Research Methods (WI)
PSY 361: T/TH 11:00 OMH 219
Instructor: Dr. John Koeppel.
Office: OMH 220I
Phone: (601) 266-5096
HOW YOU CAN FIND ME: If you have a question regarding the course that you cannot get
answered in class, feel free to contact me. On days when class meets, I am usually available
before and after class. You can always contact me by email. You can usually get a quick
response from me when you email. If I can‟t take care of your problem by email, we can make
an appointment to speak in person during office hours- T/TH 9:30-11.
Textbook: Smith, R.A. & Davis, S.F. (2010). The Psychologist as Detective:
Conducting Research in Psychology 5E. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall
Class Website- http://koeppel.pageout.net/. This site will complement our classroom
activities. Course assignments can be found here along with instructions,
grading rubrics, and other helpful information. Your grades will be
available, 24/7, in the confidential Grade book. Register in Pageout as soon
COURSE DESCRIPTION/What are we doing here?
Psychology is based on research, which uses the scientific method. You will learn more than
you probably want to know about science. You will also learn to think like a scientist. And
you will do the things that psychologists do when they are engaged in research. In the words
of a former student: “We learned a lot and did a lot.” Everything you learn and do will be
about science and scientific research.
COURSE GOALS and LEARNING OBJECTIVES
This course is an introduction to the research process in psychology. Simply put, this class is
about how psychologists answer questions about our behavior. You will also begin to think
and act like a research psychologist by performing a literature search, reading and evaluating
articles, finding and fixing the flaws in a research study, and writing at least one empirical
research paper in APA style.
This course is also a part of the General Education Curriculum (GEC) of the University. As a
Writing Intensive class, you are required to write approximately 20 typewritten pages. In
addition, a significant component of the tests will be essay. Student enrolment is limited to 24
by the University Academic Council. You will take tests; write research reports and complete
several shorter mini assignments that will allow me to judge your abilities on the following
“Learning Outcomes” from the General Education Curriculum:
GEC LO Your ability to develop and focus on a topic and present ideas Demonstrated
# 1- in an organized, logical, and coherent form by your
Skill skill on
Your ability to use acceptable English grammar, punctuation, Demonstrated
spelling, and usage. by use of
GEC LO Your ability to demonstrate good knowledge of the scientific Demonstrated
# 3- method. by performance
Scientific on course tests
Your ability to show good understanding of the techniques of Demonstrated
science. by the skill and
GEC LO Your ability to find and cite relevant sources. Demonstrated
# 9- by performance
Critical on the relevant
on the research
Your ability to analyze the components of an argument. Demonstrated
by your ability
to find flaws in
HOW TO DO WELL IN THIS COURSE
Come to class regularly and pay attention. Attendance will not usually be taken, but missing
class means you will miss important material. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to
get notes from a classmate. Read before coming to class, and use the class notes as a study
guide. Go over the notes and read (or better still, reread) the related chapter of the text-
especially the sections related to the notes. Do this after each class. Do not let the material
pile up. Start written assignments early.
COURSE ASSIGNMENTS:/TESTS/GRADES AND ALL THAT STUFF
How do you make a grade in this class? We will read and take tests. You will use what you
learn as you do a major project preceded by a draft version. To help keep you on track on the
projects, there will be several little assignments („mini-assignments”) along with ample
opportunity for asking questions and sharing your progress.
Tests: 300 points
There will be three tests during the term, 100 points each. The final exam will be
comprehensive and will also count for 100 points. Of the four tests, I will count the three
highest test scores. If you miss a test for any reason, it becomes your drop grade and you must
take the final exam. If you have a bad test day, you may want to drop the low test grade and
take the final. Unless otherwise stated, all tests will be in multiple-choice format and will
include an essay component. The tests will include lecture materials, class activities, and the
assigned chapters of the text. Read your text regularly and use the textbook website to study
and prepare for tests. Try this website and complete the Online Study Guide for your own
Mini-Assignments: 100 points
Several brief assignments will develop skills necessary for the major projects (research
project and proposal). These exercises will include, for example, skills in using PsycINFO,
arranging references in APA style, reviewing a journal article, and finding flaws in research
scenarios and correcting them. Some will be done in class; others will be completed out of
class. Some will be done in pairs or groups; others will be completed individually. All
assignments are to be turned in on time. Late papers may result in a loss of 10% of the points
for that assignment for each late day.
Research Project: 200 points
As a class, we will collect data to test a hypothesis and then write a report in APA style
including all sections of a journal article. Everyone will be working on the same project, but
your writing and the work you turn in must be yours.
Draft: You will turn in the following: title page, introduction, method, and references. Write
it as if it is the final copy to make it as good as possible. It must be turned in no later than the
due date on the syllabus. Late papers may be penalized 10% of the points for each late day.
Final Copy: Based on my comments on the draft, revise the draft copy and, in addition,
include the abstract, results (with appropriate table and figure), and discussion. In other
words, the final paper will have a title page, abstract, introduction, method, results,
discussion, and references: Include the original draft with my comments with the final copy.
Instructions and helpful hints for preparing these papers can be found on Pageout. We will
have Help Sessions in class and opportunities for feedback of your paper
Writing Assistance: In addition to the writing help in class, feel free to use the Southern
Miss Writing Center.
The Writing Center
Location: Cook Library in room 112
Phone: (601) 266 – 4821
GRADES: Final grades will be calculated on the 600 possible points.
Add the points you have earned from the tests, projects, and mini-assignments.
Compare your total points to the grade cut-offs: A: 540-600/ B: 480-539/ C: 420-479/ D:
360-419/ F: 359 and below. Add extra points to see if grade is raised.
Category Points Total Points Final Grade
Semester Tests 300 540-600 A
( three highest tests)
Mini Assignments 100 480-539 B
Research Paper Draft 100 420-479 C
Research Paper Final 100 360-419 D
Copy 359 and below F
Incomplete: A grade of “I” is given only for a student who has completed most of the
coursework, but due to extraordinary circumstances is prevented from finishing the class. The
reason must be documented, and both the student and instructor must sign a contract for a
plan removing the “ I.”
WAY TO RAISE YOUR GRADE:
Extra Points- Students can earn up to 10 points that will be helpful in raising borderline
grades. Points can be earned in two ways: research participation and class participation. For
class participation, I will consider your class attendance, contributions to class discussion,
your participation in class activities, making use of Help Sessions for the research project and
overall preparedness in class. Opportunities for research points are listed on Sona . You must
register to be eligible for research points. Go to:http://usm.sona-systems.com/
You can participate in research or earn class participation points or mix them together, but
you cannot earn more than 10 extra points.
Extra points will be added to your total number of points. If you have 710 total points, your
extra points (let‟s say 10) will be added to bring your total points to 720. In this case, your
grade went from a B to A. Extra points are helpful when you have a borderline line.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Disability Assistance: If a student has a disability that qualifies under the American
with Disabilities Act (ADA) and requires accommodations, he/she should contact
the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) for information on appropriate
policies and procedures. Disabilities covered by ADA may include learning,
psychiatric, physical disabilities, or chronic health disorders. Students can contact
ODA if they are not certain whether a medical condition/disability qualifies.
The University of Southern Mississippi
Office for Disability Accommodations
118 College Drive # 8586
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
Voice Telephone: (601) 266-5024 or (228) 214-3232 Fax: (601) 266-6035
Individuals with hearing impairments can contact ODA using the Mississippi Relay
Service at 1-800-582-2233 (TTY) or email Suzy Hebert at Suzanne.Hebert@usm.edu.
Drop Date: Please note that the last day to drop a class without academic penalty is
February 28. The Department of Psychology is firm about adhering to this deadline.
Psychology Grades: Students majoring in psychology must earn a grade of “C” or better in
required courses and psychology electives. Students with a minor in psychology must also
earn a grade of “C” or better in the required minor hours that they take
Tentative Class Schedule---Any changes will be made at the discretion of the instructor
and will be announced in class and posted on Pageout website.
UNIT 1 Finding Scientific Research
Jan 18 Course Preview/ Syllabus CH1
20 Research ideas and ethical issues CH 2
25 Finding Information CH 2
Begin Mini Assignment 1 –See Pageout to
27 The Psychology Experiment CH 5
Feb 1-3 Beyond Experiments: Non experimental CH 3 / 4
Methods Last Day to turn in Mini
Mini Assignment 1 is due 2/3 Assignment 1- Due 2/3
8 Review for Test1
10 TEST 1 Test 1: CH 1-5
15 Begin Mini Assignment 2.
UNIT2 Reading & Evaluating Research
17 Kinds of variables /Controlling Extraneous CH 6
Continue Mini Assignment 2.
22 Experimenter bias/demand characteristics CH 7
24 Finding research flaws: Mini Assignment 3 Mini Assignment 3
Bring to class and we will work on it.
Mar 01 Internal Validity CH 8
03 External Validity CH 8
15 Review Mini Assignment 2 is due
Mini Assignment 2 is due
17 TEST 2 Test 2: CHs 6-8
UNIT 3 The Research Project
Mar22 Begin Research Paper
Mini Assignment 4 on APA Style CH 14
24 Bring the assignment to class and we will Mini Assignment 4
work on it
29 Data Analysis CH 9
31 Data Analysis CH 9
Apr05 Project Check Point: Feedback on Introduction Bring your rough draft and the grading
& Method sections rubric
07 Experiments with one IV CH 10/CH 11
12 Practice research design
14 Test Review/ Research Paper Proposal is Due Research Paper Proposal is Due
19 TEST 3 CH 9,10 &14
21 Begin Final Copy of Research Paper
26 Paper Help Session
28 Work on Paper
May 03 TBA
05 Last Day for Research Paper Research Paper Final Copy
09 Makeup Exam @ 10:45 -----