Psychology 240:L Group Research Project
A note about plagiarism in group projects: All standards regarding academic integrity
outlined in the syllabus apply to this project. All group members are responsible for the
final paper and should ensure that no text has been plagiarized or otherwise falsified. If a
group’s paper is found to contain plagiarism or other falsification, all group members will
receive the same penalty.
Objectives: In this research project, you will 1) learn how to conduct a literature review
on a social psychological topic, 2) learn how to develop a new research question and
hypotheses 3) learn how to design and conduct your own research study to test your
research question, and 4)you will learn how to present the results of your study in both
written and oral formats.
All of the steps involved in completing the research project will be covered during lab time,
but you will be required to do work outside of lab to complete the project. The following is
an overview of what tasks you will complete in the course of this project (note that these
steps are integrated into the lab schedule, which you can view here):
Step 1: Pick a topic
Decide on your preferred topics from those listed on p. 6-7 of Haman and Lehmiller. There
are six research topics relating to social psychology for you to choose from. You’ll rank your
favourite topics and submit them to the lab instructor (p. 31). You will be assigned to a
research group of four students based on your rankings of the topics.
Step 2: Research your topic
Each topic has a required-reading article that you will read to begin your investigation of
your research topic. The references for these articles are below.
Topics and Required Articles:
- Topic #1: Expression of prejudice: Are people more likely to express prejudice
when their past behavior has established that they are nonprejudiced persons?
Required reading article: Monin, B., & Miller, D. T. (2001). Moral credentials and
the expression of prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 33 –43.
- Topic #2: Terror management: Does thinking about one’s own death increase the
need to believe that others share your worldview?
Required reading article: Pyszczynski, T., Wicklund, S., Floresku, S., Koch, H.,
Gauch, G., Solomon, S., & Greenberg, J. (1996). Whistling in the dark: Exaggerated
consensus estimates in response to incidental reminders of mortality. Psychological
Science, 7, 332-336.
- Topic #3: Attachment style and relationship social comparisons: Are anxious or
avoidant people more likely to make relationship comparisons?
Required reading article: LeBeau, L. S., & Buckingham, J. T. (2008). Relationship
social comparison tendencies, insecurity, and perceived relationship quality. Journal
of Social and Personal Relationships, 25, 71-86. doi: 10.1177/0265407507086806
- Topic #4: Perceptions of embarrassing events: Do we experience embarrassment
for others, even when we are not threatened?
Required reading article: Miller, R. S. (1987). Empathic embarrassment:
Situational and personal determinants of reactions to the embarrassment of
another. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,53(6), 1061-1069.
- Topic #5: Are you less likely to help others when you are “out of energy”?: It
depends in part on whom you are helping.
Required reading article: DeWall, C. N., Baumeister, R. F., Gailliot, M. T., & Maner, J.
K. (2008). Depletion makes the heart grow less helpful: Helping as a function of self-
regulatory energy and genetic relatedness. Personality and Social Psychology
Bulletin, 34, 1653-1662. doi: 10.1177/0146167208323981
- Topic #6: Situational norms: Can your environment direct your behavior
Required reading article: Aarts, H., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2003). The silence of the
library: Environment, situational norm, and social behavior. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 84, 18 –28. doi: 10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.124
As part of Step 2, you’ll locate the above article that is required reading for your topic and
summarize this article according to guidelines on p. 45 (this assignment is due during lab the
week of Oct. 22nd-26th). Then you’ll move on to conducting your own literature search and
review on your topic, finding articles that are relevant. Everyone in your group will find,
read, and summarize two different articles related to your topic. That will result in a total
of 8 summaries of different articles that will be completed in the group. This will provide
your group with a good background in the topic and aid in writing a literature review for
the introduction of your final paper. A draft of your Introduction is due January 25th.
Step 3: Developing hypotheses
Once you have an understanding of research that has been conducted in your topic area,
you will be able to determine if there are any gaps or problems with the research in that
topic area. What questions remain to be answered about that topic? What else can be
investigated? In your group, you will decide which hypothesis your research project will be
testing . You will complete the Hypothesis Development Homework (p. 71-72), detailing
two proposed hypotheses and the rationale behind them. This is due during lab the week of
Nov. 12th to 16th .
Step 4: Operationalizing your hypothesis
Once a hypothesis is determined, the next step is to develop a method that will adequately
test this hypothesis. As different procedures for research in social psychology are covered
in lab, you will learn about different ways to test your hypotheses. In lab sessions from
November 12th to January 11th, we’ll be covering survey methods; research using priming and
automaticity; and psychophysiological and behavioural methods. Exercises and homework
assignments will focus on applying these concepts to your own study. There will be time during
lab sessions to discuss the methods for your study with your group.
Step 5: Method and Introduction drafts
After your group has a good idea of how your hypothesis will be tested, you can finalize
your draft introduction and submit it for grading (due January 25th). Once your method is
fully developed, you will clear your methods with the instructor, who will ensure your
study is both feasible and ethical. Then you’ll write a draft of your method section (due
February 15th). These two drafts will be graded and are worth 5% of your grade in the
course. They must be APA-formatted.
Step 6: Data collection
The next part of your research project is to actually run your study. Your group will collect
data, following the methods you’ve outlined in your Method section draft. Your participants
will be 4-5 other students in your lab block and you will be given time during lab to collect
your data. Because other students in your lab block will serve as the participants in your
study, you should avoid telling other students about your study to ensure that they do not
have advance knowledge about your topic area or hypotheses.
Step 7: Data analysis
Once data is collected, it’s time to determine whether your results support your hypothesis.
During lab your instructor and professor will help you decide which methods of analysis
are most appropriate. These results will be presented in the Results section of your lab
report and they will be explained and interpreted in your Discussion section.
Step 8: Final lab report and oral presentations
Your group will submit one lab report summarizing your study. This lab report must
- Title page
- References page
You’ll be writing your Abstract, Results, and Discussion for the first time. You are expected
to use the feedback you received on your draft introduction and method to improve the
final version of both. Your final paper (lab report) is due on April 3rd.
Your group will also develop a succinct oral presentation that summarizes your research.
All members of the group are expected to participate in the oral presentation.
Presentations will be given to the class during our final two lab sessions. You must be
prepared to present on the 25th of March. The oral presentation will be worth 5% of your