PSYC 2015: Research Methods

Fall 2023

Published

August 23, 2023

Class Info

Primary Instructor: Jason Tsukahara, Ph.D.
Email: jason.tsukahara@gatech.edu
Office: J.S. Coon 351
Office Hours: Mondays 12:00 - 1:00 PM or by appointment — in-person or Zoom (link)

Section Days Time Room Instructor
Lecture Mondays and Wednesdays 2:00 - 3:15 PM J.S. Coon 250 Jason Tsukahara
Lab Fridays 2:00 - 4:45 PM J.S. Coon 161 Jack Mostyn

Lab Instructor: Jack Mostyn
Office: J.S. Coon 255
Office Hours: Thursdays 2:00 - 3:00 PM and by appointment - in-person or over Teams (link)

Teaching Assistant: Julie Harrison (julieharrison@gatech.edu)
Office: J.S. Coon 251
Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:00 - 2:00 PM and by appointment - in-person or over Zoom (link)

Course Details

Course Description

You will learn how to be a critical consumer of information, learn about psychology as a scientific discipline, and gain a fundamental understanding of major issues in designing, analyzing, and publishing research in psychology. A major part of the course will be a group-based project in which you will work with your team to come up with research questions, design a research study, collect data, perform statistical analysis, and write an APA-formatted research paper.

Prerequisites

PSYC 1101 - General Psychology

PSYC 2020 - Psychological Statistics (or an approved MATH course)

Optional Textbooks

These are not required, but they may be useful as an additional reference and supplemental learning materials. APA writing style will be covered in the course and details can also be found online at the APA website or at Purdue OWL.

American Psychological Association (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN: 978-1433832161
Morling, B. (2017). Research methods in psychology: Evaluating a world of information (3rd ed.). New York: Norton. ISBN: 978-0393617542

Learning Goals

At the end of this course, you should be able to understand:

  • how to be a critical consumer of information

  • the scientific method and explain why psychology is a science

  • the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of research designs

  • what is necessary for ethical scientific research

  • how to design a research study, collect data, interpret data, and write a full APA-formatted scientific paper

  • how to communicate scientific research in writing and oral presentation

Course Format

  • Lectures: In lecture you will learn the fundamental principles of scientific research and methodology in psychology.

  • Labs: In lab you will gain concrete skills to be a critical reader of scientific research, to write scientific papers in APA format, to generate research questions and hypotheses, to design a research study, to process data in R, to statistically analyze data in R, and to communicate your research through oral presentation.

Course Expectations

You are expected to attend lectures and lab sessions and be an active participant.

Although attendance itself is not directly graded, there are several ways in which it will be indirectly graded.

For lecture, there will be a few unannounced Quizzes & Activities for which you will receive a participation grade.

For the lab, your In-Lab Assignments (ILAs) must be completed in the laboratory and, along with peer review quizzes, will generally serve as de facto attendance. If you miss a lab meeting (for any reason other than Accommodations), you will not be permitted to submit the ILAs from home.

A major part of this course is a Group Project that will require you to complete assignments and a semester-long project with your group.

The course does have Extra Credit opportunities to help you make-up any missed points.

Assessment of Learning

Grade Points

Component Points
3 Exams 300 points (100 points each)
Final Group Paper 100 points
Group Class Presentation 50 points
Major Lab Assignments (MLAs) 100 points
In-Lab Assignments (ILAs) 60 points
Quizzes & Activities 65 points
Total Possible Points 675 points

Grade Points
A 604 - 675 points
B 537 - 603.99 points
C 470 - 536.99 points
D 402 - 469.99 points
F < 402 points

The grading scale already incorporates rounding. NO exceptions will be made for further rounding.

Exams

There will be 3 exams that will be worth 100 points each. The topics for each exam will include material covered in lecture, lab, and assignments. The format of the exams will be multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short answer.

The work on all exams must be your own work (i.e., not to be completed with the help or aid of others). See the Georgia Tech Honor Code for information on Georgia Tech’s Academic Honor Code.

Exams generally will not be administered early or late (except in the event of extreme circumstances and Accommodations).

Group Project

(150 points)

A group project will be conducted by a research team of 4 (or 3) students on a topic developed by the team and approved by the instructors. Each research team will design a study, collect data from the Georgia Tech community, analyze and interpret the data, write a scientific paper, present their work to the class in a presentation format, and finally present their work at a poster sessions attended by other students and faculty in the department.

In addition to earning grades based on the quality of the final products, students will have the opportunity to evaluate each others contributions to the research team. This information will be considered when determining each student’s grade on the individual portion of the group project. The self and peer evaluations are a required part of the course and students who do not submit the evaluations will receive a grade of zero on both group project components.

Group Project Final Products:

  1. Final Group Paper: 100 points
  2. Group Class Presentation: 50 points

Major Lab Assignments

(100 points)

There will be 6 major lab assignments that are either individual or group based.

MLA 1: Individual RQ and Article Critique (20 points)

MLA 2: Individual Article Critiques, Group References, Group Contract (20 points)

MLA 3: Group Introduction Draft (20 points)

MLA 4: Group Method Draft (20 points)

MLA 5: Group Pilot Data Collection (10 points)

MLA 6: Group Data Processing (10 points)

All written assignments must be typed and must follow the style guides provided to you on Canvas or in the assignment instructions.

Due dates for these assignments can be found in the course schedule. All assignments must be submitted electronically on Canvas by the assigned due date and time.

All assignments must be your own writing and must not be assignments that you have submitted in previous assignments in other courses (i.e., do not self-plagiarize). Using someone else’s words or idea without giving credit is plagiarism. Any student suspected of cheating or plagiarizing on a quiz, exam, or assignment will be reported to the Office of Student Integrity, who will investigate the incident and identify the appropriate penalty for violations. For more information see Georgia Tech’s Academic Honor Code. If you are unsure if a particular situation involves plagiarism or other fraud, please stop by and see one of your instructors.

In-Lab Assignments

(60 points)

There will be an in-lab assignment every lab session. These in lab assignments will require you to work both individually and in small groups (see Lab Canvas for specific assignment deadlines).

All in-lab assignments will be graded and worth about 5 points each. I strongly encourage you to complete the in-lab assignments during the scheduled lab time so that you can work with your group members and ask your lab instructors questions as they arise.

See your Lab Canvas section for assignment due dates/times.

Quizzes & Activities

(65 points)

Attendance in lecture is expected for this course. A series of in-class quizzes and activities will be administered throughout the semester.

Quizzes (30 points) will be administered at the beginning of class but I will not announce on what days there will be a quiz. This should encourage you to attend class on time, keep up with your assignments, and engage in class discussion. The quizzes will be short and will cover previously learned material. The quizzes will be designed such that you should be able to answer at least 4 our of 6 of the questions correctly if you have been paying attention and participating in lecture. You will earn full credit for a quiz if you answer at least 4 out of 6 of the questions correctly. You will earn half credit for a quiz if you earn 2 out of 6 of the questions correctly. You will earn no credit for a quiz if you answer less than 2 out of 6 of the questions correctly.

Activities (35 points) will occur periodically and will be a combination of in-class activities and assigned homework to complete for the next class period. For in-class activities you are expected to participate occasionally throughout the semester. For homework assignments, you are expected to have completed the assignment outside of class and be prepared to discuss it in the next class period.

Late Assignments

All assignments must be submitted by the due date. No late assignments will be accepted unless you have an Institute Approved Absence from the Dean of Students or Accommodations.

Make-Up Exams

Make-up exams may be scheduled for Institute Approved Absences and Accommodations only and documentation must be provided prior to scheduling a make-up exam.

Accommodations

If you are a student with learning needs that require special accommodation, contact the Office of Disability Services at (404) 894-2563 or https://disabilityservices.gatech.edu, as soon as possible, to make an appointment to discuss your special needs and to obtain an accommodations letter. Please also e-mail me as soon as possible in order to set up a time to discuss your learning needs.

Schedule

This is a tentative schedule and is subject to change. I will let you know when I update it and keep the most updated version of the Syllabus on posted on Canvas.

Week Day Section Topic Due
1 Monday, Aug 21st Lecture Introduction to the Course; Psychology as a Science
1 Wednesday, Aug 23rd Lecture Psychology as a Science
1 Friday, Aug 25th Lab 1 Databases, Literature Search, Journal Articles, Article Critiques ILA: Due at end of lab
2 Monday, Aug 28th Lecture Types of Research in Psychology
2 Wednesday, Aug 30th Lecture Types of Research in Psychology
2 Friday, Sep 1st Lab 2 Idea Share, Introduction, APA Writing ILA: Due at end of lab
3 Monday, Sep 4th Holiday Labor Day
3 Wednesday, Sep 6th Lecture Making Scientific Claims and Assessing Validity MLA #1: Due at beginning of lecture
3 Friday, Sep 8th Lab 3 Introduction, Idea Share - Form Groups, References - APA Style ILA: Due at end of lab
4 Monday, Sep 11th Lecture Making Scientific Claims and Assessing Validity
4 Wednesday, Sep 13th Lecture Ethical Consideration in Psychological Science
4 Friday, Sep 15th Lab 4 Formally Approve Group Topic, Method

MLA #2: Due at beginning of lab

ILA: Due at end of lab

2 CITI Trainings: Due at 11:59pm

5 Monday, Sep 18th Exam Exam 1
5 Wednesday, Sep 20th Lecture Sampling; Types of Measurement in Psychology
5 Friday, Sep 22nd Lab 5 Introduction, Method/Materials & Appendix

MLA #3: Due at beginning of lab

ILA: Due at end of lab

6 Monday, Sep 25th Lecture Types of Measurement in Psychology; Simple Correlation
6 Wednesday, Sep 27th Lecture Simple Correlation
6 Friday, Sep 29th Lab 6 Working with Data in R, Informed Consent, Script, Demographics

MLA #4: Due at beginning of lab

ILA: Due at end of lab

7 Monday, Oct 2nd Lecture Reliability and Validity in Correlational Research
7 Wednesday, Oct 4th Lecture Multivariate Correlational Research
7 Friday, Oct 6th Lab 7 Regression in R, Method and Design Feedback ILA: Due at end of lab
8 Monday, Oct 9th Holiday Fall Break
8 Wednesday, Oct 11th Lecture Multivariate Correlational Research
8 Friday, Oct 13th Lab 8 Peer Pilot Day, Data Structure & Pilot Data Entry

MLA #5: Due at beginning of lab

ILA: Due at end of lab

9 Monday, Oct 16th Exam Exam 2
9 Wednesday, Oct 18th Lecture Conducting an Experiment and Simple Experiments
9 Friday, Oct 20th Lab 9 Data Collection
10 Monday, Oct 23rd Lecture Conducting an Experiment and Simple Experiments
10 Wednesday, Oct 25th Lecture Reliability and Validity in Experimental Research
10 Friday, Oct 27th Lab 10 Data Collection; Regression in R
11 Monday, Oct 30th Lecture Factorial Design
11 Wednesday, Nov 1st Lecture Factorial Design
11 Friday, Nov 3rd Lab 11 ANOVA in R MLA #6: Due at beginning of lab
12 Monday, Nov 6th Lecture Combined Differential-Experimental Research
12 Wednesday, Nov 8th Lecture Open Science Principles: Reproducible Code
12 Friday, Nov 10th Lab 12 ANOVA in R; Project Results
13 Monday, Nov 13th Exam Exam 3
13 Wednesday, Nov 15th Lecture Project Work Day
13 Friday, Nov 17th Lab 13 Discussion, Abstract, Null Effects
14 Monday, Nov 20th Lecture Project Work Day
14 Wednesday, Nov 22nd Holiday Thanksgiving Break
14 Friday, Nov 24th Holiday Thanksgiving Break
15 Monday, Nov 27th Lecture Class Presentations Group Poster PDF due by 11:59pm
15 Wednesday, Nov 29th Lecture Class Presentations Presentations due by end of lab
15 Friday, Dec 1st Lab 14 Group Poster Session
16 Monday, Dec 4th Final Due Dates No Class!

Final Group Paper due by 11:59pm

All forms of Extra Credit due by 11:59pm

Extra Credit

You can choose to participate in research, complete article critiques, attend the Better Together Conference, or combination of the three. You can only earn up to 5 points towards your final points earned in this course. You will not receive any additional extra credit for completing more than the maximum allowed points.

Research Participation

You can participate in up to 5 credits of research for extra credit in this course. One credit of research is worth 1 point towards your final grade (up to 5 points possible). Participation in research will take place outside of class. You are not excused from class to participate in research (i.e., do not schedule research participation during class time). You can learn about and sign-up for experiments by visiting the SONA website.

In order to receive credit for your participation, you must “assign” the research credit to this class (PSYC 2015 D). At the end of the semester, I will receive a report that shows whether you completed research credit and how much credit you assigned to this course.

Article Critique

You can also complete up to 4 article critiques for extra credit in this course (Note: The articles must be different than those assigned in the course.)

Each article critique is worth up to 1 point of extra credit. You have the opportunity to choose an empirical paper on a psychological topic of your choice and critique the article. Use Georgia Tech’s online library to find the empirical articles. The article must be published in one of the following journals within the last 3 years (August 2020 – August 2023):

  • Psychological Science

  • Psychological Bulletin

  • Journal of Experimental Psychology

  • Journal of Applied Psychology

  • Current Directions in Psychological Science

Note: If you do not follow the directions in terms of the journal, publication date, or do not include an APA-style reference you will receive a ZERO for the article critique and it will not be reviewed. No exceptions will be made.

The extra credit article critique must include a summary of the article and your personal reaction to the article. You should limit the use of direct quotations and interpret the article in your own words to demonstrate that you understood what you read. Your critique should include the following 2 sections:

I. Summary of Article

Describe the study and include the following information:

  1. Problem/Purpose: What was the problem to be investigated? Why was the study necessary and important? What was the research question?

  2. Key Hypotheses: What were the hypotheses? What previous research are they based on? Are they grounded in theory? Who were the participants and how generalizable is the sample?

  3. Measures & Procedure: What are the independent and dependent variables? What tests, instruments, or questionnaires were used in the study? How was the study conducted?

  4. Results/Conclusions: What were the results of this study? Are the results consistent with the hypothesis/hypotheses?

  5. Practical Application: What are the practical implications?

All assignments (including extra credit article critiques) will be submitted through Canvas and the Turn It In software. All assignments in this course will be compared against each other and previous submissions (your OWN previous submissions as well) for plagiarism or self- plagiarism.

II. Personal Reaction

In this section, provide a thoughtful reaction to multiple aspects of the article (describe your reaction and reasoning). Below are a few examples of ways in which you can react to the article:

Discuss your thoughts about the results and conclusions.

  • Explain what you would do differently if it were your research study.

  • Discuss any cautions that you have about the results of the study.

  • Discuss how the work is related to your life experiences.

  • Has your perspective on the topic changed? Why or why not?

Rubric

Points
Summary is written in own words and demonstrates understanding of the main ideas (section 1) 0.5
Reaction to the article is thoughtful and appropriate (section 2) 0.5
Follows formatting guidelines: 500-word minimum, Times New Roman, size 12-point font 0.5
APA-style Reference is included on a page separate from the article critique 0.5
Total 2

Better Together

More info coming soon…

Academic Honesty

Respect and Consideration

Please be respectful and considerate of others in the class. This includes showing up for class on time and being kind to your classmates during discussion and in-class activities.

Student-Faculty Expectations

At Georgia Tech we believe that it is important to strive for an atmosphere of mutual respect, acknowledgement, and responsibility between faculty members and the student body. See the Georgia Tech Student-Faculty Expectations page for an articulation of some basic expectation that you can have of me and that I have of you.

In the end, simple respect for knowledge, hard work, and cordial interactions will help build the environment we seek. Therefore, I encourage you to remain committed to the ideals of Georgia Tech while in this class.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is an unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be reported and disciplined in accordance with the University regulations and procedures, which may include suspension or expulsion from the University.

Please take time to review Student Code of Conduct for more information.

Note that according to the Student Code of Conduct, plagiarism is defined as the “submission of material that is wholly or substantially identical to that created or published by another person or persons, without adequate credit notations indicating authorship.” If you take someone else’s words, ideas, or structure of their argument (whether it is a published author or fellow classmate), this is considered plagiarism.

All papers in this course will be compared against each other and the Internet for plagiarism.

Any student suspected of cheating or plagiarizing on a quiz, exam, or assignment will be reported to the Office of Student Integrity, who will investigate the incident and identify the appropriate penalty for violations.

Campus Resources

In your time at Georgia Tech, you may find yourself in need of support. Below you will find some resources to support you both as a student and as a person. You mental health and well-being is important, please seek support if you feel you need it.

Academic Support

Personal Support

Health and Well-Being

  • Center for Mental Health Care & Resources

    • Schedule an appointment: 404-894-2575

    • Located on the first floor of the Smithgall Student Services (Flag) Building, CARE is the primary resource for mental health support at GT.

    • Includes the Counseling Center

    • Services include short-term individual counseling, group counseling, couples counseling, testing and assessment, referral services, and crisis intervention.

    • Their website also includes links to state and national resources.

  • Stamps Health Services