Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Project Info

  • Name: Constraints on Generality (COGs) in Scientific Publications
  • Faculty Advisor: Yuichi Shoda
  • Department(s): Psychology
  • Area(s): Social and Personality

Contact Info

  • Contact Person: Jasmine Zhu
  • Email: jasminezhu96@gmail.com
  • Phone: (301) 922-4300


Previous research done by Simons, Shoda & Lindsay (2017) specifies the need for Constraints on Generality (COG) statements, including populations of participants, study stimuli or procedures, and the historical, physical, or social contexts, in which findings of a study are expected to occur. This project aims to assess the extent to which COG statements are included in published psychological scientific studies. We hope to gain a better understanding of (1) how often scientific publications discuss any COGs at all, (2) how often they discuss each type of COG, (3) how often they include a subsection discussing COGs, and (4) whether the inclusion of COGs has increased over the past five years. We are looking for detail-oriented 499s to conduct close readings of scientific publications in psychology journals. This is a great opportunity for 499s to gain an understanding of what high-quality scientific communication looks like, as well as learn how to conduct literature reviews.

Minimum Requirements

Highly attentive to detail

Strong reading comprehension skills especially for academic writing, and a desire to further sharpen scientific reading and communication skills

Ability to consistently meet deadlines

Completion of a research methods course in psychology, the social sciences, sciences, or medicine

Commitment: 2-3 credits (6-9 hours per week)