Research Methods
Fall 2004


This information was last updated on August 27, 2004.

This page is designed to provide information related to Dr. Mitchell's Research Methods course. Please check this page often, as it might be updated frequently.


You can contact Dr. Mitchell using the following e-mail address:

mitchell@clarion.edu


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Class Meetings

1, August 31, Introduction to the Course
2, September 2, What is science?
3, September 7, Psychological Science & Clinical practice
4, September 9, Science and Everyday Life
5, September 14, Generating Research Ideas I
6, September 16, Presenting Research Ideas
7, September 21. Generating Research Ideas from Reading Literature
8, September 23, Reliability
9, September 28, Introduction to Construct Validity
10, September 30, Construct Validity
11, October 5, Selecting the Right Measure for your Study
12, October 7, Exam 1
13, October 12, Introduction to Internal Validity
14, October 14, Designing a Simple Experiment
15, October 19, Fundamentals of Experimental Design
16, October 26, Introduction to Data Analysis
17, October 28, Data Analysis II
18, November 2, ANOVA
19, November 4, Advantages of Using More than Two Levels of an IV
20, November 9, Exam 2
21, November 11, Introduction to Factorial Designs
22, November 16, Interactions
23, November 18, Review of Factorial Designs
24, November 23, Within-Subjects Designs
25, November 30, Critiquing Research
26, December 2, Exam 3
27, December 4, Review of Factorial Designs
28, December 7, Review of Correlational Methods
29, December 9, Presentation of Research Proposals

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General Information

Course Objectives
Instructor
Books, Software
Grading
Overview of Projects
Obtaining/Reporting Materials

Projects, Exams, Quizzes, and Exercises


Field Experiment
Research Proposal
Exams
Quizzes
Exercises

General Information


Course Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to critically examine claims made about human behavior--whether these claims are made by talk-show "experts," journalists, or behavioral scientists. More specifically, after completing this course, you should be able to

  1. Explain why psychology is a science in a manner that would convince both an average person and a physics major.

  2. Evaluate research on the basis of its construct validity, internal validity, external validity, statistical validity, and conformity to APA's ethical principles.

  3. Conduct a literature review on a topic in psychology.

  4. Design, conduct, and analyze the results of a survey.

  5. Design and analyze the results of factorial experiments.

  6. Write a research proposal that conforms to APA style and format.

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Instructor

Dr. Mitchell is the proud father of Moriah Mae Mitchell.

Phone: 393-2389

E-mail address: mitchell@clarion.edu
Office: 217 Harvey Hall

Office hours: Monday 1:00-3:00; Wednesday 1:00-3:00; Friday 1:00-2:00; and by appointment.

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Books, Software

The text is

Mitchell, M. L. & Jolley, J. M. (2004). Research design explained (5th ed.).

Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

I also strongly recommend that you purchase either the APA publication manual or

Mitchell, M. L. , Jolley, J. M. , & O'Shea, R. P. (2004). Writing for psychology.

Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

In addition, freeware will be available in the psychology computer lab as well as on the internet.

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Grading

Much of the grade in this course is based on your performance on objective exams (seven 10-point quizzes, one 80-point exam, two 100-point exams, and the 200-point final exam).

In addition to these objective items, your grade will be based on my evaluation of two projects: the field experiment, and the research proposal --100 points each), and your performance on lab and class assignments (70 points).

Approximate cut-offs for each grade are

90-100% A

80-89% B

70-79% C

60-69% D

0- 59% E

The course requires at least as much work as a four-credit course (remember, this is a four-credit course, not a three-credit course). The workload is heavy, but you are often allowed to correct your mistakes.

Note that each time you miss lab or fail to complete an assignment, you will be docked one letter grade.

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Overview of Projects

There are two main projects:

The Field Experiment Project

The Research Proposal

Along the way, there will be additional, smaller projects (library search tasks, APA style assignments, etc.) that should help you in accomplishing these larger projects.

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Obtaining/Reporting Materials

Your text is all you really need. However, we will take advantage of the Internet and a variety of computerized instructional materials. Thus, you will be able to use the Web to view documents and to download tutorials.

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Assignments, Exams, Homework, Quizzes


Field Experiment

You are expected to help design, conduct, and analyze the field experiment. Failure to do so will result in reducing your final grade by an entire letter grade.
In addition, you are to write up an APA style report of the experiment.
This write-up must be your own work.
Copying from other students is not acceptable.
The report must include a title page, a method section, a results section, and a reference section. The report does not need to have an abstract, introduction, or discussion section.
Important note about the reference section: The reference section will probably include only one reference, a reference to the White article that we used as a model for this study. The key is to put the reference in APA style. It seems easy, but, in the past, very few students have been able to do it correctly. For example, it is not unusual for students to get 3 out of 10 points on the reference section.

Purposes:

  1. To show that you know APA style.
    Knowing APA style is a goal of this course and will be important for your next two write-ups (the scale project and the research proposal). You will also be expected to write papers in APA style for other psychology courses at Clarion. Even if you do not go on to graduate school, the ability to write a report that looks professional and does not waste words (two hallmarks of APA style) should serve you well.
  2. To develop a better understanding of how articles are organized.
    Once you understand what should be included in each section of the paper, you should have an easier time understanding articles that you read.
  3. To show that you can apply some of the knowledge from Chapter 9 to this study.
    So please, do not confuse an independent variable for a dependent variable, random assignment with random sampling (if you're not sure about the distinction, try this
    tutorial), control group with experimental group, or the value of "t" with the "p" level. Finally, do not misinterpret null results (review Table 9-2).

    Length: It should be about 4 pages long, although a paper with a perfect score could be as short as 3 pages or as long as 6 pages. Most papers will be 5 to 6 pages long.

    Helpful Hints:

    1. You will be graded primarily on conforming to APA style. Therefore, you should consult the Chapter 14 tutorial. In addition, I would suggest looking at the sample paper (Appendix C), as well as reading Chapter 14 (at the very least, use the checklist at the end of Chapter 14).
    2. The instructions the protocol team had you copy down may be useful in writing the method section. Also, in writing the procedure section, discuss what happened to participants. Do not talk about procedures you followed ("as a group, we calculated a mean") that have nothing to do with what participants experienced. After reading the procedure section, the reader should know how the participants were treated.

    Due Date: The write-up is due November 2.


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    Research Proposal

    For this project, you will NOT conduct a study. Instead, you will write a proposal. Ideally, this proposal is for work you might carry out next semester with a faculty adviser--but that is up to you and the faculty member.
    The proposal mustbe for a study that uses a factorial design (see chapter 8) and at least one of your factors must be a "true" independent variable. More specifically, you must randomly assign individuals to different levels of that variable.
    In addition, you must hypothesize an interaction. Put another way, one of the variables in your design should be a moderator variable (see Chapter 2). Put yet another way, you will have at three hypotheses to discuss (one for each main effect and one for the interaction).
    You are strongly encouraged to meet with me individually to discuss your research idea.
    Your introduction should begin with a justificiation of why your research is important (see Chapter 14). For example, you are encouraged to explain how your research expands on previous research. Do not forget to cite relevant research and to cite studies that back up the claims you make. The introduction must end with your predictions for the main effects and the interaction, a justification for each of your predictions, and a reference to a graph that pictures your predicted effects.
    Your results section should simply describe how you plan to analyze your data. That is, how you will get a score for each participant and what statistical test you will use to analyze your data. Often, this section will only be two sentences long.
    The discussion should start "If the results are as predicted," and then go on to review your predictions for the two main effects and the interaction. The latter part of the introduction should emphasize future research that could be done and implications of the research.
    Proposals that strictly adhere to APA format (see checklist in Chapter 14), seem to be well thought out, and make a convincing case for the value of doing the research will get high grades.
    The paper must contain abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, and reference sections, as well as a title page.
    Length: The paper should be between 7-10 pages long. The introduction should be at least one and half pages long and the discussion should be at least a page long.
    Due Date: The proposal is due by the beginning of class on December 9.

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    Exams


    Exams will be primarily multiple-choice, although there may be some short answer items. They will cover both text and lecture.
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    Quizzes


    Quizzes will be worth 10 points each. Most items will be multiple-choice. If you do poorly on a quiz, you will usually be allowed to take a make-up quiz. You will receive the higher of your two scores.
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    Exercises


    Exercises are designed to encourage active participation. For some of these exercises, you will be given the full number of points provided that you are present and appear to be trying. In other cases,you will be graded on the quality of your work. Some exercises may involve group work. Exercises might include presenting a research hypothesis to the class, reporting on an article, participating in a debate, and writing a lab report.
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    Scheduled Sessions


    Scheduled Session 1: August 31

    Plan for the Session

    Assignments Due This Session

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 1



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    Scheduled Session 2: September 2

    Plan for the Session

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 1



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    Scheduled Session 3: September 7

    Plan for the Session

    Assignments Due This Session

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 1



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    Scheduled Session 4: September 9

    Plan for the Session

    Assignments Due This Session

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 1



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    Scheduled Session 5: September 14

    Plan for the Session

    Assignments Due This Session

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 2


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Scheduled Session 6: September 16

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 2



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Scheduled Session 7: September 21

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 2



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Scheduled Session 8: September 23

Plan for the Session

  1. Take Quiz 2A (covers Chapter 4)
  2. Presentation: Reliability

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 4



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Scheduled Session 9: September 28

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 4



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Scheduled Session 10: September 30

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 4



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Scheduled Session 11: October 5

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 5


Study sheets
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Scheduled Session 12: October 7

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session


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Scheduled Session 13: October 12

Plan for the Session

  1. Review Exam 1
  2. Presentation: "Threats to Internal Validity"

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 8




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Scheduled Session 14: October 14

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

  1. Turn in a question based on the White article. The key is to use a different opinion question than the original authors used. Your question must be typed.
  2. Turn in a one-page, typed set of instructions that White might have given his researchers. To develop those intstructions, read the "General Method" section, as well as the other Method sections. Your instructions would include detailed advice about
    1. Who to approach
    2. What the researcher should say when approaching a participant
    3. How to deal with questions
    4. What to say to the participant at the end of the interaction
    5. Important rules that the researcher must follow
  3. Read Chapter 9

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 9



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Scheduled Session 15: October 19

Plan for the Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 9


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Scheduled Session 16: October 21

Plan for the Session

  1. Take Quiz 5A (over chapter 9, pages 264-285)
  2. Analyze the data collected from the field experiment.

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 9


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Scheduled Session 17: October 26

Plan for the Session

  1. In class exercise reviewing statistics of the simple experiment
  2. Brief lecture on the t test
  3. Take Quiz 5B (over chapter 9)

Assignments Due This Session

  1. Read Chapter 10
  2. Do Chapter 10 exercises 1, 4, & 7

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 10



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Scheduled Session 18: October 28

Plan for the Session

  1. Take Quiz 6A (over Chapter 10)
  2. Participate in a multiple-group study.
  3. I will explain ANOVA.

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 10



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Scheduled Session 19: November 2

Plan for the Session

Assignments Due This Session

Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 10



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Scheduled Session 20:November 4

Plan for the Session

  • Take Exam 2 over chapters 3, 8, 9, and 10.
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    Scheduled Session 21: November 9

    Plan for the Session

    1. We will review Exam 2.
    2. We will discuss the article handed out last time.
    3. I will give a brief overview of the 2 X 2 design.

    Assignments Due This Session

    1. Read article handed out last time
    2. Hand in title page of your research proposal. Title page must be
      1. Typed in APA style
      2. Include the names of your two predictors and your dependent measure

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 11



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    Scheduled Session 22: November11

    Plan for the Session

    Assignments Due This Session

    1. Bring in a definition of interaction (in your own words) .
    2. Do Exercises 1 and 5 on page 367.

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 11


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    Scheduled Session 23: November 16

    Plan for the Session

    Assignments Due This Session

    Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 11


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    Scheduled Session 24: November 18

    Plan for the Session

    Assignments Due This Session

    1. Read Chapter 12
    2. Exercises 1,3, & 5 on page 405.
    3. Turn in
      1. a copy of the Abstract of a psychological journal (not a magazine!) article relating to your research proposal
      2. a brief statement about how this article relates to your research proposal
      3. a Reference page in APA style that lists this article as a reference.

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 12


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      Scheduled Session 25: November 23

      Plan for the Session

      • Take Quiz 7B (over chapter 12).
      • You will present a summary and critical evaluation of a study, as well as a proposal for a systematic or conceptual replication of that study.

      Assignments Due This Session

      • Read Chapter 3.
      • You will orally present both a summary of the article you turned in last time as well as your suggestion for a systematic or conceptual replication of the study.
      • In addition, you will turn in a typed evaluation of the article based on the checksheet in Box 3-1.

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 3


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      Scheduled Session 26: November 30

      Plan for the Session

      • Take Exam 3

      Assignments Due This Session


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      Scheduled Session 27: December 2

      Plan for the Session

      • We will review Exam 3.
      • We will review interactions.

      Assignments Due This Session

      • Read Chapter 6.
      • Do problems 1-4 & 7.

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 6


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      Scheduled Session 28: December 7

      Plan for the Session

      • We will review for the final.
      • We will discuss the limitations of correlational research and ways of analyzing data from correlational studies.
      • You may be asked to present a summary of your research proposals.

      Assignments Due This Session

      • Turn in research proposal.

      Downloadable Materials and Valuable Links for Chapter 14


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      Scheduled Session 29: December 9

      Plan for the Session

      • Present a short (5-10 minute) oral summary of your research proposal
      • Turn in your research proposal.

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      Course Calendar




      Month M Tu W Th F
      Aug/Sep: 30 31 1 2 3
      September: 6 7 8 9 10
      September : 13 14 15 16 17
      September : 20 21 22 23 24
      Sep/Oct : 27 28 29 30 1
      October : 4 5 6 7 8
      October : 11 12 13 14 15
      October : 18 19 20 21 22
      October : 25 26 27 28 29
      November : 1 2 3 4 5
      November : 8 9 10 11 12
      November : 15 16 17 18 19
      November : 22 23 24 25 26
      Nov/Dec : 29 30 1 2 3
      December : 6 7 8 9 10

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      Mark L. Mitchell
      217 Harvey Hall
      (814)393-2389
      e-mail address: mitchell@clarion.edu


      This page is at:
      http://psy1.clarion.edu/mm/RDE_Syllabus/NewSyllabus.html