Research Methods (PSY 230)
Fall 1997

Instructor: Dr. Scharff

Office: Education Bldg. 215f
Lab: Education Bldg. 117c
Hours: MWF 10-11, T 10-12, TH 1:30-2:30 and by appointment
Phone: 468-4402

Text: Experimental Psychology 4th Ed.
by Myers and Hansen

The objective of this course is to provide you with a knowledge of both experimentaland non-experimental methods used in psychological research. You will also learn somestatistical fundamentals and when it is appropriate to use each particular statisticalmethod. In addition, you will learn how to write technical papers which will clearlypresent methodological research. A critical thinking approach will be emphasized withthe hope that you can apply your new knowledge outside of class.

EXAMS: There will be three exams and a final. The final will cover materialfrom the entire semester with an emphasis on material covered following the third exam.All of the exams will consist of multiple-choice questions, short answer/essayquestions, and perhaps a few statistical calculations. Questions on the exams will bedrawn from the assigned chapters in the text, as well as from the lectures. The(highly) probable exam schedule is as follows:

Exam 1 Sept 23 (Tuesday) Ch 1-3, plus lectures
Exam 2 Oct 14 (Tuesday) Ch 4-6, plus lectures
Exam 3 Nov 6 (Thursday) Ch 7-10, plus lectures

Final Dec 11 (Thursday 10:30-12:30) Ch 1-15, plus lectures

NO make-ups will be given except for a DOCUMENTED emergency. (In other words,weddings, vacations, oversleeping etc. will not qualify as a legitimate excuse.)If you must miss an exam for a (academic) function, please arrange an alternate testtime prior to the event. Make-up exams will be part short answer, part essay in format.

If you require special arrangements for taking exams, and you are registered withDisability Services, please see me as soon as possible to discuss this.

Projects / Papers: As a class, we will design and perform two research projects during the semester. The first project will use a non-experimental approach (e.g. a survey or naturalistic observation), and the second will be a true experiment. You will write individual papers to summarize both of these research projects. Additionally, a third paper will be assigned that will reflect individual interests rather than a class project. Details regarding each project / paper will be given in class.

I will expect all writing to use the conventions of standard written English, whichincludes grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Assignments completed outside of classshould be turned in typed (spell check or else!). There are several computer labs(including your classroom) where you can type and print papers at no charge.

Homeworks: There will be several homework assignments throughout the semester.These may include answering questions from the end of the chapters or data analysesfrom the research projects or completing handouts.

Attendance/Lateness: Attendance will be recorded at the beginning of class eachday. Persons who arrive after role has been taken will only receive half attendancecredit for that day. Although I realize that occasional tardiness cannot be avoided,late arrivals disrupt the lecture which is not fair to those students who do arrive ontime. If you must arrive late, please sit at a desk as close to the door as possible.

Participation in class and the group work / research projects will also be noted andreflected in your semester grade.

Course Grade: Points from the exams and final, the writing assignments, thehomeworks, and attendance / participation will be weighted according to the followingpercentages.

Each exam 10% (total: 30% of grade)
Final exam 15%
Paper 1 (from non-experimental project) 10%
Paper 2 (individual research interest) 10%
Paper 3 (from experimental project) 20%
Homework Assignments 10%
Attendance / Participation 5%

Course grades will be determined by the following cut-offs:
A (90 - 100%) B (80 - 89%) C (70 - 79%) D (60 - 69%)


  • It will be to your benefit to keep up with the chapter readings as they are covered in lecture.
  • If you have any questions over the course material, please discuss them with me or the teaching assistant. (It helps to do this before the tests rather than after...) You may also email me at any time.
  • Academic Dishonesty: Cheating on tests will result in a grade of zero. Please do not wear baseball caps on test days. Please refer to the SFA Student Handbook/Calendar for additional information on policies concerning academic dishonesty. (This handbook is also a good source of information concerning other policies and facilities at SFA.)

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