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PSYCH202A: Research Methods

Unit 1: An Introduction to Research   Research is the foundation on which any solid science must be built. It creates an organized and structured way to gain knowledge about a certain “system” (in research, we refer to the system as “the variable”). In this unit, we will explore the scientific method and discuss how it relates to current psychological research. Keep in mind that this unit will serve as a broad introduction that is relevant to all areas of science, including social science and psychology.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 10 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.1.1: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.1.2: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 1.1.3: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 1 hour (4 hours total)

☐    Sub-subunit 1.2.1: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.2.2: 0.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.2.3: 0.25 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.2.4: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.2.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.2.6: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 3 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.1: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.2: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 1.3.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.4: 1 hour

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Define induction and deduction and describe the differences between them. - Define the null and alternative hypotheses. - List the steps in the research process. - Describe the differences among research questions that are too broad, too narrow, and “just right”; define the three types of research questions. - Define independent and dependent variables and describe the relationship between them. - Define statistical significance. - Define science; list the key features of science. - Define pure (basic) and applied research and describe the differences between them. - Describe the different goals of qualitative and quantitative research.

1.1 The Scientific Method   1.1.1 Inductive versus Deductive Reasoning   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Deduction and Induction” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Deduction and Induction” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this webpage in order to understand the
differences between inductive and deductive reasoning. Our goal in
psychology research is to understand and predict behavior. These two
forms of logic (a) make general statements about behavior from the
data that we collect (induction) and (b) use those general
statements to predict future behavior (deduction). At the end of
this reading, you should be able to define induction and deduction
and to describe the differences between them.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.  The Saylor Foundation is grateful
to Professor William Trochim for his kind permission to reference
students to this site.

1.1.2 Hypothesis Testing   - Reading: Cengage Learning’s Statistics Workshop: “Hypothesis Testing” Link: Cengage Learning’s Statistics Workshop: “Hypothesis Testing” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read pages 1 through 5 of this workshop for an
overview of the concept of statistical hypothesis testing. Research
will start with a hypothesis. This is basically your guess about the
relationship between two things (e.g., if people study more, then
they will get better grades). The steps in a research project are to
develop a hypothesis, collect data, and use statistics to evaluate
those data. This subunit will introduce you to the two statistical
hypotheses: (1) nothing happened or (2) something happened. At the
end of this reading, you should be able to define the null and
alternative hypotheses.  

 Completing this workshop should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.1.3 The Scientific Research Process   - Reading: AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “Chapter 1: Introduction to Research” Link: AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “Chapter 1: Introduction to Research” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read section 1.1 of this webpage in order to
gain an understanding of the steps involved when using the
scientific method. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to
list the steps in the research process.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.2 Using the Scientific Method in Research   - Assessment: Empire State College’s “Developing a Research Question: Exercises 1–3” Link: Empire State College’s “Developing a Research Question: Exercises 1–3” (HTML)

 Instructions: Any research project will begin with a question.
However, not all questions are ready to be addressed with research.
Please complete exercises 1–3 of Empire State College’s “Developing
a Research Question” to get a sense of what to think about when
developing a research question. Please ignore the Course Tutor
portion of this material. At the end of this subunit, you should be
able to describe the differences among research questions that are
too broad, too narrow, and “just right,” and you should be able to
formulate your own research questions.  

 Completing his exercise should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.1 How to Define a Problem   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Types of Questions” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Types of Questions” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this webpage to develop an understanding
of how your research question will influence the type of research
design you create. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to
define the three types of research questions.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. The Saylor Foundation is grateful to
Professor William Trochim for his kind permission to reference
students to this site.

1.2.2 The Purpose and Definition of Variables   - Reading: AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “Chapter 1.3: Defining Variables” and “Chapter 7.2: Variables” Link: AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “Chapter 1.3: Defining Variables”(HTML) and “Chapter 7.2: Variables” (HTML)

 Instructions: Variables are what we manipulate to cause behavior
and what we measure to see what we have caused. As such, they are
the heart of the research enterprise. Please read these webpages for
an introduction to variables. At the end of these two readings, you
should be able to define independent, dependent, and extraneous
variables, and you should be able to describe the relationship
between independent and dependent variables.  

 Reading these webpages should take you approximately 45 minutes (30
minutes and 15 minutes, respectively).  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

1.2.3 Developing Hypotheses   - Reading: AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “Chapter 1.4: Developing the Hypothesis” Link: AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “Chapter 1.4: Developing the Hypothesis” (HTML)

 Instructions: Identifying the variables and developing the
hypothesis go hand in hand. Please read this webpage in order to
understand hypothesis development. At the end of this reading, you
should be able to develop an alternative and null hypothesis for
your variables.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.4 Analyzing Results and Significance   - Reading: AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “Chapter 1.8: Analyzing Results” and “Chapter 1.9: Determining Significance” Link: AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s “Chapter 1.8: Analyzing Results” (HTML) and “Chapter 1.9: Determining Significance” (HTML)

 Instructions: After you collect data (research designs for
collecting data are covered in Unit 5), you will use statistics to
analyze the results. Please read these webpages in order to
understand the process of analyzing research results and what it
means to determine significance. At the end of this subunit, you
should be able to define statistical significance.  

 Reading these webpages should take approximately 30 minutes (about
15 minutes each).  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

1.2.5 Applying Conclusions   - Reading: Explorable.com: Martyn Shuttleworth’s “Drawing Conclusions” Link: Explorable.com: Martyn Shuttleworth’s “Drawing Conclusions” (HTML)

 Instructions: Understanding the meaning of research results goes
beyond determining statistical significance. It is also necessary to
think about the “meaningful importance” of the results and to
evaluate the study that was conducted to put the results in context.
Please read this webpage to learn about drawing conclusions from
research. Note that you do not need to click the links embedded in
this source unless you are in need of review or clarification of
that specific material.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.6 The Importance of Replication   - Reading: Explorable.com: Dr. Hani’s “Replication Study” Link: Explorable.com: Dr. Hani’s “Replication Study” (HTML)

 Instructions: Replication is an important part of research. In
addition to verifying the conclusions from prior studies,
replication can help to extend the research to larger populations.
Please read this webpage to learn the purpose of replication.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.3 The Goals of Science   1.3.1 The Search for Answers   - Assessment: Cengage Learning’s workshop: “What is Science?” Link: Cengage Learning’s workshop: “What is Science?” (HTML)

 Instructions: What is science? What are the assumptions that make
science possible? Please complete all portions of this workshop,
including the quiz at the end, to learn the answers to these
questions. Note that you will not need to e-mail your quiz results
to anyone. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to define
science and to list the key features of science.  

 Completing this workshop should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.3.2 Basic versus Applied Research: Why Conduct Applied Research?   - Reading: Explorable.com: Martyn Shuttleworth’s “Purpose of Research” Link: Explorable.com: Martyn Shuttleworth’s “Purpose of Research” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this webpage to understand the underlying
purposes of basic and applied research. Please note that basic
research is referred to here as “pure research.” Note that you do
not need to click the links embedded in this source unless you are
in need of review or clarification of that specific material. After
this subunit, you should be able to define pure (basic) and applied
research.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.3.3 The Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches to Observational Design   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “The Qualitative Debate” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “The Qualitative Debate” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this webpage in order to understand the
differences between qualitative and quantitative designs and also to
understand that any data can be treated quantitatively or
qualitatively. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to
describe the different goals of qualitative and quantitative
research. What motivates researchers choosing qualitative designs?
How would the information from the two types of design be different
even if a researcher had the same research question going in?  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 1 hour and 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. The Saylor Foundation is grateful to
Professor William Trochim for his kind permission to reference
students to this site.

1.4 Assessment: The Scientific Method   - Assessment: McGraw-Hill: Paul C. Cozby’s “Multiple-Choice Test on the Scientific Understanding of Behavior” Link: McGraw-Hill: Paul C. Cozby’s “Multiple-Choice Test on the Scientific Understanding of Behavior” (HTML)

 Instructions: After you have completed Unit 1, please take this
assessment to test your knowledge. Note that some of the items may
refer to specific material that was not covered in this section. You
may use those items to determine how well your knowledge will
generalize to other aspects of the scientific method.  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.