Research Methods
Fall, 2017


This information was last updated on June 11, 2017.

This page is designed to provide information related to our Research Methods class. Please check this page often because it may be updated often.



Class Meetings

1, August 29, Introduction to the Course
2, August 31, What is science?
3, September 5, Psychological Science & Clinical practice
4, September 7, Science and Everyday Life
5, September 12, Generating Research Ideas  
6, September 14, Presenting Research Ideas
7, September 19. Generating Research Ideas from Reading Literature
8, September 21, Reliability
9, September 26, Introduction to Construct Validity
10, September 28, Construct Validity
11, October 3, Selecting the Right Measure for your Study
12, October 5, Exam 1
13, October 10, Introduction to Internal Validity
14, October 12, Designing a Simple Experiment
15, October 17, Fundamentals of Experimental Design
16, October 19, Introduction to Data Analysis
17, October 24, Data Analysis II
18, October 26, ANOVA
19, October 31, Advantages of Using More than Two Levels of an IV
20, November 2, Exam 2
21, November 7, Introduction to Factorial Designs
22, November 9, Interactions
23, November 14, Review of Factorial Designs
24, November 16, Within-Subjects Designs
25, November 28, Critiquing Research
26, November 30, Exam 3
27, December 5, Review of Factorial Designs
28, December 7, Review of Correlational Methods
 

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General Information

Course Objectives
Books, Software
Grading
Overview of Projects
Obtaining/Reporting Materials

Projects, Exams, Quizzes, and Exercises


Field Experiment
Research Proposal
Exams
Quizzes
Exercises

General Information


Course Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to critically examine claims made about human behavior--whether these claims are made by talk-show "experts," journalists, or behavioral scientists. More specifically, after completing this course, you should be able to

  1. Explain why psychology is a science in a manner that would convince both an average person and a physics major.

  2. Evaluate research on the basis of its construct validity, internal validity, external validity, statistical validity, and conformity to APA's ethical principles.

  3. Conduct a literature review on a topic in psychology.

  4. Design, conduct, and analyze the results of a survey.

  5. Design and analyze the results of factorial experiments.

  6. Write a research proposal that conforms to APA style and format.

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Books, Software

The text is

Mitchell, M. L. & Jolley, J. M. (2013). Research design explained (8th ed.).

Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

I also strongly recommend that you purchase either the APA publication manual or

Mitchell, M. L. , Jolley, J. M. , & O'Shea, R. P. (2013). Writing for psychology (4th ed.).

Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

In addition, freeware will be available in the psychology computer lab as well as on the Internet.

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Grading

Much of the grade in this course is based on your performance on objective exams (seven online quizzes, three 100-point exams, and the 200-point final exam).

In addition to these objective items, your grade will be based on my evaluation of two projects: the field experiment, and the research proposal --100 points each), and class participation (100 points).

Approximate cut-offs for each grade are

90-100% A

80-89% B

70-79% C

60-69% D

0- 59% E

 The workload is heavy, but you are often allowed to correct your mistakes.

 

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Overview of Projects

There are two main projects:

The Field Experiment Project

The Research Proposal

Note that, during  lab, you will do activities (e.g., searching for materials in the library, writing up summaries of articles, writing up method and results sections, writing up references in APA style, doing a survey research project, and designing experiments) that should help you in accomplishing these larger projects.

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Assignments, Exams, Homework, Quizzes


Field Experiment

You are expected to help design, conduct, and analyze the field experiment. Failure to do so will result in reducing your final grade by an entire letter grade.
In addition, you are to write up an APA style report of the experiment.
This write-up must be your own work.
Copying from other students is not acceptable.
The report must include a title page, a method section, a results section, and a reference section. The report does not need to have an abstract, introduction, or discussion section.
Important note about the reference section: The reference section will probably include only one reference, a reference to the White article that we used as a model for this study. The key is to put the reference in APA style. It seems easy, but, in the past, very few students have been able to do it correctly. For example, many students get 3 out of 10 points on the reference section.

Purposes:

  1. To show that you know APA style.
    Knowing APA style is a goal of this course and will be important for the research proposal. You will also be expected to write papers in APA style for other psychology courses at Clarion. Even if you do not go on to graduate school, the ability to write a report that looks professional and does not waste words (two hallmarks of APA style) should serve you well.
  2. To develop a better understanding of how articles are organized.
    Once you understand what should be included in each section of the paper, you should have an easier time understanding articles that you read.
  3. To show that you can apply some of the knowledge from Chapter 10  to this study.
    So please, do not confuse an independent variable for a dependent variable, random assignment with random sampling (if you're not sure about the distinction, try this
    tutorial), control group with experimental group, or the value of "t" with the "p" level. Finally, do not misinterpret null results (on page 348, review both Figure 10-1 and Table 10-2).

    Length: It should be about 4 pages long, although a paper with a perfect score could be as short as 3 pages or as long as 6 pages. Most papers will be 5 to 6 pages long.

    Helpful Hints:

    1. You will be graded primarily on conforming to APA style. Therefore, you should read Chapter 15 and then compare your paper against both the APA style checklist (Appendix A) and the APA style sample paper (Appendix B).
    2. The instructions the protocol team had you copy down may be useful in writing the method section. Also, in writing the procedure section, discuss what happened to participants. Do not talk about procedures you followed ("as a group, we calculated a mean") that have nothing to do with what participants experienced. After reading the procedure section, the reader should know how the participants were treated.

      Due Date: The write-up is due October 31.


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      Research Proposal

      For this project, you will NOT conduct a study. The proposal must be for a study that uses a factorial design (see chapter 12). In addition,

         

      1. at least one of your factors must be a "true" independent variable (one that is randomly assigned).

           

      2. one of your factors must be a moderator variable (see Chapter 3)

           

      3. you should propose and discuss at least three hypotheses (one for each main effect and one for the interaction).


      Begin the Introduction by justifying why the general research area is important. Then, cite specific research to show why your specific study is  important (see Chapter 15). Cite relevant research to show how your research expands on previous research. End your  introduction with your predictions for the main effects and the interaction, a justification for each of your predictions, and a reference to a graph that pictures your predicted effects.
      Your results section should simply describe how you plan to analyze your data. That is, how you will get a score for each participant and what statistical test you will use to analyze your data. Often, this section will only be two sentences long.
      The discussion should start "If the results are as predicted," and then go on to review Proposals that strictly adhere to APA format (see checklist in Appendix A), seem to be well thought out, and make a convincing case for the value of doing the proposed research will get high grades.
      The paper must contain abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, and reference sections, as well as a title page.
      Length: The paper should be between 7-10 pages long. The introduction should be at least one and half pages long and the discussion should be at least a page long.
      Due Date: A rough draft is due by the beginning of our November 16 class meeting. You can--and should-- turn it in before then. The proposal is due by the beginning of class on December 7.

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      Exams


      Exams will be primarily multiple-choice, although there may be some short answer items. They will cover both text and lecture.


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      Quizzes


      Online quizzes will be multiple-choice and worth 10 points each.  You are allowed to take quizzes more than once.  You will receive your most recent score.

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      Class Participation


      Class participation will be based mostly on your i>clicker performance and on completing the assigned exercises. For some of these exercises, you will be given the full number of points provided that you are present and appear to be trying. In other cases, you will be graded on the quality of your work. Some exercises involve doing assigned homework problems. Some exercises may involve group work. Other exercises may include presenting a research hypothesis to the class, reporting on an article, and participating in a debate.

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      Scheduled Sessions


      Scheduled Session 1: August 29

      Plan for the Session

      • Review syllabus
      • Discuss course goals and value of the course
      • Exercise: Scope and limits of science
      • Exercise: Inferences, objectivity, and science.
      • Introduce concept of operational definitions
      • Learn about scripts
      • Develop a research methods script

      Assignments Due This Session

      • None

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 1



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      Scheduled Session 2: August 31

      Plan for the Session

      • We will discuss the relevance of science to psychology. More specifically, we will discuss the advantages of applying the scientific method to studying behavior.

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 1

      Assignments Due This Session

      • Read Chapter 1.
      • Turn in pretest.


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      Scheduled Session 3: September 5

      Plan for the Session

      • We will examine the implications of research for clinical practice and the conflicts between science and practice.

      Assignments Due This Session

      • Read Chapter 2.

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 2



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      Scheduled Session 4: September 7

      Plan for the Session

      • Review Chapter 2

      Assignments Due This Session

      • Chapter 1 Exercises: 5, 7, and 10

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 2



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      Scheduled Session 5: September 12

      Plan for the Session

      • Read Chapter 3

      Assignments Due This Session

      • Chapter 2 Exercises: 1, 2, 4, and 7

       

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 3


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    Scheduled Session 6: September 14

    Plan for the Session

    • Small group discussion of ideas
    • Presentation of research hypotheses

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Turn in a typed, research hypothesis. Your hypothesis must include a moderator variable. If you are not pleased with your hypothesis, submit 3 hypotheses. In other words, quantity can compensate for quality.
    • Turn in Handout 3.4

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 3



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    Scheduled Session 7: September 19 Plan for the Session

    • Presentation: How to modify a published study.

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Read Chapter 4
    • Turn in an abstract of an article that you find interesting. Explain why you find it interesting.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 4



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    Scheduled Session 8: September 21

    Plan for the Session

    Discussion of Reliability

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Read Chapter 5
    • Do Chapter 5 Exercises: 1, 2, 3, and 4

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 5



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    Scheduled Session 9: September 26

    Plan for the Session

    • Presentation on Construct Validity

    Assignments Due This Session

    • None

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 5



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    Scheduled Session 10: September 28

    Plan for the Session

    • Presentation and Exercises: Validating a Measure

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Chapter 5 Exercises: 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 5



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    Scheduled Session 11: October 3

    Plan for the Session

     

    • Presentation: Choosing the best measure for your study.

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Read Chapter 6

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 6


    Study sheets
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    Scheduled Session 12: October 5

    Plan for the Session

    • Take Exam 1 (It cover lectures and Chapters 1-6).

    Assignments Due This Session

    • None

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    Scheduled Session 13: October 10

    Plan for the Session

    1. Review Exam 1
    2. Presentation: "Threats to Internal Validity"

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Read Chapter 9

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 9




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    Scheduled Session 14: October 12

    Plan for the Session

    • We will design a simple experiment in class.

    Assignments Due This Session

    1. Turn in a question based on the White article. The key is to use a different opinion question than the original authors used. Your question must be typed.
    2. Turn in a one-page, typed set of instructions that White might have given his researchers. To develop those instructions, read the "General Method" section, as well as the other Method sections. Your instructions would include detailed advice about
      1. Who to approach
      2. What the researcher should say when approaching a participant
      3. How to deal with questions
      4. What to say to the participant at the end of the interaction
      5. Important rules that the researcher must follow
    3. Read Chapter 10

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 10



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    Scheduled Session 15: October 17

    Plan for the Session

    • Review the elements of a simple experiment

     

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 10


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    Scheduled Session 16: October 19

    Plan for the Session

    1. Review of the t test
    2. Analyze the data collected from the field experiment.

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Run participants and bring data to class.
    • Do Chapter 10 Exercises: 7, 8, 9, and 10.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 10


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    Scheduled Session 17: October 24

    Plan for the Session

    1. In class exercise to review statistics of the simple experiment
    2. Finish discussing simple experiment

    Assignments Due This Session

    1. Read Chapter 11
    2. Do Chapter 11 exercises 1, 4, & 7

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 11



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    Scheduled Session 18: October 26

    Plan for the Session

     

    1. Participate in a multiple-group study.
    2. I will explain ANOVA.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 11



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    Scheduled Session 19: October 31

    Plan for the Session

    • Interpret data from a multiple-group experiment
    • You will orally present your description of a study (see "Assignments Due This Session").

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Turn in Field Experiment report!
    • Either summarize or propose an experiment that uses at least 3 levels of an independent variable. Explain why, in the study you describe, using multiple levels is better than using 2 levels. This summary is to be typed and handed in during class. Time permitting, you will also orally present your summary.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 11



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    Scheduled Session 20: November 2

    Plan for the Session

  • Take Exam 2 over chapters 9, 10, and 11.


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Scheduled Session 21: November 7

Plan for the Session

  1. We will review Exam 2.
  2. We will discuss the article handed out last time.
  3. I will give a brief overview of the 2 X 2 design.

Assignments Due This Session

  1. Read article handed out last time
  2. Hand in title page of your research proposal. Title page must be
    1. Typed in APA style
    2. Include the names of your two predictors and your dependent measure

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 12



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Scheduled Session 22: November 9

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

  1. Bring in a definition of interaction (in your own words) .
  2. Do Exercises 1 and 5.

 

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 12


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Scheduled Session 23: November 14

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 12


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Scheduled Session 24: November 16

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

  1. Read Chapter 13
  2. Exercises 1, 2, 3, & 5 .
  3. Turn in
    1. a copy of the Abstract of a psychological journal (not a magazine!) article relating to your research proposal
    2. a brief statement about how this article relates to your research proposal
    3. a Reference page in APA style that lists this article as a reference.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 13


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    Scheduled Session 25: November 28

    Plan for the Session

    • You will present a summary and critical evaluation of a study, as well as a proposal for a systematic or conceptual replication of that study.

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Re-read Chapter 4 and Appendix C.
    • You will orally present both a summary of the article you turned in last time as well as your suggestion for a systematic or conceptual replication of the study.
    • In addition, you will turn in a typed evaluation of the article based on the check sheet in Appendix C.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 4


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    Scheduled Session 26: November 30

    Plan for the Session

    • Take Exam 3

    Assignments Due This Session


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    Scheduled Session 27: December 5

    Plan for the Session

    • We will review Exam 3.
    • We will review interactions.

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Read Chapter 7.
    • Do problems 1-4 & 7.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 7


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    Scheduled Session 28: December 7

    Plan for the Session

    • We will review for the final.
    • We will discuss the limitations of correlational research and ways of analyzing data from correlational studies.

    Assignments Due This Session

    • Turn in research proposal.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 15


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    Course Calendar
    Month Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
    August/September 28 29 30 31 1
    September 4 5 6 7 8
    September 11 12 13 14 15
    September 18 19 20 21 22
    September 25 26 27 28 29
    October 2 3 4 5 6
    October 9 10 11 12 13
    October 16 17 18 19 20
    October 23 24 25 26 27
    October/Nov 30 31 1 2 3
    November 6 7 8 9 10
    November 13 14 15 16 17
    November 20 21 22 23 24
    November/Dec 27 28 29 30 1
    December 4 5 6 7 8
    This schedule may be updated weekly.

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    Mark L. Mitchell
    217 Harvey Hall
    (814)393-2389
    e-mail address: mitchell@clarion.edu