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Psy 280: Research Methods

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Click here to listen to a recent NPR story about the limitations of meta-analyses.

Click here to read New York Times piece about internet polls.

Click here to read an interesting opinion piece from the New York Times.

Class will meet Mondays, Wednesdays, 8:10 - 9:50 am in Stevenson 3036.

Course Goal:

Upon completing this course, students should be able to understand and critically evaluate major research methods in psychology and the social sciences.

Course Objectives:

  • Articulate the value of empirical social science research.
  • Explain different research methods used by psychologists and other social scientists.
  • Describe how various research designs address different types of questions and hypotheses.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of conclusions derived from empirical research. " Interpret basic statistical conclusions.
  • Distinguish between statistical significance and practical significance.
  • Evaluate the validity of conclusions presented in research reports.
  • Recognize that theoretical and sociocultural contexts as well as personal biases may shape research questions, design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Generalize research conclusions appropriately based on the limitations of particular research methods.
  • Recognize the limitations of applying normative conclusions to individuals.
  • Acknowledge that research results may have unanticipated societal consequences.
  • Recognize that individual differences and sociocultural contexts may influence the applicability of research findings.

Recommended Text:

Stangor, C. (2007). Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. (Please do not pay full price for any edition of this book.)

Other resources:


Heather Smith, Ph.D.
Psychology Department
Stevenson 3089

Course assignments:
Research review paper
Three questions assignment
Project 1
Project 2
Project 3

Helpful information:
Guide to APA reference format
Sample APA style paper