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Research on Physics Students and Instructors

Research on Physics Students and Instructors

Anyone who wants to recruit physics students or instructors for their research projects, or study physics courses or instruction at Oregon State University needs to apply. This includes:

  • Undergraduate students doing projects or theses
  • Graduate students doing projects
  • Physics education researchers at OSU or other institutions
  • Other researchers who are interested in recruiting physics students or instructors as research participants or want to study OSU physics courses
  • Physics faculty members planning education research projects at Oregon State University as part of grant proposals or other programs

You do not need to apply if you are an OSU physics faculty member with routine program assessments.

Why do I have to apply?

We receive a large number of requests for Oregon State University physics community members to participate in research projects. We also have our own thriving physics education research (PER) efforts that routinely collect data from our courses. The application process helps our PER Coordination Committee prioritize research requests. Our goals are to protect students and instructors from being overwhelmed with research requests and ensure that researchers can expect high-quality data and high levels of participation.

Department policy on researching physics students/faculty/courses

Because multiple researchers and research projects are using the same research subjects in the physics department, we recognize the need to protect the research subjects from being probed too frequently. The PER Group maintains a large database of IRB approved/protected student data which may be available to share, pending agreement of the original researcher and the IRB. New data collection, specifically involving interviews, is of most concern. Therefore:

  1. The PER group will identify a committee of two OSU physics department researchers, at least one of whom studies upper-division students and one of whom studies introductory students. This committee will be responsible for keeping an online password-protected list of expected data collection efforts, including the intended population and schedule of data collection.
  2. Service on this committee will be included in the official departmental committee assignments.
  3. The PER group is willing to mentor members of the faculty in crafting responsible, quality education research projects as part of grant proposal writing and/or teaching work.
  4. Researchers are expected to submit their data collection intentions in a timely fashion to the committee for approval.
  5. The committee will make every effort to facilitate the legitimate research needs of all researchers but their primary responsibility is to protect the research subjects.
  6. As always, in the event of an unresolvable conflict, the department chair is the final arbiter.

Application deadlines

The PER coordination committee will meet one week before the start of each term to finalize approval for projects for that term. Projects that are approved in previous terms are not guaranteed renewal for subsequent terms (although continuity will be a factor in giving projects priority). You may submit an application after the start of term, but applications received after the term starts are not guaranteed review.


Contact PER Coordination Committee (