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COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Research Methods"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Paola Castelli
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30 PM 5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PS 101 and PS 208 with a grade of C-

The course is designed to improve students’ skills both as consumers and producers of science. Thus, a major goal of the course is to enhance students’ ability to read, interpret, and evaluate scientific evidence presented in academic journals, as well as evidence communicated through popular press and other media outlets. Another major goal is to develop students’ ability to produce original research. The course includes a laboratory component where students will learn to search for and locate relevant literature, formulate testable hypothesis, identify and implement the appropriate research design, and effectively communicate research findings.
Sample topics include: the role of scientific inquiry in psychology, ethics in research with human participants, reliability and validity, essential elements of research designs, writing a research report.

Minium passing grade for students enrolled for the BA in Psycholgical science: C-

Topics include: the role of scientific inquiry in psychology, ethics in research with human participants, reliability and validity, evaluating claims, essential elements of research designs, writing a research report, basics of APA style.


At the end of the course students should be able to:

1. Understand advantages and disadvantage of research methods used by psychologists. Define and explain key research concepts.

2. Identify individual and socio-cultural factors that can influence the generalizability of research findings1. 

3. Interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research.

4. Demonstrate effective writing and presentation skills including communication of quantitative data. Write using APA style.

5. Be familiar with key regulation for protection of human research participants and apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Research Methods in Psychology (4ed)Morling, BethNorton978-0-393-53628-7  
Scientific Writing for PsychologyRobert V. KailSAGE978-1-5443-0962-0  

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association : the official guide to APA style.American Psychological AssociationAPA9781433832154  
ExamsThese will allow students to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts in research methodology and their applications (goal 1 and 2). Exams will consist of some multiple choice as well as short answer questions. A Final exam will also be available to improve on a previous exam. Exams will be mostly non-cumulative although concepts from earlier sections may be included. 
LabsLab assignments are designed to allow students to review and further engage with the material by applying the concepts to practical examples 
Research ReportStudents will demonstrate their understanding of basic research methodology by writing a research proposal on a topic of their interest. The proposal will include a literature review, and a description of the materials and method to be used. The report will follow APA style guidelines. 

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Attendance is not mandatory, but it is STRONGLY recommended. Some material - such as in-depth description of studies, examples, exercises, etc. – will only be presented in class. Please try not to arrive late and/or leave early. Should you arrive late, or need to leave early, please sit in the back of the class, to avoid disrupting class.

There are more quizzes, reflections, and exams that you need even to receive the highest grade, thus, failing an assignment or even skipping one (sometimes more) will not have any significant consequence. You will also be given (limited) opportunities for revisions, or late submissions. No permission needed or excuses necessary. In light of this policy, no additional make-up will be allowed.

If you are absent on the day where a lab, or an exam is administered, that will simply be your dropped score.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.