Sue Frantz

Psychological science in action during the 2020 pandemic

Blog Post created by Sue Frantz on May 28, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, psychological scientists around the world have begun research designed to help us learn more about the impact the pandemic is having on all of us as well as how we can minimize that impact. Taking a look at some of these research questions will help Intro Psych students better see psychological research in action, how broad psychological research is, and how it can be used to understand and solve real-world problems.


This discussion would work as an opening to the Intro Psych course or as a conclusion to the course.


Pose these questions in an online discussion forum or adapt for use in a synchronous learning environment. (Remember the good ol’ days—in early 2020—when we could talk about “classrooms”?)


  1. Read this article titled “Researchers Mobilize to Study Impact of COVID-19” from the Monitor on Psychology, the magazine of the American Psychological Association. Find a quote from the article that you found particularly interesting or striking, and in 200+ words of reflection, explain why you selected it. Be sure to use quotation marks with your quote.
  2. Two psychological scientists created a Google spreadsheet where researchers who are doing COVID-19 social science research can enter their information. For researchers, this is a fantastic tool for helping them find potential collaborators. For psychology students, this is a fantastic tool for seeing psychological research in action. Visit the spreadsheet, and scroll through studies paying particular attention to the “Primary Research Question” column.

    Find three different research questions that are interesting to you. Quote the research question, and then identify which chapter of your Intro Psych textbook the research question is most relevant to, and then briefly explain why you believe that research question belongs with that chapter. For example, “How does risk perception influence engagement in protective behavior?” may be most relevant in the Thinking/Cognition chapter since it’s that chapter that covers some of the factors that affect how we make decisions. 

  3. In a 100+ word reflection, what is your reaction having read through the spreadsheet’s research questions? For example, did anything surprise you? Was there anything you were expecting to see but didn’t?


Respond to at least two of your classmates' posts with answers to these questions.The group members need to be those who have not yet received any responses. If all group members have a response, respond to anyone you'd like. Please respond to all three parts of a group member's initial post.


  1. In 100+ words, respond to the quote. Your response should be directly related to the content of the initial post, displaying psychological knowledge, say, from the textbook, personal application, and critical thought.
  2. In 100+ words, respond to the research questions chosen with a compliment (I like how… because…), a comment (I agree/disagree… because…), a connection (That reminds me of… because…), or a question (I wonder why/how…because…).
  3. In 50+ words, respond to the reaction to having read through the research questions with a compliment (I like how… because…), a comment (I agree/disagree… because…), a connection (That reminds me of… because…), or a question (I wonder why/how…because…).