Becoming a Psychology Scholar
as part of its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.
This assignment is a term project for Introductory Psychology students. Students will begin the project at the start of a term and complete the final research paper by the end of term. Students are expected to research a specific topic in psychology, write a brief literature review on the topic, generate a research question based on their literature review, design a research study to answer their research question, collect data, and write a research report that includes data analysis.
- read primary sources from peer-reviewed research journals
- define concepts and terms
- summarize and evaluate the research methods findings from the relevant research literature
- develop a research question
- define and operationalize variables
- design a simple experiment
- collect and analyze data
- write a research manuscript
Ultimately, students will understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis and interpretation. Students will use creative and critical thinking, skeptical inquiry and scientific approach to solve problems related to human behavior and mental processes.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
It is important for students to understand the research process and begin critically think about the research that they are reading about. This term assignment may seem daunting to first year students, but if students are asked to complete the assignment in stages with clear deadlines, they can complete the assignment well. Ultimately, this assignment acquaints students with primary research sources in psychology. Students learn how to read, summarize,cite, reference and evaluate the primary sources. They will then develop a research question based on their reading and design a simple research study to answer their question. Students will be asked to calculate basic descriptive statistics (e.g., means and standard deviations) and inferential statistics (e.g., t-tests). Ultimately, students will be asked to write a short research paper that includes the following components: Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Method section, Results, Discussion, References, and Appendix (i.e., SPSS spreadsheet and output).
This is the assignment description for students. A grading rubric is attached to the end of the assignment. Course Description and Grading Criteria (Microsoft Word 76kB May16 08)
This is a teaching module for students to help students understand the basic concepts in research methods. Basic Research (PowerPoint 507kB May16 08)
This is a teaching module to help students understand the importance of defining and operationalizing variables in research studies. Defining and Operationalizing Variables (PowerPoint 286kB May16 08)
This is a sample literature review. This document is from the Purdue University OWL public webite. Sample Literature from Purdue University (Acrobat (PDF) 174kB May16 08)
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
Link to Purdue's on-line writing lab