Research Methodology for the Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Rosalyn M. King

Course Syllabus


Lewandowski, G., Ciarocco, N. & Strohmetz, D. (2016). Discovering the scientist within:
 Research methods in psychology.  New York: Worth Publishers.
American Psychological Association. (2010).  Publication manual of the APA, 6th Edition.
Wash. DC: APA.

Required online Launchpad:
Research Methods in Psychology Launchpad Solo
Purchase online at:

Galvan, Jose L. (2013). Writing literature reviews. CA: Pyrczak Publishing.
Northey, Margot & Brian Timney. (2012). Making sense: A studentís guide to research. Oxford.
Orcher, L.T. (2007). Conducting a survey for the term project. CA: Pyrczak Publishing.
Pyrczak, F. and R. R. Bruce. (2011). Writing empirical research reports, 7th Edition.
 CA: Pyrczak Publishing.


This course introduces the principles and techniques of scientific and psychological research. Hopefully this course will provide you with a new way of looking at the world and behavior - through study, exploration and scientific methodology. The course will introduce you to psychological research and allow you to discover facts, examine and evaluate data, evaluate the validity of claims made by other researchers, see psychology as a science, and appreciate why many psychologists engage in scientific research.

This course will result in your becoming an inquiring investigator and will show you how to do some of the following:  generate good research ideas; effectively use the library and other archival and online sources; understand and use the American Psychological Association (APA) format; search the psychological literature and read scholarly journal articles; understand the ethics of psychological research and how to test subjects ethically; become familiar with some of the most common research designs, such as experimental and quasi-experimental approaches and descriptive and field approaches;  manipulate and measure variables; collect data objectively; maximize internal, external and construct validity; choose the right research design for your particular research question; analyze data, interpret results and communicate your findings.

My goal is to have you learn the concepts and mechanics of research, understand how to design and apply methodologies and get a hands-on experience at conducting research.  You also will learn how to communicate your findings in writing and orally.


This class will be an interactive class with some lecture, much discussion, individual, and group work, computer applications, Internet exploration, journaling, video presentations, peer assessments and student presentations.  Students will have the option of working on independent research projects or as part of a team or group. Should you decide to work in teams or groups - at least 1 part of each section of the research project must be independently developed by each team member.  You may choose which sections you want to independently draft (see products under Arequired assignments@). You will plan, implement, and develop your research project either independently or with your assigned team member.  

Classes will meet weekly and some class meetings will consist primarily of planning or implementing your research. A detailed class schedule is attached outlining topics of discussion, chapter assignments, other written assignments and assignment dates.


During the course of the semester, you will be responsible for sequentially developing the component parts of a research paper leading up to the final draft, while reading and learning about research methodology for the behavioral sciences.  In addition, you will be required to make a formal presentation in a research symposium at the conclusion of the semester.  Descriptions of the assignments follow.

I. Define Research Framework** Graded, 25 Points.
(Topic, Problem Statement, Questions, and Hypothesis Statement)

In conjunction with the class discussions, your textbook readings, library assignments, and assigned class activities, you will be responsible for brainstorming and generating a notebook of research ideas that should lead to your defining a framework and topic for your research project. This assignment will serve as the initial partial draft of the introduction and overview to your final research report.

II. Complete Introduction Chapter of Research Paper ** Graded, 25 Points.
(Introduction and Background, Statement of the Problem, Purpose of Study, Major Research Questions & Sub Questions, Hypothesis Statement, Theoretical Framework, Significance of Study, Definition of Terms, Assumptions and Delimitations of Study, Organization of Research Report)

In conjunction with your reading on your specific topic, your handouts, textbook and class lectures and discussions, you will develop a framework and basis for your research. This will begin your opening section of your research paper. The introduction will include an overview of the research, the issues and background that prompted your interest in exploring the topic and undertaking the research and a statement of the problem. This section also will include the purpose of your study, the theoretical foundation of your research, the research question and sub questions, definition of terms and limitations.

III. Develop Outline of Review of Related Literature and References ** Graded, 25 Points

During your library visit, you will learn much about searching the periodical literature through online databases.  You should use this time to search for related journal articles and studies pertaining to your research topic.  In this assignment, you will be asked to review and read the literature about your topic and develop your outline for the review of the related literature, along with identification of the reference sources and studies you will use or have identified up to this point.  Your list of references should be properly formatted using the APA format and placed on a References page at the end of your outline.  You will also learn how to develop a preliminary outline of your total paper in order to understand how the review of literature fits into the overall paper.

IV. Complete Review of Related Literature Chapter **Graded, 25 Points

You will be responsible for conducting the archival research and producing the first part of your final research report - a review of the related literature.  The first part of the course will focus on effective techniques for developing good literature reviews. The literature review allows the researcher to learn about similar or related studies conducted by other researchers, including their specific questions or areas of study, their methodologies, what they discovered, as well as their recommendations for future study.  This is an important part of any research.

V. Develop Research Design and Data Analysis Plan    **Graded, 25 Points

During the course of the semester, you will also learn how to design a research study, how to select subjects (if applicable), and how to select the appropriate data collection and analysis strategies.  You may also have to develop your instrumentation.  This assignment will permit you to think and plan very carefully about how you will approach your research questions.  The design plan will include your research question(s), your testable hypotheses, your proposed methodologies, whether the development of instruments such as questionnaires, interview schedules, etc. are necessary, (and if possible, a draft version of the respective instrument or some notions about the types of variables that will be included), your sampling plan, and your plan for how data will be analyzed.  This plan should also speculate or envision how data will be presented and what kinds of data.

VI. Research Paper Presentation**Graded, 50 Points
(Written Presentation of Research Findings)

Your research implementation and the written presentation of your analysis and findings is the final product for the evaluation of the research skills gained in this course.  Therefore, you should take this assignment very seriously.  The findings yielded from this research will be presented in written and oral form.  Two parts of your research paper will already be completed your review of the related
literature section and your methodological approach.  They should be revised or modified and included in your final paper.  The remainder of this research paper should consist of your analysis of data collected and interpretations and presentation of the data.  Further, you should include recommendations for further study.

You can also include in an appendix any attachments you wish to show your peers and readers.  Finally, you must include a list of references.  Your papers will be read and evaluated by your instructor and your classmates.  However, the instructor will provide the final assessment grade.  More will be said about the development of this research paper during the course of the semester.

VIII. Oral Presentation of Research Project ** Graded, 25 Points
(Presentation in Research Symposium)

You will formally present your research findings to a panel of professionals and your peers at the research symposium. Your oral presentation will be evaluated by your professor using a set of criteria.  You will present your research and findings to invited professionals who will dialogue and question you about your project.

IX. Launchpad Portal Research in Action Modules **Graded, 80 Points (5 points each)

You will have the opportunity to interact with an online Launchpad portal designed to provide you with direct experiences in planning and designing research studies. The Research in Action modules put you in the role of a scientific investigator and asks you to make decisions in planning and executing research studies from idea to results to writing.  There is a related module that accompanies every textbook topic designed to allow you to get additional practice as homework.

X. Reflection and Assessments **Graded, 20 Points (4 points each)

At four points during the semester, you will have the opportunity to reflect on the research process, summarize your understanding and ask questions. The Constructing Meaning and Understanding Assessment Form is attached in your detailed working syllabus. These brief reflective assessments will help you construct your own understanding of course and reading material. Check your class schedule for due dates.

At the conclusion of the semester, you will be asked to provide your overall comments and reflections on the research process and what you discovered about yourself as well as what you have learned.  More importantly, you will be asked to reflect on how you will apply the skills you have learned this semester.


             Your papers are to be submitted in typewritten form. Page lengths for each product will vary.  Overall, you should try to limit your literature review to no more than 10 pages, your research design and analysis plan to no more than 10 pages and your final research paper to no more than 20-25 pages. Therefore it is imperative that you and your team work diligently to be as concise as possible. You have some flexibility with the first two written assignments, but by the time you develop the final research paper, you should be able to be more concise.

Of course, it is required that you use the official American Psychological Association (APA) format for all papers and assignments due in this course.  You will learn this format in class, but in addition, several APA reference manuals are located in the library at the reference desk on the 2nd floor and on reserve on the 3rd floor.  

A copy of the format also is housed in the Writing Center.  The source is entitled: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (Sixth Edition).  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association (2010). Your instructor also has 3 or 4 other reference manuals for writing research papers on reserve (under my name) in the library for your use.

Plagiarism: Be careful not to plagiarize.  Any information presented that is taken directly from a source should be credited to that author and/or source in a reference citation in the text of your paper.  All sources taken from the Internet should be appropriately cited.  The APA Style online tutorials provide instruction on how to cite Internet sources.

Regarding Sources from the Internet: You may not solely use the Internet for the sources used in your paper, unless these are from scholarly online journals.  Internet sources may not amount to more than half the sources you use in your paper.  The professor strongly recommends that you carefully screen the articles you select from the Internet for their validity and credibility.  While the Internet is an invaluable resource, there are many reports there that are not credible. If you are unclear about an article=s validity, please check with your instructor before using it.  

Proofread your papers before submission.  Please do this and check for typographical, grammatical, and spelling errors before submitting the final version to your instructor.  Working in teams should eliminate many errors you are encouraged to run your papers through spell check and SafeAssign to make sure you do not violate ethical standards in writing and citing sources.  Points will be deducted for typographical and spelling errors and violations related to citation of sources.  

All papers should include a cover page, with your teams= names, name of course, instructors name, semester and year, date of submission, and topic and type of research paper. Papers must be submitted on the due dates.  No late papers will be accepted. Please allow 2 weeks for the return of papers, but your instructor will get feedback to you as quickly as possible.

All papers will be read and evaluated based on a set of criteria and a point system totaling 100 points.  Criteria will include: organization and format; clarity and quality of content; research methodology used; effectiveness and clarity of research implementation; documentation of data sources, review and discussion of literature, analysis procedures used and clarity and logic of research findings and presentation.


Students are expected to attend all class sessions except in cases of emergency (e.g., illness, death in the family), the advent of religious holidays - the observance of which requires restriction of daily activity), or when participating in official college functions (e.g., field trips or other designated events).  In these cases, you are to inform the instructor prior to missing class indicating the reason you will miss class. In the case of absence for special personal reasons other than those mentioned, it is your responsibility to confer with the instructor about whether the absence is to be considered as excused.  You will be penalized for an excessive number of absences. You cannot pass this class without being in attendance.  

Attendance will be factored into all grades.  Points will be deducted from the total grade for persons with poor class attendance and you will be advised to drop the class. If you are working with a team mate, that person also will be keeping up with your attendance and participation in distributing and carrying out essential tasks for the research project. It is important that you are accountable and responsible to your research team members.  Being on time for class also is important.


For this course you are responsible for 1 product with 6 components, leading up to your research paper. Your course grade will be determined by converting the points earned into percentages, adding the raw scores from these assignments and finding the average score.  Your instructor may also assign your final grade based on the overall quality of your final research paper regardless of points earned during the semester, if final quality is higher.

Teams or groups will receive the same grade unless a member of the group report that a student member did not contribute equally.  Therefore, if your team receives a grade of 80 on a submitted assignment, each individual on the team will receive this grade.  It is therefore extremely important that you carefully interview and select all team members, and that you work cooperatively and seriously.  It is important to submit every assignment and make every grade.  Missing any grade assignment can result in your failing this course.   The grading system is as follows: 100-90 = A; 89-80 = B; 79-70 = C; 69-60 = D; 59 & below = F.


You can receive up to 5 bonus points to be added to your final average at the end of the semester for your participation in a variety of related class activities during the semester.  The instructor distributes bonus points for some of the following: perfect attendance; very good attendance (missing no more than 3 classes), class participation, submitting home assignments, outstanding and innovative class presentations, class summaries, etc.


Research Symposium
Students will be required to participate in a research symposium at the end of the semester where you will present your research methods and findings to guest faculty and other professionals.  Research papers or abstracts of research papers will be distributed to all class members and your classmates will provide peer comments and evaluation of research projects.  Students from the campus and other guests may be invited.  Students may also opt to submit their research for publication in a scholarly journal either as a team of students or through joint authorship with the instructor.

Class Summaries and Presentations
Students will be asked to volunteer (or randomly selected) to summarize the activities and discussion of the previous class based on their notes, understanding or analysis.  This summary will take place at the beginning of each class.  Students may also be asked to make special presentations.  Group presentations may also be a part of class.

Creating an Ideal Learning Environment
I am confident that you will make every effort to help create a warm, friendly, courteous, and positive learning environment for all.   Please turn off cell phones and take your hat off when entering the classroom.  Talking with classmates during class lectures and discussion will not be tolerated. This is disruptive and disrespectful to your instructor and your classmates. Thank you for doing your part to make this course exciting, stimulating and fun!

 Download Psy 211 Documents Below:

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 Class Schedule

 Detailed Topical Overview and Working Syllabus-Revised

 Overview of Graded Assignment

 Individual Summary of Graded Assignments

 First Day Agenda