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Psy 280: Research Methods

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Class is cancelled Tuesday, 11/23. Enjoy the holiday.

If you heard about the latest poll results about white Americans and perceptions of discrmination, you might find this post relevant.

For those of you who are intrigued, click here to read a description of the recent retraction of school children and nutrition research.

Those of you who are intrigued by data science discussions might find this article interesting.

Click here to see a Pew Research Center description of random sampling.

Click here to read a recent critique of a survey of college students and free speech.

Click here to read a recent discussion of the ethics of going undercover to investigate the "Alt Right".

Click here if you would like to read the "blog" summary of gender bias within STEM fields.

Click here if you would to read the article cited by the blog author.

For those of you who might be intrigued, here is one (of many) columns about the potential problems with the Netlfix series, Thirteen Reasons Why.

Class will meet Tuesdays, Thursdays, 10:10 - 11:50 am in Stevenson 2091.

Course Goal:

Upon completing this course, students should be able to understand and critically evaluate major research methods in psychology and the social sciences.

Course Objectives:

  • Articulate the value of empirical social science research.
  • Explain different research methods used by psychologists and other social scientists.
  • Describe how various research designs address different types of questions and hypotheses.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of conclusions derived from empirical research. " Interpret basic statistical conclusions.
  • Distinguish between statistical significance and practical significance.
  • Evaluate the validity of conclusions presented in research reports.
  • Recognize that theoretical and sociocultural contexts as well as personal biases may shape research questions, design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Generalize research conclusions appropriately based on the limitations of particular research methods.
  • Recognize the limitations of applying normative conclusions to individuals.
  • Acknowledge that research results may have unanticipated societal consequences.
  • Recognize that individual differences and sociocultural contexts may influence the applicability of research findings.

Recommended Text:

Stangor, C. (2007). Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing or Pelham, B. & Blanton, H. (2016). Conducting Research in Psychology: Measuring the Weight of Smoke. Cengage Publishing.

(Please do not pay full price for any edition of either book.)

Other resources:


Heather Smith, Ph.D.
Psychology Department
Stevenson 3089

Course assignments:
Research review paper
Three questions assignment
Project 1
Project 2
Project 3

Helpful information:
Guide to APA reference format
Sample APA style paper