Research Methods in Psychology
|Instructor||Patrick E. McKnight, Ph.D.|
|Office||David King 2064/2065|
|Office Hours||Tues/Thurs 9:30am-10:30am and by appointment|
|Class Location||Enterprise 175|
|Class Date/Time||Tuesday/Thursday 1:30pm-2:20pm|
|Course syllabus||PDF version|
|Important Dates||Please see GMU academic calendar|
- Shaughnessy, J.J., Zechmeister, E.B., & Zechmeister, J.S. (2009). Research Methods in Psychology (8th edition). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
- Dunn, D. (2008). A Short Guide to Writing About Psychology (2nd edition). Boston: Longman.
- Publication Manual for the American Psychological Association (5th edition).
Course Overview: PSYC 301 offers an introduction to research methods in psychology. The course covers general research issues as well as specific descriptive, experimental, and applied research methods. For both beneral and specific topics, you will learn their respective strengths and weaknesses, data collection and analysis methods, and interpretation of results. Students develop skills in critically evaluating research studies and learn to apply these tools in their own future research interests.
Course Format: The course meets twice each week for lecture. During those lectures, I will cover the material in the text as outlined below. Each week you will also be required to attend a lab where you will learn how to conduct the procedures discussed in the lecture that week. Please be sure that you are enrolled in a PSYC 301 lab section.
Exams (40% of your final grade): Every week, a 10–20 question exam will be administered online at this website. Use your G number (i.e,. G123456789) as your username and your Last Name (how you would normally spell it) as your password. Each week’s exam will have new questions as well as some old questions from previous weeks. By re-administering the questions, I give you ample opportunity to learn the material and correct mistakes from previous exams. I post scores at the end of each week so you may see how you are performing. Please refer to the course website listed above for specifics about the location and timing of the exams. In total, there will be at least 13 exams - perhaps more if time permits. I base your grade on the 10 highest exam scores. The exams cover material from the book, lecture and lab so it is in your best interest to read the book and to pay attention in the lecture and lab. . You may use a calculator, SPSS, computer, book, or any other supporting material you desire, however, you may not use a friend, parent, or any other person to assist you during the exams. I track everything on the exam site so please comply with the GMU honor code. GIVEN THE LIBERAL POLICY THERE WILL BE NO MAKEUP EXAMS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Lab Assignments (40% of your final grade): You must be enrolled in a PSYC 301 lab section and attend that section that you are enrolled. We designed the lab to provide you with hands-on experience with research methods and expose you to some classic research studies. The department considers the lab to be a writing intensive part of the course so expect multiple writing assignments. Please consult your lab section syllabus for more details.
Experimental Participation (20% of your final grade): One of the best ways for you to understand research is to participate. Direct exposure to experimental research also prepares you to conduct research of your own, interact with faculty members, and understand the nature of social scientific inquiry. A total of 3 hours of experimental credit (or the hour equivalent for those who opt out of direct participation and wish to attend the experimental lectures) are required to satisfy this portion of your grade. Please see this website for more details. PLEASE DO NOT DELAY SIGNING UP FOR THE EXPERIMENTS IF YOU INTEND TO PARTICIPATE.
Successful completion of the experimental participation includes not only direct participation but also completing a written assignment (due at the end of the last lecture) where you a) identify the study, b) briefly describe what you did, and c) comment on the mechanics (e.g., how the study was conducted) and methods (e.g., were the methods sound?) in one page. The written assignment is worth half - 10% - of your final lab grade.
Grading: Letter grades will be assigned according to standard cut scores (A: > 90; B: > 80; C: > 70; D: > 60; F: < 60). If your score falls on the high side of the range, I will assign you a “+” and similarly, if your grade falls on the extreme low-end, I will assign you a “-” with the grade.
Cheating and the Honor Code: I expect all students to abide by the GMU Honor Code whereby “Student members of the George Mason University community pledge not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, or lie in matters related to academic work. Specifically, I expect all exams and assignments to be individual efforts unless otherwise noted in writing. GMU honor code violations can result in failure of an assignment or exam, depending on the severity of violation. I report all violations to the Honor Committee without exception.
Disability Accomodations: If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 703–993–2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through that office. Note that this provision includes the range of disabilities, including physical, psychiatric, and learning disabilities.
Tentative Schedule: The following is an ordered list of the topics I intend to cover, the associated readings with each topic, and the approximate date I intend to cover the material. Readings are abbreviated with ``c’‘ that stand for chapter followed by a number - the chapter number I intend to discuss - and occasionally followed by page numbers when the entire chapter may not be suitable. The chapters can be found in the primary text by Shaughnessy, Zechmeister, and Zechmeister.
|1/23||Exam 1 begins|
|1/26||Exam 1 ends|
|1/29||Scientific Method / Ethics||c3|
|1/30||Exam 2 begins|
|2/2||Exam 2 ends|
|2/6||Exam 3 begins|
|2/9||Exam 3 ends|
|2/13||Exam 4 begins|
|2/16||Exam 4 ends|
|2/17||Survey Research||c5,c12(pp.389 and pp.400—408)|
|2/20||Exam 5 begins|
|2/23||Exam 5 ends|
|2/27||Exam 6 begins|
|3/2||Exam 6 ends|
|3/3||Independent Group Designs||c7,c12(pp.375—388)|
|3/5||Independent Group Designs|
|3/6||Exam 7 begins|
|3/16||Exam 7 ends|
|3/17||Independent Group Designs|
|3/19||Repeated Measures Designs||c8,c13(pp.439—442)|
|3/20||Exam 8 begins|
|3/23||Exam 8 ends|
|3/24||Repeated Measures Designs|
|3/26||Repeated Measures Designs|
|3/27||Exam 9 begins|
|3/30||Exam 9 ends|
|3/31||Complex Designs||c9,c13(pp.444—447 and pp.452—454)|
|4/3||Exam 10 begins|
|4/6||Exam 10 ends|
|4/10||Exam 11 begins|
|4/13||Exam 11 ends|
|4/17||Exam 12 begins|
|4/20||Exam 12 ends|
|4/24||Exam 13 begins|
|4/27||Exam 13 ends|
|5/1||Exam 14 begins|
|5/4||Exam 14 ends|
|5/5||FINAL EXAM begins|
|5/7||FINAL EXAM ends|
Book Lecture Notes
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
- Chapter 13
As promised, I post the exam results each week. Each week the exam results will be sorted according to your G Number and posted below in PDF format. Download the file and look over the exam results. Feel free to send me any questions if you think there are errors in your score.
These results are now rolling so they will be updated weekly. If one or more exams does not show up on the list, please alert me right away. Thanks.