Syllabus for PSY-322
RESEARCH IN EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
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:
- Explain why the scientific thinking used in psychological research is better than common sense as a means of acquiring knowledge about behavior.
- Explain the logic of the psychology experiment and describe the features of experimental methodology intended to satisfy that logic.
- Compare and contrast predictive and causal relations between variables.
- Compare and contrast manipulated and non-manipulated variables.
- Explain the problem of confounding in psychological experiments and describe methods used to minimize the problem.
- Describe ways of summarizing patterns of data.
- Explain the principle of drawing inferences from patterns of data and describe ways of measuring the confidence that should be attached to these inferences.
- Describe factors that limit the generalizing of experimental findings in psychology.
- Describe the analysis required to determine whether experimental findings are accidental.
- 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.
- Experimental Psychology, 7th ed., by Anne Myers and Christine Hansen (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/CENGAGE, 2012).
- Study Guide for Research in Experimental Psychology, ed. Elizabeth Wilson (Trenton: Thomas Edison State University, 2002).
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.
- Module 1: Scientific Methods; Ethics
- Module 2: Type of Experimental Design
- Module 3: Controlling Variables
- Module 4: Between-Subject Designs
- Module 5: Alternatives to Experiments
- Module 6: Using Statistics
- Module 7: Two Group Designs and Analyzing Results
- Module 8: Drawing Conclusions
- Module 9: Writing the Report
- Module 10: Putting It All Together
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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:
- Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find an answer.
- Copying and pasting or, in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your exams. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
- Plagiarizing answers.
- Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take an exam.
- Copying any part of an exam to share with other students.
- Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at an exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.
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.
GRADING AND EVALUATION
Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:
- Online discussions (3)—8%
- Written assignments (6)—12%
- Research project—30%
- Research Project, Step 1 (2%)
- Research Project, Step 2 (2%)
- Research Project, Step 3 (2%)
- Research Project, Step 4 (2%)
- Research Project, Step 5 (2%)
- Research Project Report (20%)
- Midterm exam (proctored online, Modules 1–5)—25%
- Final exam (proctored online, Modules 6–10)—25%
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:
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.).
STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
First Steps to Success
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
- Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.
- Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams and arrange for proctors, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State University.
- Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.
- Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.
- If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.
Consider the following study tips for success:
- To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the Course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.
- Each week, consult the appropriate Module and the Calendar to determine which chapter in the textbook you are to study. In most weeks you will also be assigned parts of the collection of previously published research papers (in the Study Guide for Research in Experimental Psychology) compiled by Elizabeth Wilson. (Some of the readings are re-assigned at several points in the course. Please read them as directed.) The Calendar indicates due dates for submitting written assignments and when you should schedule your midterm examination. It is essential that you follow the Calendar each week to ensure that you stay on track throughout the course.
- When beginning a new chapter of the text, follow this procedure: (a) Read the Chapter Objectives and the chapter introduction. If you work with the objectives in mind, you will be well prepared for the assignments and exam questions. (b) Read for understanding, highlighting terms, definitions, and examples as you read. (c) Know all the Key Terms at the end of each chapter. (d) Complete assigned Review and Study Questions. Learn from your successes and shortcomings. Pay particular attention to your mentor's comments on your assignments. In each successive assignment, try to build on and improve your previous work.
- Review for the examination. It is comprehensive and is drawn from the text and assigned readings. Be sure you know the material highlighted in the Chapter Objectives and Review and Study Questions for the chapters assigned in the Course Calendar.
- This material will lead you through the steps necessary to develop your own experimental design, perform the experiment, and write the report. One important question you will need to answer in your report is whether your results are accidental or not based on a statistical test.
- Check Announcements regularly for new course information.
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 www.tesu.edu.
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:
- Gaining or providing unauthorized access to examinations or using unauthorized materials during exam administration
- Submitting credentials that are false or altered in any way
- Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
- Forgery, fabricating information or citations, or falsifying documents
- Submitting the work of another person in whole or in part as your own (including work obtained through document sharing sites, tutoring schools, term paper companies, or other sources)
- Submitting your own previously used assignments without prior permission from the mentor
- Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others (including making tests, papers, and other course assignments available to other students, either directly or through document sharing sites, tutoring schools, term paper companies, or other sources)
- Tampering with the academic work of other students
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:
- Lower or failing grade for an assignment
- Lower or failing grade for the course
- Rescinding credits
- Rescinding certificates or degrees
- Recording academic sanctions on the transcript
- Suspension from the University
- Dismissal from the University
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