in helping with ongoing research because he or she (1) is only interested in helping for one semester; (2) wants to help for more than one semester (minimum of two) in order to be eligible for a letter of recommendation but does not want to initiate an individual research project; or (3) wants to be evaluated for membership in the EDGE-U team. Responsibilities for an RA include data entry, data collection, quality control, error checking, some assistance with literature reviews, and attendance at research meetings during the semester.

EDGE-U Team Member (TM): This is a student who has already completed one semester as an RA (OR who has completed a research methods course) and also wants to engage further in the research process as preparation for graduate school. TMs will be responsible for (1) initiating a research project in the area of pedagogy; (2) serving as an assistant on another TM’s research project; and (3) providing leadership and direction for other TMs assisting on their independent project. TMs must commit to at least one academic year (two semesters) in the lab.

TMs are also eligible to propose topics outside of pedagogy research for an independent research project or an honors thesis project.

Expectations for All HPL Members

You are expected to treat participation on the research team as a professional activity: you should be on time, attend meetings regularly, follow through on your commitments, and assist your teammates. Missing a meeting is unacceptable unless you have valid extenuating circumstances. You must let Dr. Hill or our lab manager, know in advance if you are going to miss a meeting when possible.  If you can’t let us know in advance (e.g., car accident or some other horrible, unpredictable thing), please let us now as soon as possible afterward. You do not have to disclose the nature of the emergency if it is personal in nature, but you do have to let us know you’re not going to be there. It helps because we will wait for you if we are expecting you, and we will worry if we don’t hear from you.  After all, we are a team, and we act like it.

You are expected to be an independent learner and worker.  You must be able to manage your time well, assess what commitments you can and cannot make, as well as do your best to learn quickly what you do not already know.

You are expected to read books, journal articles, and other sources to prepare for meetings.  You must be able to figure out what you can on your own.  (Sometimes the team tells me that they have to look up some of the words I use while speaking or in email). You must also be able to express what you don’t know so that we can help you in your learning.

You are expected to be a good communicator.  You must be able to check your email several times a day during the week and respond quickly.  You must be able to check Canvas at least once a day for updates and information.

How Do I Join?

Most people have questions before they want to apply.  That’s just fine with us. Feel free to email any questions to labmanager {at} We will provide any clarifications that we can. If you’d like to visit a research meeting or two before you decide, that’s just fine. Our Lab Manager can help arrange that for you.

If you are not deterred by this point, then you are ready to move on to the application. The easiest way for you to apply is to use our application on Qualtrics to fill in your information (NOTE: We are having a little trouble with the application right now.  Please email Brandy at labmanager {at} to get a paper version) . It will ask you for a password.  Enter “HPLRA.” Keep in mind that you’ll need between 15-30 minutes to finish it, depending on your previous research experiences. Most of the questions require responses, but some do not; we tried to respect your privacy in case you felt uncomfortable sharing some of the information we were requesting from you. You can always save your responses and come back, but we weren’t able to include a back button because of the way the application is structured–that means that once you submit your answer, that’s it.

If you are uncomfortable filling out the application on Qualtrics, you can always email a summary of your research experiences, academic preparation, your goals for your education and career, and a copy of your CV to labmanager {at}

After we receive your application, we will review it in one of our research meetings. If we like what we see, we’ll email you and ask you to come in for an interview.  If we have further questions, we’ll email those to you as well.