School Psychology Program
School Psychology Research Interest Groups (SPRIG)
Students have a variety of ways of being introduced to and participating in research. A unique aspect of the program is the School Psychology Research Interest Groups (SPRIG) taken under PSY 615A. The research interest groups are organized into three inter-related formats: Combined, Cohort, and Topical.
The Combined SPRIG consists of biweekly meetings of all students and provides a combined interest forum for students to present their research competencies and to improve their design and exposition. It also provides opportunities for those who wish to present at a professional conference to practice this presentation in advance. In addition, students who are preparing for the oral defense of their thesis or dissertation sometimes use this means to practice their presentation. Still other students use this opportunity to brainstorm about research hypotheses or designs for a particular study.
Occasionally the Combined SPRIG meetings are divided into Cohort SPRIGs, consisting of all students divided into groups according to program and level (e.g., all Ph.D. students working on MA thesis projects, all Ph.D. students completing dissertations, etc.) These cohort groups allow students to offer advice and support to each other during similar stages of research experiences. Cohort groups also allow the faculty to provide students with consistent and efficient guidance and information at certain stages of their program.
Topical SPRIGs are comprised of smaller groups of students who meet biweekly with a faculty member to discuss and plan research in specific areas. Students of all levels participate in these groups, providing a type of apprenticeship and mentoring atmosphere, where more advanced students model research skills and newer students gain confidence in their own competencies while learning to generate research questions for projects, presentations, theses, and dissertations. SPRIG is coordinated with the statistics and methodology courses in a sequence designed to assist the student in moving systematically from introductory collaborative to independent research. Topical interest groups typically center on applied concerns and in recent years have included issues such as early interventions, developmental neuropsychology, primary prevention, child abuse, school learning styles, clinical judgment and decision making, and reading disablilty.