When I initially heard that one of our internship projects was creating a course guide, I wasn’t thrilled.
Something about writing a guide seemed inherently boring and I imagined the process consisting of typing a long list of reference sources. This lack of excitement was exacerbated by the fact that I was assigned to work on the guide for Principles of Psychology (PSYC 110), which can be one of the driest courses in the major. As I started working on the guide, I had low expectations about the experience, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Making a course guide is actually really fun!
The process is a strange combination of website design and writing a syllabus. Since I was re-working an already existing guide, I started the project by meeting with the Psychology liaison, Emily Scharf, to see what changes she wanted to make. The main feedback I received was that the guide needed to be simplified by removing unnecessary pages and making the layout more user friendly (especially for students new to the discipline). Through a trial-and-error process, in which I received feedback from both my supervisors and co-worker, I was able to create a guide that achieved these requirements.
The guide is organized based on the way a new student in psychology would navigate the research process, starting with a page on PsychINFO, which is the main database for psychology articles at Carleton. The layout then continues with additional psychology databases, books, and reference sources. The guide ends with an overview of how to make citations in APA 7th edition and some general research tips for this discipline.
You can access the final guide here.
Although I was initially skeptical about this project, it ended up being one of my favorite experiences in this internship so far! The project also introduced me to resources and research tricks that will be valuable as I start working on my psychology senior thesis.