Course Syllabus for "PSYCH202A: Research Methods"
This Research Methods course is part one of the two-part Research Methods series, which also includes the Research Methods Lab course. Research is the foundation on which any solid science is built. This course will introduce you to research methodologies frequently used in the social sciences and especially those used in the field of psychology. It is important that you are able to not only identify the techniques used by others but also employ them yourself. The course is designed to provide you with the foundation you will need to apply certain techniques in the search for your own answers. The course will begin with an overview of how research, and its appropriate methodology, came about in science and, more specifically, psychology. We will then go over the ABCs of conducting research, learning how to define “variables” and why they are important. While this course will also touch upon statistics and their importance, it will not require a comprehensive knowledge of the subject. The course will conclude with a section on experiment results and the ways in which experimental design and statistics can be used to ensure certain results. By the end of this course, you should understand why research methodology is important in scientific research, be comfortable reading method and results sections of journal articles, and understand a range of different research methods (as well as when to employ each).
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Define science and list the key features of science.
- Apply the key features of science to the discipline of psychology.
- Describe the parts of a psychology research report.
- Explain how psychology research ethics guidelines developed.
- List the key ethical guidelines governing psychology research.
- Define reliability and validity for research measures.
- List and define the three primary research designs used for psychology research.
- Identify the appropriate statistical analysis for each of the three primary research designs.
In order to take this course you must:
√ Have access to a computer.
√ Have continuous broadband Internet access.
√ Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
√ Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
√ Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
√ Be competent in the English language.
√ Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.
√ Have completed PSYCH201/MA121: Introduction to Statistics.
Welcome to PSYCH202A. General information on the course and its requirements can be found below.
Peer Review Implementer: Will Langston
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following:
- Cornell University: Professor William Trochim’s “Research Methods Knowledge Base”
- Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “AllPsych Online”
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. Units 1 to 4 lay the foundation for the design and analysis units (5–6) that are the heart of research methods. You will also need to complete the following:
- Unit 1 assessment
- Unit 2 application
- Unit 3 assessment
- Unit 4 assessment
- Unit 5 assessment
- Unit 6 assessment
Some subunits also have quizzes built into the materials. Completing these quizzes will improve your understanding and long-term retention of the material in the course. Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the assessments and applications listed above.
In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 67 hours to complete. Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit and then set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you 10 hours. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunits 1.1 (2 hours) on Monday night, half of subunit 1.2 (a total of 2 hours) on Tuesday night, and so forth.