RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLGICAL SCIENCE
LECT 0900-0950 M W 00C3 LC
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R. Chris Fraley, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology | Behavioral Sciences Building room 1050 A
Office hours: Mon and Wed 10 - 11 a.m.
Vicky Harmon | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason McAnany | email@example.com
Meg Wardle | firstname.lastname@example.org
95944 DISC 1000-1050
M 0211 BSB
95900 DISC 1100-1150 M 0211 BSB
95979 DISC 1200-1250 M 0211 BSB
95966 DISC 1000-1050 W 0211 BSB
95957 DISC 1100-1150 W 0211 BSB
96017 DISC 1200-1250 W 0211 BSB
Stanovich, K. E. (2001). How to think straight about psychology (6th Edition). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
I will post the chapters that you should read for each exam in the schedule below. I encourage you to read at least one chapter a week so you don't get behind. Occasionally I will ask you to read a specific chapter for discussion in your sections. In those situations, I will make a special announcement for the reading assignments.
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Structure and Overview
of the Course
The discipline of psychology occupies a peculiar niche in modern universities. Modern psychologists are concerned with basic humanistic issues (e.g., the nature of emotions, the mind, relationships, free will, and consciousness) that have traditionally been studied by philosophers, poets, and historians. However, unlike scholars in these other disciplines, modern psychologists employ the methods of the natural sciences (e.g., measurement, experimentation) in order to understand these phenomena. The objective of this course is to introduce you to scientific methods, and how they can be used to better understand psychological phenomena.
I will deliver lectures
on Mondays and Wednesdays. I expect you to be in class on time, and, if you
cannot make it to class for some reason, I strongly encourage you to obtain
the lecture notes from one of your classmates as soon as possible. (Do not come
to me or one of the TA’s for lecture notes.) There will also be weekly discussion
sections, led by the TA’s, in which you will design studies, collect and analyze
psychological data, and expand your critical thinking skills.
The Class Webpage
I will post lecture notes on the class web page immediately after each lecture. I plan to post the notes because I want you to spend your class time listening and thinking carefully about the issues we're discussing rather than worrying about copying everything correctly. If, however, class attendance begins to decline, I will discontinue web notes because I do not want people skipping lectures simply because they can download the notes at their leisure.
You should treat the class web page as your primary syllabus. I will be updating it on a regular basis and it will be your responsibility to keep up-to-date on any changes that are made. For example, the lecture-topical schedule listed below is preliminary and will change as a function of how quickly or slowly we are progressing though the course. Also, practice test questions, answers to exams you've taken, exam grades to date, etc. will be updated as necessary. If you do not have Internet access at home, please visit one of the many student computer facilities on campus on a regular basis.
link to: schedule | updates | top
There will be four exams over the course of the semester, plus the final exam. Thus, there will be five exams total. The first four exams will not be cumulative in the strict sense of the term, but the subject matter will build on itself, so mastering material for the second exam, for example, may require that you keep yourself refreshed on earlier material. The final exam, however, will be cumulative in the strict sense of the term; I will ask you about anything that has been covered in the course.
Of the five exams, only your four best grades will count. In other words, you can drop your worst exam score. Why do I allow this? I allow this because emergencies (e.g., death in the family, oversleeping on exam day, traffic problems) may occur at some point during the semester, and you might have to miss an exam. I do not give make-up exams under any circumstances; the fact that you can drop your lowest score (which could be a 0) covers all make-up exam situations. Please do not ask me about make up exams because I will simply refer you to the class webpage which explains my policy on this issue (see previous sentence). If you would like to document an absence due to a medical emergency, it is necessary that you bring me a medical billing statement; a simple note from a doctor will not suffice.
In light of this policy, your best strategy is to study hard for each exam, hope nothing bad happens, and then skip the final if you're happy with the grade you would receive based on the first 4 exams. Then, if something bad happens along the way and you have to miss an exam, you'll know that you cannot miss the others. Or, if you bomb exam 1, you'll know you can drop it, but you'll have to do well on the remaining 4 exams. If you oversleep for exam 1 and then a relative dies for exam 2, you will receive a sympathy card, but not a make-up test.
The exam schedule for the semester is posted on the class webpage. It will not be changed, so please determine as soon as possible whether your schedule will prohibit you from making it to certain exams. It might be wise for you to drop the class (or change to another section) if you can foresee possible problems in scheduling from day 1.
At least once a week in
lecture (either on Mondays or Wednesdays), I will give you a five-minute pop
quiz at the beginning of class. These quizzes will be administered at exactly
9:00 a.m. and will be collected at 9:05 a.m. I strongly encourage you to come
to class on time; there will be no make-up pop quiz opportunities. These quizzes
will not be difficult; My objective in administering these quizzes to encourage
you to keep up with the readings and the lecture material so you don't have
to cram at the last minute for the exams.
Of your four highest exam scores, they will be averaged, and that average will account for 60% of your grade. The remaining 40% of your grade will come from lab activities (20%) and weekly quizzes (20%). Attendance is required for the labs.
Note: If you need to know
your discussion section grade at any point in the semester, please contact your
Students with disabilities who require accommodations for access and participation in this course must be registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS). Please contact ODS at 312/413-2103 or 312/413-0123.
Jan 15, 2003
Several people have asked me if I will add them to the class. Unfortunately, the class is currently full, and we do not have the resources to add new students. Approximately 20 people have asked me if they can add, and there is simply no fair way to go about trying to accommodate some people and not others. What should you do about this? I don't have a good solution to your problem, but you're welcome to "sit in" on the class while space permits and hope that someone drops so you can add the class in their place. This strategy has worked in the past, but, unless 20 people drop, it can't work for everyone. Please keep in mind that there is another section of Psych 242 available, and there may (or may not) be resources available in that section for adding. There will also be a summer section of Psych 242 offered this summer.
Lab sections begin on the third week of the semester: Jan 27th.
Jan 29, 2003
I am not planning on attending class today because of the anticipated birth. The TA's will show you a video that I mentioned in lecture on Monday. Please think carefully about the implications of what we've been discussing in lecture for the way "information" is regulated in the Benny Hinn ministries. Be prepared to discuss these issues next week in discussion section. I will not be in class for the exam on Monday either. Please feel free to e-mail me or the TAs if you have any questions. Depending on how the birth goes, I may not be able to respond quickly, so please be patient.
Jan 29, 2003
The first exam is scheduled for Monday, Feb 3. The exam will consist of approximately 16 multiple choice questions and 4 short answer questions. The majority of the questions stem from the lecture material, but approximately 5 questions were derived from the readings.
How should you study for the exam? I would strongly recommend reviewing your lecture notes. *Think* carefully about what we've been discussing. Although a certain amount of "memorization" is always required for an exam, I'm more interested in assessing your understanding of the basic concepts rather than the terms used to label them. This is especially true for the readings: With respect to the Stanovich chapters, I will ask you questions about some of the basic themes, criticisms, and ideas that he discusses. I will not ask you about detailed trivia, such as names, dates, etc.
Here are a few sample questions to give you a better feel for how I write questions:
Sample question 1: multi-choice
Fox News recently reported that a new study has found that over 66% of pregnant women who ate spicy food during their 9th month went into labor within two days. The Fox reporters concluded that pregnant women who want to initiate labor should eat spicy food. Based on what we discussed in class, why is this conclusion problematic?
(a) the reporters expected spicy food to work before they read the study
(b) spicy food is harmful to the developing baby
(c) there is no baserate/comparison information
(d) Fox News has a bad habit of misreading research studies
[Hint: over 99% of convicted felons eat bread at least twice a week]
Sample question 2: multi-choice
In class we defined psychology as a discipline that
(a) addresses the questions posed by the humanities using the methods of the natural sciences
(b) trains people to use psychotherapy effectively
(c) requires a minimum of 6 years of graduate training to master
(d) focuses on the experiential causes of behavior, thought, and feeling
[Hint: first and second lecture notes]
Sample question 3: short answer
Based on our discussion in lecture, discuss one problem with relying upon testimonial evidence as evidence for a claim.
[Hint: lecture on subliminal tapes]
Sample question 4: short answer
Why is falsifiability an important feature of a "good theory"?
[Hint: Stanovich text]
Feb 11, 2003
The grades for the first exam have been posted. See the link below in the schedule.
March 10, 2003
Big project announced in lecture. See lecture notes for March 10 for more information. The link to the class exercise is http://p032.psch.uic.edu/cgi-bin/psch242/begin.pl.
March 12, 2003
The grades for the second exam have been posted. See the link below in the schedule. We have also posted quiz grades 1 - 5.
April 9, 2003
Based on an in-class vote, the paper grade will count as 25% of your quiz grade instead of your section grade.
April 13, 2003
Assignments have been made for the weather extra-credit assignment that was discussed in Wed's April 9th class. As I mentioned in class, assignments were made on a first-come, first-serve basis. I e-mailed people their assignments. If you did not receive an e-mail from me, then someone else e-mailed me regarding your preferred weather outlet first.
April 16, 2003
By request I have posted the answer key to the quizes. Please use these to study for the final exam. The quizes and answers are available as a PowerPoint file here.
April 21, 2003
I have a few new announcements; I'll discuss these in class on Wed.
1. If you are working on the weather assignment, please send me whatever information you have collected to date. There is no need to collect additional information as of April 21, 2003. If you were given a weather assignment and you did not do it, you will receive "anti-credit" because, by volunteering for the assignment, you took away someone else's opportunity.
2.If you have a final exam conflict with this class (the exam date is Tuesday May 6th 10:30-12:30), please e-mail me before Friday (April 25th) and let me know that you have a conflict. Alternate exams will be given on Tuesday May 6th at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00. I can only allow 4 people per time slot, so please e-mail me and let me know which time slot you would like for me to reserve for you. If you don't e-mail me by Friday, April 25th, I cannot assure you a make up exam; it is your responsibility to contact me as soon as possible and reserve a time slot. Note: You can only schedule a make up for this exam if the class with which it conflicts is alphabetically listed after this one in the Spring 2003 Timetable. For example, if this test conflicts with a biology test, you must take this test and reschedule your biology final. If this test conflicts with a zoology test, you must take the zoology test and reschedule this one.
As discussed in class today, there is a final homework assignment that is due on Monday April 28th. To learn more about the assignment, please visit the following link: http://p032.psch.uic.edu/cgi-bin/psch242/homework.pl.
The critical thinking assignment on the war is graded. Please click here for details on the grading, the grades, and how to get your paper back.
All of the grades to date have been posted here.
If you're scheduled to take a make-up final exam, please meet me in my office: 1050 "A" BSB at the time that I e-mailed you.
We will try to post the final grades for the course on-line as soon as possible--hopefully by Wed. at noon.
to: schedule | updates | top
and Web Notes
Note: You can access web versions of the class overheads by clicking on the links below. This schedule is tentative, and will be revised online as we progress through the semester.
Lecture 2 (Jan 15,
2003): Five Limitations of Personal Experience
Jan 20 : Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday | no class
Lecture 3 (Jan 22,
2003): The Scientific Process: The Importance of Systematic Observation
and the Testing and Revision of Ideas
Lecture 4 (Jan 27,
2003): Science and Pseudo-science: The Case of Subliminal Recordings
Lecture 5 (Jan 29,
2003): Credibility, Accountability, and the Way Inconsistent Information
is Handled: The Case of the Rev. Benny Hinn
Discussion Section # 1 (Jan 27/29): Assignment
# 2 (Feb 3/5): Homework: Article on Elizabeth Targ
and the healing power of prayer
Lecture 6 (Feb 5,
2003): Psychological Measurement and Scales of Measurement: What does
it mean to measure a psychological variable?
Lecture 7 (Feb 10,
2003): Psychological Measurement: Operational Definitions & Equivalence
Lecture 8 (Feb 12,
2003): Psychological Measurement: Operational Definitions & Multiple
Discussion Section # 3 (Feb 10/12): Overview
Lecture 9 (Feb 17,
2003): Psychological Measurement: Reliability and the Properties of Random
Lecture 10 (Feb 19,
2003): Psychological Measurement: Validity and the Properties of Systematic
Discussion Section # 4 (Feb 17/19): Overview
Lecture 11 (Feb 24,
2003): Psychological Measurement: Construct Validity
Lecture 12 (Feb 25,
2003): Obtaining Research Participants: Sampling Techniques
Discussion Section # 5 (Feb 247/26): Review for next exam
Lecture 13 (March
5, 2003): Formulating Research Questions
Lecture 14 (March
10, 2003): Answering Univariate Research Questions
#6 (Mar 10/12): Generate Research Questions for On-Line Exercise
Lecture 15 (March
12, 2003): Multivariate Descriptive Research: Standardized Scores
Lecture (March 24,
2003): War, Opinions, and Evidence: A Discussion
Discussion Section #7 (Mar 24/26): Data
Lecture 16 (March
26, 2003): Multivariate Descriptive Research: Summarizing the Relationship
between Two Continuous Variables with Correlations
Lecture 17 (March
31, 2003): Multivariate Descriptive Research: Summarizing the Relationship
between a Continuous Variable and Categorical Variables
Discussion Section #8 (Mar 31/April 2): Data
Lecture 18 (April
2, 2003): Making Inferences about Causality: Confounds, Experiments, and
Exam 3: April
7, 2003 | grades
Lecture 19 (April
9, 2003): Making Inferences about Causality: Factorial Designs, Main Effects,
Lecture 20 (April
14, 2003): Making Inferences about Causality: Sample Selection and Partial
Lecture 21 (April
16, 2003): Testing Theories: Directional and Point Predictions
Lecture 22 (April
21, 2003): Testing Theories: The Problem of Sampling Error
Lecture 23 (April
23, 2003): Psychic Readings, Astrology, and the Scientific Method
Lecture 24 (April
27, 2003): Weather Forecasting: Using the Scientific Method to Evaluate
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