The recent focus on the importance of assessment has resulted in the development of a number of tools to assess student learning outcomes (e.g. Angelo & Cross, 1993). However, most of these tools have focused on what students learn in the classroom. The outcomes of student involvement in research tend to be less well defined, and therefore more difficult to measure, than the outcomes of traditional classroom learning. Nevertheless, some of the existing assessment tools may be appropriate for the assessment of learning through research, and others have recently been developed explicitly for that purpose (e.g. Lopatto, 2004; Tariq, Stefani, Butcher, & Heylings, 1998). Of the many outcomes listed for psychology majors by the American Psychological Association (APA, 2002), those that seem to be particularly likely to be enhanced by conducting research include understanding research methods, critical thinking, and oral and written communication (assuming that the student writes a paper or gives an oral presentation of the research).
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Developing, Promoting, & Sustaining the Undergraduate Research Experience in Psychology
Rueckert, L. (2008). Tools for the assessment of undergraduate research outcomes. In R.L. Miller & R.F. Rycek (Eds.) Developing, promoting and sustaining the undergraduate research experience in psychology (272-275). Washington, DC: Society for the Teaching of Psychology. http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/ur2008/index.php. Retrieved from http://neiudc.neiu.edu/psyc-pub/15.