Loading...

PSYCH202A: Research Methods

Unit 2: The Research Report   The research report is the primary method by which scientists let others know of their research and findings. Psychologists frequently find the report a source of debate—they may disagree with theories and findings it contains and/or their applicability. This unit will familiarize you with different aspects of the research report and enable you to read articles in psychology. Learning the different facets of the research report will prove invaluable when reading other people’s reports and when conducting your own experiments.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 13 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 2.2.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.3: 3.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 2.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.4: 4 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Identify databases that can be used to locate psychology research. - List the parts of a research report. - List the three parts of an introduction section. - List the three parts of a method section. - Generalize from specific results to an ability to describe the “meaningful significance” of results.

2.1 What Has Previous Research Found? Searching Databases and Locating Research Findings   - Reading: Van Guard University of Southern California: Douglas Degelman’s “Literature Search Essentials” and the American Psychological Association’s “Library Research in Psychology” Link: Van Guard University of Southern California: Douglas Degelman’s “Literature Search Essentials” (HTML) and the American Psychological Association’s “Library Research in Psychology” (HTML)

 Instructions: The first part of any research project is finding out
what others have done to address the question that you are asking.
Locating previous research is a valuable skill. Please read these
webpages to learn about researching previous findings and the
process of gathering sources. At the end of this subunit, you should
be able to identify databases that can be used to search for
psychology research. You should also be able to modify your search
terms to narrow the results to help you locate the specific sources
that you wish to find.  

 Reading these webpages should take approximately 2 hours (about 1
hour each).  

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

2.2 The Structure of the Research Report   2.2.1 The Introduction: Stating the Problem   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Key Elements” and Purdue Online Writing Lab’s “Writing the Experimental Report: Overview, Introductions, and Literature Reviews” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Key Elements” (HTML) and Purdue Online Writing Lab’s “Writing the Experimental Report: Overview, Introductions, and Literature Reviews” (HTML)

 Instructions: Research reports in psychology have a characteristic
structure. Part of being able to understand research is knowing how
to read these reports. Please read these webpages to learn the
essential components of a research report and how to write an
introduction. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to list
the parts of a research report and the three main parts of an
introduction section.  

 Reading these webpages should take approximately 1 hour and 30
minutes (about 45 minutes each).  

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

2.2.2 The Method Section: How Would Someone Else Replicate Your Experiment?   - Reading: Hanover College Dr. William Altermatt’s “Method Section” Link: Hanover College Dr. William Altermatt’s “Method Section” (PDF)

 Instructions: Method sections are the “who, what, how” of a
research report. In addition to the technical details of how to
present the material in a method section (details that make it
easier for the reader to find the information that is desired), you
should also understand what goes into the three parts of a method
section. After you click on this link, you will see a number of
readings. Please click on “Method Section” in order to download the
PDF. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to list the
three subparts of a method section and identify the information that
goes into each part.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 1 hour.  

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

2.2.3 The Results and Discussion: What Did You Find and What Does It Mean?   - Reading: Hanover College: Dr. William Altermatt’s “Results and Discussion” Link: Hanover College: Dr. William Altermatt’s “Results and Discussion” (PDF)

 Instructions: The results section is where you report statistical
analyses. The discussion section is where you talk about what the
findings mean (note the relationship between the content of the
discussion section and the material covered in subunit 1.2.5). After
you click on this link, you will see a number of readings. Please
click on “Results & Discussion Sections” in order to download the
PDF. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to generalize
from specific results to interpret the “meaningful significance” of
the results.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 1 hour.  

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

2.3 How to Effectively Read Research Articles   2.3.1 What to Focus On When Reading the Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion Sections   - Reading: Florida International University: Dr. Laurel S. Collins’ “How to Read a Scientific Article” and Course Resources on the Web’s version of Christian Jordan and Mark Zanna’s “How to Read a Journal Article in Social Psychology” Link: Florida International University: Dr. Laurel S. Collins’ “How to Read a Scientific Article” (HTML) and Course Resources on the Web’s version of Christian Jordan and Mark Zanna’s “How to Read a Journal Article in Social Psychology” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the first webpage to learn what to focus
on when reading a scientific article. For the second source, when
you follow the link, you will see a list of resources. Please click
on (or scroll down to) the “Research Resources” section, click on
“How to Read a Journal Article in Social Psychology,” and then read
the article for a review of the sections of a research report and
information on how best to read a research article.  

 Reading these webpages should take approximately 2 hours and 30
minutes (about 30 minutes for the first one and 2 hours for the
second one).  

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

2.3.2 The Terminology Used   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Language of Research” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Language of Research” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read all sections contained in “Language of
Research” for a review of the terminology used in research articles.
At the end of this subunit, you should be familiar with some of the
terminology that you will encounter later in the course. Memorizing
some of these terms will serve you well in the future, but it is
also a good idea to bookmark this page so that you can refer to it
later when you encounter these terms again.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 1 hour.  

 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.

2.4 Activity: Reading Research   - Activity: Reading Research Instructions: Search online for a psychological research report (preferably one that is a “brief report pdf”) in a content area that interests you. Read this research report. This will go a long way in helping you apply what you have learned so far and understand concepts you will need to know in later units.

 Completing his exercise should take approximately 4 hours.