Psychology 242; Research in Psychology
Dr. David J. McKirnan

The University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Psychology


Welcome to Research in Psychology

This course reviews scientific method in Psychology. It is meant for Psychology majors or students with a clear interest in research. We will discuss how science "works", how scientific reasoning differs from other ways of thinking, and what we can and cannot learn from the different research strategies Psychologists use.

Students will understand the virtues - and problems - of measurement or correlation studies, "true" experiments, and the "quasi"-experiments (or field studies) often used in Psychology. Students will also be introduced to statistical reasoning in science, and to basic statistics.

    This course is centered on the class web site. Get comfortable using this and other web sites.

  • Please e-mail me ASAP if you find a broken or incorrect link!

  • Each week has its own web page with key terms, discussion group assignments, and links to the PowerPoint notes I will be using in lecture.

  • Best approach to lectures: print the lecture notes, bring them to class and annotate them. To print PowerPoint slides:

    • With the file open, click "File" (do not click on the printer image) then "print".

    • In the print menu, under "Print What" ask for "handouts", and 3 slides per page.

    • Now click "Page Setup" at the lower left of the print window. Click to make both "Slides" and "Notes" print portrait style.

    • If you have "Show Quick Preview" checked you will be able to see what the pages look like before you print.


Ray, W.J. (1999/2008).  Methods: Toward a Science of Behavior and Experience, 5th Ed. or later,   Belmont, CA.  Wadsworth .  Buy any recent edition of the Ray book; they are all the same.  Look online (e.g., Amazon.com), or used book sales for cheap copies.  UIC bookstore may have used copies. 

If you cannot find a used copy of the Ray book get any text covering research methods in Psychology. To use another text, see what chapters I have assigned from Ray, look up the topics they cover here, and read those chapters in whatever book you bought.

We will use the i>clicker system. Clickers are available new or used in the bookstore, or from Amazon. You cannot share clickers - each student must have his/her own. Bring these to every lecture. You are responsible for your lecture credit - if you do not bring your clicker to class I cannot give you credit for attendance.

Register your clicker at: http://www1.iclicker.com/register-an-iclicker right now. Be sure to register with your UIC Net ID (the ID for your UIC e-mail address).

Clicker number rubbed off? If you have registered on the clicker web site by entering your name and UIC ID and have "clicked" in class at least once, go here to find your clicker number. Instructions for your i>clicker are posted here

Plato's Cave

Lectures, Class Materials & Grading
All your grades will be posted on the course Blackboard site. The grading schedule is:

  Exams (3)
Exam 1 = 10%
Exam 2 = 10%
Exam 3 = 20%
  Term paper
  Discussion Group
  Lecture attendance
  CITI research ethics training

The first two exams cover the first and second thirds of the course. The final exam is cumulative, emphasizing material covered since the second exam. Most exam items are short answer, not multiple choice. There are NO make up exams.

What will be on the exams? Primarily lecture material. During most lectures I announce exam topics, so attend lectures (and ask questions!), then use your annotated Power Point notes to study.  Examples of exam items are Here. 

Term paper:
Your term paper is a practice research project, due in your discussion group the14th week (Friday, April 24). Papers must be formatted in American Psychological Association style. Many discussion groups will be devoted to the development of this paper. Complete instructions are given in paper assignment. Use these web pages to write your paper, and for links to other paper resources.

Submit your paper in both paper and electronic forms. Submit a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) text file to Safe Assignment (on the course Blackboard site) in . Note: The electronic form should only contain the body of the text. Do not include references, informed consent documents, your calculations, or any other add-on (see paper assignment).

If you want comments on your paper please note that on the cover page of the hard copy of your paper; only students who request comments will get them. Late papers lose 5 points (out of 30) per day.

Discussion Group & Lecture Attendance:
To get credit for discussion groups you must both attend the group and complete the discussion group assignment. We do not accept discussion group assignments late or by e-mail. Your research paper will be developed in these groups, so attend and pay attention.  Discussion group assignments are given in the class schedule, for the week they are due

You can earn extra credit by submitting really good assignments; you should particularly think about this for your research paper assignments. The comments about plagiarism below apply to your discussion group assignments as well as the research paper.

Discussion Group Assignments
Call #
Day & Time
Teaching Assistant
34392 Friday, 9:00 2219 Ed, Perform Arts & Social Work

Lijuan Yin

34393 Friday, 11:00 204 Burnham Hall Lijuan Yin
34394 Friday, 1:00 204 Burnham Hall Emily Bray
34395 Friday, 2:00 204 Burnham Hall Emily Bray
34396 Friday, 3:00 2217 Ed, Perform Arts & SW Jen Anderson
34397 Friday, 4:00 2217 Ed, Perform Arts & SW Jen Anderson

Lecture attendance will be assessed via your clicker. Be sure to bring them to class. Occasionally I will provide extra credit for correct answers on the clicker questions.

TAs, Office Hours & Communication
My office hours (1058b BSB) are Monday and Wednesday, from 10:00 to 1:30, or by appointment. Please e-mail me with questions, comments, or to make appointments. I am happy to hear from students on any & all issues related to the course.

E-mail your TA for an appointment, or show up during office hours. TAs are:
Lijuan Yin, lyin4@uic.edu, Office: Tue. 10-11 & Thr 11-12, B143 BSB.
Emily Bray, ebray3@uic.edu, Office: Wednesday 10am-12pm,1073 BSB.
Jen Anderson, jander22@uic.edu, Office: Wednesday 1:00 to 3:00, Friday after 5:00, 1050 BSB

Academic Honesty:
The great majority of students are honest; I rarely have to take action on cheating in this class.  However, in fairness to other students I will not tolerate cheating.  If you cheat on any test or assignment you will receive a '0' on that assignment or test, and may fail the entire class.  If I feel it appropriate I will notify the Dean of Students, who will place a notice about the incident in your permanent record. There are no exceptions to this policy. 

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, looking on others' tests or letting them look on yours, using paper or electronic "cheat sheets" in an exam, copying or giving others test answers, and plagiarism.  Plagiarism includes copying the words of a fellow student or author in your papers. You cannot copy even short phrases from any written work unless you show it as a quote and cite it properly. You cannot hand in work that you have used in another class, or papers you have gotten from the internet or other students.

If you have any concerns about this policy or about cheating in the class, please contact me directly to discuss it.

Students with Disabilities:
Please inform me right away if you need accommodations. If you do require accommodations please register with the Office of Disability Services. Contact them at 312/413-2183 (voice) or 312/413-0123 (TTY).