Syllabus for PSY-322



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.


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.


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

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0495602316

Study Guide

Note: The Study Guide was written to accompany an earlier edition of the textbook. In that edition the current Chapter 5 of the textbook 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.



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


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in three graded online discussion forums, complete and submit six written assignments in which you analyze research studies, submit a research project (completed in five progressive steps and culminating in a Research Project Report), and take two proctored examinations—a midterm and a final. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to introduce yourself and participate in three graded online class discussion forums.

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 and respond to at least two of your classmates' responses.


Deadlines for posting initial discussion threads and follow-up comments are given in the Course Calendar.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments in which you analyze research studies in the Study Guide. These assignments build toward your research project and Research Project Report. (See next section.)

Research Project

Five research project assignments (Steps 1–5) all build toward the culminating 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.

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


You are required to take two proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the University'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 multiple-choice and short 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 multiple-choice and short 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:

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.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

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:






























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 course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

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

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University 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.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University 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 University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

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, or without identifying it as a direct quote, 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.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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