Students' Research Earns National Honor Once Again

OGDEN, Utah – A group of students at Weber State University has received national recognition for research in the field of child and family studies.

The students' collaborative research paper, "Relationship Dissolution, Romance and Mate Selection Myths," was named the 2006 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Paper by the National Council on Family Relations. WSU students in family studies have received this award for three of the past four years.

The research was conducted and written by four seniors pursuing their degrees in family studies, including: Misty Burnett, Ogden; Jacob Priest, Layton; Rachel Thompson, Morgan; and Anne Vogel, Ogden. Paul Schvaneveldt, assistant professor in WSU's Department of Child and Family Studies, served as faculty mentor for the project.

"The research paper started as a class project, but each of the students went above and beyond what was expected of them to get to the finished product—an award-winning piece of research," said Schvaneveldt. "It was a long process, taking roughly a year to get from their original idea to a paper ready for national competition. They put forth a lot of effort to make it a quality project, and they should be commended for that."

An NCFR panel judged the paper on the following criteria:

• Uniqueness of the research question;
• The degree to which the findings contribute to the field;
• Clarity of writing;
• Good use of theory;
• Comprehensive literature review, building upon previous work;
• Sound research methodology; and
• Application for practitioners and/or likelihood of spurring future research.

"Conducting and completing a research project like this shows that these students are exceptional, hard-working, bright and competent," Schvaneveldt said. "It will certainly help with their career goals. It also means that good things are happening here at Weber State—that students have the opportunity to do research and that many of them take advantage of it and are confident enough to compete at a national level."

The project examined the impact of experiencing a romantic relationship break-up on the belief of certain myths and misconceptions about healthy relationships. The researchers found that individuals who experience more break-ups actually hold fewer unhealthy beliefs about relationships than those who had experienced fewer break-ups.

The students will receive the award and present their research at the NCFR annual conference, Nov. 8-11 in Minneapolis.

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Paul L. Schvaneveldt, Assistant Professor Child and Family Studies 
(801) 626-6597 •
Amy Hendricks, writer/editor for Media Relations
(801) 626-6346 •