PSEPP for Instructors

Students in large introductory courses in the Political Science Department are invited to participate in PSEPP as participants each semester. Instructors and TAs of these courses should make participation in the Research Component part of students' course grade. Recommended syllabus language is available here. Students have the option to complete the Research Component by participating in research studies and/or writing article reports and need to complete a total of 8 credit hours in a given semester, so there is no requirement that students participate in research.

To participate in research studies, students request an account in the PSEPP online system and can view and sign-up for studies there. Studies are typically worth 1 or 2 credits each, but this depends on the time commitment the study requires. At the end of the semester, instructors will receive a report summarizing how many credits were earned through study participation for students enrolled in their course.

To complete article reports, students select from a list of journal articles published by political science faculty and write a 2-page paper based on the article (this list will be made available to instructors and students at the start of each semester). Each article report is worth 2 credits. These reports should be submitted to instructors / TAs for the course the student is enrolled in and instructors are responsible for grading these. Articles are available are available in the PSEPP Canvas Module, which is accessable through the Canvas Commons.

The link for our CANVAS Module is provided here. The instructions to import the CANVAS Module are here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the PSEPP syllabus language? The PSEPP syllabus language is available here.

How should the article reports be graded? We recommend having students submit article reports to the instructor/TAs through Canvas using an assignment with Turnitin enabled for plagiarism checking. Article reports should be added to the Turnitin database so that we can keep a repository of papers submitted for previous courses. Each article report is worth 2 credits, and students can submit a total of 4 article reports worth 8 credits in total. Reports you receive from your students should fulfill the following standards:


  • 2 typed, double-spaced pages;
  • Standard 12-point font (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial);
  • One-inch margins;
  • If you ask your students to submit their report through Canvas, please remind them that it has to be saved as a Microsoft Word document (.doc) or PDF file (.pdf).

Each article report should address the following:

(1) Provide an overview of the article

  • Which article did they read?
  • What was the central question the researchers were trying to answer?
  • How did the paper try to answer that question?
  • What did the author find?

(2) Summarize their own thoughts about and reaction to the article

  • Did they find the article convincing?
  • Were there any problems with the ideas? The research design? The conclusions?
  • Did this article give them ideas for future research? Could it be applied to problems in the real world?

How is credit information for study participation reported? After the semester deadline to participate in studies, instructors will receive a report from the PSEPP coordinator.

What if students are enrolled in two classes in the same semester that both require PSEPP / Research Component participation? Our policy is to allow PSEPP / Research Component credits to be counted toward multiple courses they might be taking during the same semester. Students taking two PSEPP courses in the same semester, for example, would still be required to complete 8 credit hours and study participation will be reported to instructors for both courses. Article reports should be submitted to both instructors, but students can use the same article reports for both classes. Note this does not apply to courses completed in different semesters--participation completed during previous semesters does not count toward participation in the current semester.

Can students earn extra credit through PSEPP / Research Component? No, students cannot earn extra credit through PSEPP / Research Component, as this changes the incentive structure for research. Students can earn a maximum of 8 credits each semester, which should be equivalent to a grade of 100% of the points instructors have allocated to the assignment.



Faculty coordinator:
Dr. Pierce Ekstrom 

Research coordinator:
Zeenat Ahmed

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