BY LOUIE LIMAS
2012 CSUSM Student Research Competition Finalist
Research experience is an essential component to becoming a successful scientist. Conducting studies has allowed me to take the psychological theories that I have learned in the classroom and apply them to real-life scenarios in a meaningful way. Moreover, conducting research has helped me to develop additional skills which can be applied to other coursework, such as data analysis, manuscript development and dissemination of results.
Research experience is invaluable to the graduate application process. Prospective students need to know that the quality of their research experience is what is going to set them apart from other candidates.
About my Research
With threats of environmental degradation growing more dire with every passing day, the practice of providing free plastic and paper bags at grocery stores deserves attention. For example, U.S. shoppers consumed 102.1 billion plastic bags in 2008 alone. Given the negative environmental consequences attributed to plastic and paper bag use, this past summer I administered a survey to 160 grocery shoppers in order to better understand consumer bag-use behavior and the factors influencing their choice to use a reusable bag.
Since prior research has shown that the use of social norms is effective in increasing pro-environmental behaviors, the survey assessed normative factors as predictors of bag-use behavior. Specifically, an injunctive norm describes what is approved or disapproved of by most people, while descriptive norms describe what most people actually do. The results indicated that descriptive norms and injunctive norms were the best predictors of reusable bag ownership and participants’ intention to bring reusable bags in the future. Thus, customers may be more inclined to bring their own bags when they see other people doing so.
Louie Limas is among the twelve finalists representing CSUSM at the 26th annual statewide Student Research Competition held at CSU Long Beach on May 4-5. Hear firsthand how his research is leading to new discoveries, positively impacting his education and propeling him toward his future aspirations.