Introduction to Psychological Research

Introduction to Psychological Research
Syllabus
Welcome! Most of my psychologist friends agree that one of their most coveted skills is their ability to conduct independent research. Thus, development of these research skills is an extremely important endeavour for anyone thinking of a career in psychology. The lofty importance placed on research skills often creates considerable, but unwarranted, anxiety in students. This course is designed to ease you into the research arena by providing clear explanations and plenty of examples of the many different types of research methods psychologists use. By the end of the course you will undoubtedly enjoy being able to carry out your own “scientific” research project.

Course Details Course Title and Number: Introduction to Psychological Research (PSYC 2250 D01) Credit Hours: 3 Delivery: Online – University of Manitoba’s Learn System Instructor: Tom Harrigan, Ph.D. (Thomas.Harrigan@umanitoba.ca ; tharrigan@rrc.ca) Course descriptionThe University of Manitoba Undergraduate Calendar describes this course as follows:

Examines psychology as a scientific discipline and describes methods of collecting and interpreting psychological data. Required of all majors and normally taken in the second year. Students may not hold credit for both PSYC 2250 (or PSYC 2250) and PSYC 2251 (or PSYC 2250). Prerequisite: a grade of “C” or better in one of the following: PSYC 1200 (or 017.120) or PSYC 1201 (or 017.120), or both PSYC 1211 (or 017.121) and PSYC 1221 (or 017.122), or written consent of department head.

Course goalsEach Unit begins with its own set of objectives that will help you identify the most important components associated with each Unit. There are two broad categories of objectives to be learned in this course: conceptual knowledge and skills. The lists below outline the conceptual knowledge and skills you will obtain during the course.

Conceptual knowledgeUpon completion of this course you should be able to:

  • explain the principal components of the scientific method;
  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various research methodologies;
  • distinguish the experimental design from other research designs;
  • identify, specify, and manipulate various variables used in psychological research; and
  • identify and evaluate ethical concerns in any proposed or current psychological research.

Skill acquisitionUpon completion of this course you should be able to:

  • differentiate between primary and secondary research reports;
  • access the psychological literature by using the University of Manitoba’s computer library system, i.e., PsycINFO/Netdoc;
  • input data into a statistical package (SPSS) and use the statistical package to perform basic graphing and elementary statistics;
  • correctly use the American Psychological Association (APA) format for writing papers and articles; and
  • apply the conceptual knowledge to critically evaluate research literature

Course Materials
Required BookstoreThe following required materials are available for purchase from the University of Manitoba Bookstore. Please order your materials immediately, if you have not already done so.

Textbook

Cozby, P.C., Mar, R.A., & Rawn, C.D. (2020). Methods in behavioural research. Third Canadian Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

Access to e-book and Connect:

REGISTRATION INSTRUCTIONS

 

  1. Go to the Connect course URL: https://connect.mheducation.com/class/t-harrigan-fall-2020
  2. Enter your school email address and complete the brief online registration form that follows.

 

  1. You have three registration options:

 

  • Connect Code: Enter your Connect access code and click REDEEM.
  • Purchase Online: Click BUY IT to use a credit card or PayPal.
  • Temporary Access: Click ACCESS NOW for FREE, two-week access.
  • **Note: most previous students opt for Connect Online Access that includes the eBook

 

Have questions or need help? Call 1-800-331-5094 or visit: https://mhedu.force.com/CXG/s/ContactUs

SPSS Software

You will need to use SPSS software for this course. SPSS is a statistical package that will allow you to analyze data. At the time of completing this syllabus the current version of SPSS being marketed is SPSS-26 or SPSS-27. SPSS can be purchased from the University of Manitoba Book Store via a download at http://umanitoba.ca/campus/bookstore/computers/softwaredownloads.html. Be sure to read below for additional SPSS information.

SPSS is also available on campus in the Psychology Department computer lab, P210 Duff Roblin Building, for student use at scheduled times. It is also available in the Open Area Computer Facilities on campus. The version of SPSS on the computers in the campus computer facilities will likely be an older version of SPSS – that is perfectly okay! Due to Covid-19, this is likely not an option at this time.

Please Note SPSS: There are many different packages/options of SPSS licenses. For this course you will only require the “IBM SPSS Statistics Standard GradPack 26 or 27”. If you want to get a higher version that is perfectly okay too. You will also have the option of buying either a 6-month or 12-month SPSS license. Since SPSS is used more extensively in PSYC 2260 and if you are planning on taking PSYC 2260 via online delivery it might be wise to purchase the 12-month license.

We strongly recommend that you install and test all required software immediately. If you encounter difficulties installing your software contact UM’s technical support team – they are great. The people at IBM SPSS support are good too.

Optional websiteThe textbook publishers have developed online study materials (e.g., exercises and practice questions) for the textbook. You can access these resources through the publishers ‘Connect’ feature. However, there are No formal course marks associate with the ‘Connect’ practice exercises, it is purely a study tool. So if you prefer not to use it – that is okay.

Computer requirementsThis course requires that you have access to a computer with minimum specifications in order to run the statistical package. In recent years there have been no concerns from students about their computers not meeting the minimum standards, so I’m assuming most of your computers can handle SPSS.

From time to time students do have difficulty getting SPSS to run. The most common problems are, a. your computer’s anti-viral software, so you may have to disable until SPSS installs, and b. not having a valid functioning SPSS license. Sometimes the license information is sent in an e-mail that may end up in your “junk” mailbox. So if SPSS is asking for a license, you may want to check there. If you do have problems with the installation of SPSS, please contact the very helpful people at SPSS (an IBM company). They have proven to be a valuable resource in the last few years. And there’s also UM’s technical support team.

Course overviewUnit 1 Introduction to the science of psychology Unit 2 The research process

Unit 3 Ethics in psychology

Unit 4 Observational research designs

Unit 5 Correlational research designs: Surveys, questionnaires, tests, and inventories Unit 6 Experimental research designs

Unit 7 Complex research designs

Unit 8 Single-participant research designs

Unit 9 Quasi experimental research designs

Evaluation and gradingThe knowledge component of this course will comprise about 60% of the grade, and skills components about 40% of the grade. The knowledge component will be evaluated through online, Timed and Graded Assignment Quizzes, and a final exam that is worth 40% of the total course grade. The skills component of the course will also be access by the online, Timed and Graded Assignment Quizzes, and a research paper worth 25% of the total of your final grade.

Distribution of marks

Evaluation Percentage
Knowledge component 20%

40%

Quizzes

Final examination

Skills component 15%

25%

100%

Quizzes

Research paper and poster session

Total

Grading scale

Grade Percentage range
A+ 94 – 100
A 85 – 93.9
B+ 79 – 84.9
B 71 – 78.9
C+ 66 – 70.9
C 60 – 65.9
D 50 – 59.9
F < 49.9

Note: All final grades are subject to departmental review.

Assignments Online Quizzes, Timed and Graded Each of the 9 Units in the course will have a ‘Timed and Graded’ Quiz associated with it. All together these quizzes will account for 35% of your final grade. The weighting of each quiz will vary – so some quizzes may be worth only 1 or 2% of the final grade, others worth 8 or 10%. Details about each quiz can be found within each of the 9 course Units. Research paper and poster sessionA major component of this course is a research paper, worth 25% of your final grade. A research paper is basically a review and assessment of the most current research evidence on any given topic of interest. The skills you acquire completing the course Units and the Timed and Graded quizzes will help you start and complete the research paper. In other words, you will know how to find the most recent psychological research on any topic you choose. You will develop a specific set of hypotheses about the topic, and then design a methodologically sound study to answer your specific hypotheses. You will also be required to present your findings through a specific writing style called APA format.

You will also need to create some fictitious data and analyze it for your study/research paper. The skills you acquire completing the course Units and Timed and Graded quizzes will help you complete this task. In addition, you will present your data in a poster format that could potentially be used at a psychological conference.

You can find an example of a student paper and poster on the course web site.

Assignment due dates

Assignment Sept.  Dec. Jan.  Apr. May  Aug.
Online Timed and Graded Various, don’t fall Various, don’t fall Various, don’t fall
Graded Quizzes behind. behind. behind.
Research Paper November 25 March 25 July 25

Note (1): If you need to write the final exam at a location other than the University of Manitoba Campus, please submit the “Application Form for Examination at a Location Other than the University of Manitoba Campus” immediately. NOTE: This is moot this term due to COVID-19. The Exam will be online and open book.

Note (2): If you are unable to submit an assignment on time, contact your instructor well in advance of the due date, for we cannot guarantee that the instructor will accept late assignments.

ExaminationThe examination is three hours in length, and the questions will sample the entire course. The examination will generally have two components and, depending on the year, may vary in its make-up. The first component generally consists of 90 – 140 multiple-choice questions, each worth one point. The second component generally consists of four to six short-answer questions, each worth five points. The final examination is worth 40% of the final grade. Again, the composition of the exam varies – you will be advised on your exam’s composition well in advance of the exam date.

General guidelines for assignment and exam preparationSome students find that they do very well on the assignments, but they do not do nearly as well on the final examination. While your grades on the assignments will give you some idea of how well you are mastering the material, they may not indicate how well you will do on the examination, because generally the examination is written under very different circumstances and because it is worth much more than the assignments it creates a lot of anxiety. Generally, the assignments are open book and cover only a small amount of course material, as such they do not require the amount of memorization that a typical closed-book or online examination requires. Some students have told us that, based on the high marks they received on the assignments, they were overconfident and underestimated the time and effort needed to prepare for the final examination.

Please keep all this in mind as you prepare for the examination. If your course has a sample exam or practice questions, use them to practice for the examination by setting a time limit and having limited access to notes or books available. Pay careful attention to the description of the type of questions that will be on your final examination. Preparing for multiple-choice questions involves a different type of studying than preparing for essay questions. Do not underestimate the stress involved in writing a time-limited examination.

Plagiarism, cheating, and examination impersonationYou should acquaint yourself with the University’s policy on plagiarism, cheating, and examination impersonation as detailed in the General Academic Regulations and Policy section of the University of Manitoba Undergraduate Calendar. Note: These policies are also located in your Distance and Online Education Student Handbook or you may refer to Student Affairs at http://www.umanitoba.ca/student.

Centre For The Advancement Of Teaching and Learning: Student ResourcesIn your course website there are links for the following:

    • Contact Education Staff at the Centre For The Advancement of Teaching and Learning
    • Student Handbook
    • Online Education Website
    • If you are using a wiki or a UM Learn, explain how to get access and navigate in these technologies. (see the Centre For The Advancement Of Teaching & Learning for details on f2f and online resources).
    • You may link to the Centre‘s instructional videos on accessing and contributing to wikis and blogs at http://intranet.umanitoba.ca/academic_support/Centre for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning/resources/wikis_blogs.html.

Student Accessibility Services

If you are a student with a disability, please contact SAS for academic accommodation supports and services such as note-taking, interpreting, assistive technology and exam accommodations.  Students who have, or think they may have, a disability (e.g. mental illness, learning, medical, hearing, injury-related, visual) are invited to contact SAS to arrange a confidential consultation.

Student Accessibility Services http://umanitoba.ca/student/saa/accessibility/

520 University Centre

204 474 7423

Student_accessibility@umanitoba.ca

Acknowledgements

Content specialist: Tom Harrigan, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology Faculty of Arts

University of Manitoba

Instructional designer: Cheryl McLean, Ph.D.

Distance and Online Education University of Manitoba

Editor: James B. Hartman, Ph.D. Distance and Online Education

University of Manitoba

Wedeveloper: Lorna Allard

Distance and Online Education University of Manitoba

Copyright © Copyright © 2003. Minor Revisions 2020, 2017, 2014, 2012, 2009, 2006, 2005.

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission from the copyright owner.

University of Manitoba, Centre For The Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Introduction to Psychological Research PSYC 2250 Syllabus 7

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