# Research Methods

## Statistics’ Murky Ethical History

A look back into the historical origins of statistics reveals surprising links to Nazis and eugenics. Check out Aubrey Clayton’s article “How Eugenics Shaped Statistics“ It’s an interesting look at statistics’ historical roots and how it’s tied to modern controversies “It’s no coincidence that the method of significance testing and the reputations of the people […]

## Activity: Let’s Make a Deal! Human Intuition vs. Empirical Reasoning

This activity utilizes an online Java applet to demonstrate the limitations of human intuition and the need for empirical reasoning when studying psychological phenomena. Click here for the activity

## Activity: A 2×3 Factorial ANOVA calculation and interpretation: From Data Through Follow-Up Tests and Conclusions

This assignment utilizes the Teach Psych Science resource Summary steps for conducting a Factorial ANOVA: From data through follow up tests and conclusions to calculate and interpret a 2X3 factorial ANOVA data set from scratch (all hand calculations). A research scenario and data are provided. Click here for the activity.

## Activity: Using SpongeBob Squarepants to Teach Observational/Archival Research and Coding of Behaviors

In this activity, students first brainstorm behaviors that might be present in a children’s TV show that could indicate aggression and cooperation. Next, they watch an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, coding specific behaviors for aggression and cooperation. They comment on the process of recording the behaviors, and whether they would recommend the show to parents.

## Activity: Personal Ads: An Archival Research Activity

This activity provides students an introduction to archival research by asking them to do a content analysis of personal ads. Click here for the assignment.

## Activity: Identifying Potential Threats to Internal Validity Using MRS SMITH

To help students remember potential sources of threats to internal validity, I use the acronym “MRS SMITH.” This resource provides a handout describing these threats as well as an activity where students need to identify these possible threats. Click here for a link to the activity.

## Activity: Mock IRB for Determining the Ethical Conduct of Psychological Research

This activity helps students apply ethical principles from class to a specific research project. Small groups of students serve as a mock Institutional Review Board (IRB) identifying problems and suggesting changes to make the application more ethically sound. Click here for a link to the assignment.

## Activity: When Does a Joke Go Too Far? Understanding the Ethical Implications of Applying Psychology Within and Beyond the Lab

This activity helps students engage the ethical issues of vulnerable populations, minimal risk, beneficence, informed consent/minors’ assent. Small groups compare Watson’s Little Albert Experiment with a Pavlovian Prank on the TV show The Office, and a news article regarding hazings/pranks.  Click here for a link to the assignment.

## Activity: Developing a Research Idea Using Headlines

Using current news headline as inspiration, this activity has students develop a research idea into a working hypothesis. Click here for a link to the assignment. Photo by Ludovica Dri on Unsplash

## Activity: Psychology in the Bookstore

This assignment has students visit a book retailer to critically evaluate the portrayal of the science of psychology in the popular media. Click here for a link to the assignment. Photo by Megan (Markham) Bucknall on Unsplash

## Activity: Using Zodiac-based Personality Descriptions to Teach about Biases in Thinking

Students are given a list of personality descriptions based on the 12 signs of the zodiac and have to choose which one best describes them. We then discuss how these personality descriptions are written vague enough to apply to many people. This activity is similar to the classic Forer effect (Forer, 1949). Forer used generalized

## Activity: Ways of Knowing There Is a Santa Claus

This activity involves students analyzing a famous editorial about the existence of Santa Claus in terms in terms of different ways of knowing (e.g., intuition, authority, logic, and the scientific method). Click here for a link to the assignment. Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

## Spearman’s Correlation Explained

Jim Frost provides a thorough explanation of Spearman’s correlation, including when to use it, how it differs from Pearson’s r, and how it’s calculated. You can find the article here.

## Article: Self-Report Vs. Behavioral Logs in the Measurement of Digital Media Use

A meta-analysis looking at the correlation (or lack thereof) of self-report measures of media use and measures that track actual behavior. This would be useful to add to a discussion of types of measurement (contrasting the strengths and weaknesses of self-report and behavioral measures. Parry, D.A., Davidson, B.I., Sewall, C.J.R. et al. (2021). A systematic review and

Measures that use fewer than 10 items are considered “short” and pose some challenges, including concerns about validity. This special issue addresses several misconceptions about these scales and offers ways to counteract potential problems. Ziegler, M., Kemper, C. J., & Kruyen, P. (2014). Short scales – Five misunderstandings and ways to overcome them [Editorial]. Journal of

## Template: Preregistration of Quantitative Study

Article discussing various aspects of preregistration with links to resources, including several different preregistration forms. You can find a copy of the paper on PsyArXiv here.

## Example Syllabus – Research Methods (A Workshop Approach)

A sample syllabus for a 200-level research methods course taught by Dr. Jennifer Tomlinson of Colgate University. Her course is innovative and hands-on (exactly what students enjoy and benefit from). As she describes in her syllabus “PSYC 200 is more “workshop” than “class.” Each meeting is designed to engage you in the kinds of puzzle