Research Methods (WI)
                            PSY 361: T/TH 11:00 OMH 219
                                     Spring 2011

Instructor:    Dr. John Koeppel.
Office:        OMH 220I

Phone:         (601) 266-5096
E-mail:        John.Koeppel@usm.edu

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
             as possible.

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.

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
Writing                                                                         composition
Skill                                                                           skill on
                                                                                research paper
             Your ability to use acceptable English grammar, punctuation,       Demonstrated
             spelling, and usage.                                               by use of
                                                                                mechanics on
                                                                                research paper
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
                                                                                involved in
                                                                                your empirical
                                                                                research paper.
GEC LO       Your ability to find and cite relevant sources.                    Demonstrated
# 9-                                                                            by performance
Critical                                                                        on the relevant
Thinking                                                                        mini
                                                                                assignment and
                                                                                on the research
             Your ability to analyze the components of an argument.             Demonstrated
                                                                                by your ability
                                                                                to find flaws in
                                                                                research and
                                                                                changes in
                                                                                examples from
                                                                                tests, mini-
                                                                                and the
                                                                                research paper


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.


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
self-assessment: www.prenhall.com/smith/

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
Web: http://www.usm.edu/writingcenter

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.”

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.


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
          Spring Break
    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                             -----

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