Syllabus for PSY-322

RESEARCH IN EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Research in Experimental Psychology (PSY-322) provides an introduction to the research methods used by experimental psychologists as they attempt to understand human behavior. Examples of research studies, chosen from a variety of areas of experimental psychology, demonstrate these methods and provide you with an understanding of the knowledge these studies have produced.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:  

  1. Explain why the scientific thinking used in psychological research is better than common sense as a means of acquiring knowledge about behavior.
  2. Explain the logic of the psychology experiment and describe the features of experimental methodology intended to satisfy that logic.
  3. Compare and contrast predictive and causal relations between variables.
  4. Compare and contrast manipulated and non-manipulated variables.
  5. Explain the problem of confounding in psychological experiments and describe methods used to minimize the problem.
  6. Describe ways of summarizing patterns of data.
  7. Explain the principle of drawing inferences from patterns of data and describe ways of measuring the confidence that should be attached to these inferences.
  8. Describe factors that limit the generalizing of experimental findings in psychology.
  9. Describe the analysis required to determine whether experimental findings are accidental.
  10. Describe the format for reporting research findings.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the college's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.


Required Textbook

  1. Experimental Psychology, 7th ed., by Anne Myers and Christine Hansen (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/CENGAGE, 2012). 

ISBN-13: 978-0-495-60231-6

Note: The Study Guide was written to accompany an earlier edition of the textbook. In that edition the current Chapter 5 had been Chapter 4. Therefore, the supplement in the Study Guide titled "Supplement to Chapter 4: Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient" is a supplement to current Chapter 5, not Chapter 4. Also, you will not be able to check answers to your Review and Study Guide Questions in the Study Guide. In all other ways the Study Guide matches the current textbook.

Study Guide

  1. Study Guide for Research in Experimental Psychology,edited by Elizabeth Wilson (Trenton: Thomas Edison State College, 2002).

COURSE STRUCTURE

Research in Experimental Psychology is a 3-credit online course consisting of ten (10) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Scientific Methods; Ethics

  1. Module 2: Type of Experimental Design

  1. Module 3: Controlling Variables

  1. Module 4: Between-Subject Designs

  1. Module 5: Alternatives to Experiments

  1. Module 6: Using Statistics

  1. Module 7: Two Group Designs and Analyzing Results

  1. Module 8: Drawing Conclusions

  1. Module 9: Writing the Report

  1. Module 10: Putting It All Together

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in three (3) graded online discussion forums, complete and submit six (6) written assignments, submit a research project, and take two proctored examinations—a midterm and a final. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to submitting six written assignments for this class, you are required to introduce yourself and participate in three (3) graded online class discussions.

Your first posting, "Introductions," will give you a chance to tell your mentor and classmates something about yourself and to find out who they are. You should post your introduction in the Introductions forum on the class Discussion Board and respond to at least two of your classmates' responses.

 

Deadlines for posting discussion threads on the class Discussion Board are given in the course Calendar.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six (6) written assignments.These assignments build toward your research project report. (See next section.)

Research Project Report

As already stated, your assignments all build toward the research project report. Their goal is to guide you through to completion of the experimental design of your research project and to its implementation.

The completed Research Project Report must be presented in the proper format. Your report must be free of errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Handwritten reports will not be accepted.

Note: The Research Project Report is worth approximately one-quarter of your final grade.

The directions for the Research Project Report can be found within the Module 10. (See also the course Calendar.)

Examinations

You are required to take two (2) proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Midterm Examination

The midterm is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and covers material from Modules 1 through 5 of the course. It consists of definitions and essay questions. The exam is drawn from the text and assigned readings. You will not be asked to do any statistical calculations on the exam.

Final Examination

The final is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and covers material in Modules 6 through 10. Like the midterm exam, it consists of definitions and essay questions. The exam is drawn from the text and assigned readings. You will not be asked to do any statistical calculations on the exam.

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

  1. Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find an answer.
  2. Copying and pasting or, in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your exams. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  3. Plagiarizing answers.
  4. Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take an exam.
  5. Copying any part of an exam to share with other students.
  6. Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at an exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (3)—10 percent
  2. Written assignments (6)—20 percent
  3. Research project report—20 percent
  4. Midterm exam (proctored online, modules 1–5)—25 percent
  5. Final exam (proctored online, modules 6-10)—25 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams and arrange for proctors, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Each week, consult the appropriate Module and the Calendar to determine which chapter in the textbook you are to study. In most weeks you will also be assigned parts of the collection of previously published research papers (in the Study Guide for Research in Experimental Psychology) compiled by Elizabeth Wilson. (Some of the readings are reassigned at several points in the course. Please read them as directed.) The Calendar indicates due dates for submitting written assignments and when you should schedule your midterm examination. It is essential that you follow the Calendar each week to ensure that you stay on track throughout the course.

  1. When beginning a new chapter of the text, follow this procedure: (a) Read the Chapter Objectives and the chapter introduction. If you work with the objectives in mind, you will be well prepared for the assignments and exam questions. (b) Read for understanding, highlighting terms, definitions, and examples as you read. (c) Know all the Key Terms at the end of each chapter. (d) Complete assigned Review and Study Questions. Learn from your successes and shortcomings. Pay particular attention to your mentor's comments on your assignments. In each successive assignment, try to build on and improve your previous work.

  1. Review for the examination. It is comprehensive and is drawn from the text and assigned readings. Be sure you know the material highlighted in the Chapter Objectives and Review and Study Questions for the chapters assigned in the Calendar.

  1. This material will lead you through the steps necessary to develop your own experimental design, perform the experiment, and write the report. One important question you will need to answer in your report is whether your results are accidental or not based on a statistical test.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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