Course Syllabus

Course: PSY 3213C, Section 0W59
Class: Research Methods in Psychology (Web Class)
Semester: Fall 2015
Professor: Dr. Michael Dunn
Office: UCF Main Campus, Psychology Building, Room 343
Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA): Jenna McGinnis
Web Hours: You may contact the Professor and/or GTA anytime through Webcourses mail.
Non-Class E-Mail:
Please use Webcourses Mail for messages pertaining to this class.

Office Hours: This is a fully web-based course. Although there are no in-person office hours except by appointment, I will always be available to you through course mail. If you need to contact me, please use Webcourses mail during the semester. If Webcourses is not available to you, you can use my regular e-mail address above, but please make sure you identify yourself as a student in PSY 3213 (I probably have 1000 students or more every year, so it helps to know which class you are from). I will typically be in my office on Fridays this semester and you are always welcome to stop by, but if you need something for class, it's always best to contact me through course mail and I’ll try to answer your question right away. If you need to see me for something, I’ll be happy to make an appointment with you.

Required Course Prerequisites:
There are three required prerequisites for this course, PSY2012, PSY 3204C, and either STA 2014C or STA 2023. You must have completed the prerequisites before taking this class. These prerequisites are necessary to be able to grasp the content in Research Methods, and there will be no exceptions to this requirement.

Course Overview and Objectives:
This course focuses on investigation of experimental designs and research methods utilized in psychology. Laboratory outcomes will be statistically analyzed and reported in APA format. This course provides an introduction to basic principles of research in psychology. After completing this course, students should know how to design and execute different types of research projects; analyze and interpret the results; and report written results using American Psychological Association (APA) style rules.

The objectives for this course are for students to become familiar with how psychologists use scientific methods to conduct ethical research aimed at describing, predicting, and influencing behavior. Students will learn how to write research reports and how to correctly cite sources of information. In addition, students will become familiar with different research designs and learn how to apply statistical tests to analyze results, interpret the results, and report findings using APA style rules.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a fully web-based course with zero face to face time. If you are the type of student who prefers to learn by reading and being quizzed anytime that is convenient for you and completing written assignments based on the material you learn, you will LOVE this class. However, if you like to see your instructor, have some interaction once in a while and be able to ask questions in person, you should seriously think about taking this class in person. Research Methods is a particularly challenging course, and in a web class, you don’t have regular opportunities to have material explained verbally or to ask questions in person about complicated course material. We teach several sections of this class in person every semester, so you can take this class in person if you are concerned about being able to comprehend very difficult material in a web class format.


Web Course Requirements/ Grading:

Required Textbook: Cozby, P. C., & Bates, S. C. (2014). Methods in Behavioral Research, 12th edition. McGraw Hill: New York, NY. This book is available through the UCF bookstore and anywhere else you may legally access this textbook.

Supplemental Text: American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition. American Psychological Association: Washington, D.C. All written assignments in this course must be completed in APA format, which is described in detail in this book. If you have not already learned to write in APA format, you will need to purchase a copy of this book. It is available through the UCF bookstore and anywhere else you may legally access this book.

Course Grade:  Your course grade will be based on online quizzes, graded assignments, and a cumulative final exam. Details on the assignments can be found in Webcourses. The graded quizzes will comprise about 60% of your grade, the assignments will comprise about 30% and the cumulative final exam will make up about 10% of your course grade. There will be a total of 15 graded quizzes, worth 20 points each, for a total of 300 points. There will be 8 graded assignments worth 20 points each, for a total of 160 points. The cumulative final exam will be worth a total of 40 points. Therefore, the entire course will include a total of 500 points.

Missed/Late Assignments:  Students are required to complete all work on time.  Quizzes and exams that are not completed before they expire will automatically receive a zero.  Assignments can be submitted up to five days after the due date, but there will be a penalty of a 10% point reduction for each day the assignment is late (e.g., a 20-point assignment submitted one day late will be penalized 2 points, two days late will be penalized 4 points, etc.).  Assignments that are not submitted within 5 days of the due date will automatically receive a zero.  

Quiz Information and Policies:
Each quiz will consist of 20 multiple-choice questions. If you find an obvious error in a question, however, please bring it to our attention by emailing the problem via course mail to the GTA. The GTA will check out these errors, consult with the instructor when needed, and correct anything that is factually wrong. On the other hand, if you thought a question was factually correct, but you found it overly tricky or vague, that is not an error that needs to be fixed. If you are ever in doubt, however, please contact the GTA, and you are always welcome to contact the instructor as well. You also have the opportunity to ask questions stimulated by quiz questions. If you have questions about any aspect of the material, you can post the question on the Discussion page on the class website, or ask the question directly through course mail sent to the GTA or Instructor.

Quizzes will consist of a random selection of items from the publisher's test bank. You will have 20 minutes to complete each quiz. That should give you enough time to carefully consider each question, but not enough time to look up the answers in the book. Keep in mind, doing anything to avoid learning the material for the quizzes is going to make your task of preparing for the cumulative final that much more difficult. You are free to use your book or notes when you take the graded quizzes, but the time limit will require you to have committed enough of the material to memory to be able to answer most questions without looking them up. Attempting to access the test bank for this textbook, or searching for questions electronically, are both forms of academic dishonesty and are forbidden.
Please note that every quiz expires at 11:59 PM on its closing date. Refer to the schedule or calendar for more information about the quizzes and final exam.

There are practice quizzes on the same page as the graded quizzes (the practice quizzes sometimes appear at the very bottom of the page). The questions on the practice quizzes are drawn from the same pool as the graded quizzes. After you have read and studied a particular chapter, take the practice quiz on that chapter to help you assess your preparedness for the graded quiz. The practice quizzes also help you understand what the questions will be like on the graded quiz, and because all the questions are randomly selected from the same pool of questions, you might get some of the same questions on your practice quiz and on your graded quiz!

Quiz Policies: The course is designed for you to read and study a chapter a week and take quizzes on the chapters. Through past experience, however, we have learned that having quizzes available to you for less than 1-week leads to occasional problems with students completing the quizzes (e.g., technical problems, medical emergencies, family emergencies, inability to get online from foreign countries, etc.). Therefore, each quiz will be made available for as long as possible.

With the exception of the syllabus and chapter 1 quizzes, all other quizzes will be opened by the end of the second week, and at least one quiz will expire each week as noted on the schedule. If you keep up with the schedule, you will complete quizzes before they expire, which will give you extra time to deal with any emergencies that arise. Also, if you know you have to travel or you have an event coming up, you can work ahead. See the course schedule for more information.

You are strongly encouraged to keep up with the work and take your quizzes every week by the “due” date. Do not wait until the date that quizzes expire. If you get behind, you won't have the opportunity to postpone your coursework if you have a life emergency. PLEASE NOTE: As stated above, you CAN have more than a week to complete any individual quiz, but only if you keep up with the schedule. I have been teaching web classes in this format for almost 15 years, and students love it. Actually, most students love it. Even though I repeat this information more than once in the class materials, there always seem to be a few students who just don't grasp this important point. Just because the final expiration date on a graded quiz may be later than the date the quiz is listed on the schedule as “due,” that does not mean you should wait until the day the quiz expires! Please, please, please keep up with the schedule. If you keep up with the “due” dates, you are likely to be quite satisfied with the workload in this course, the amount you feel you learn in this course, and the grade you earn in this course. Also very important to understand: Because we are giving you this opportunity to have the maximum amount of time to complete the graded quizzes, quiz deadlines will not be extended for any reason and there will be no make-ups for quizzes. Quizzes that are not taken by their expiration deadline will automatically be scored as zero.

After the first quiz (the syllabus quiz), the rest of the quizzes are based on the content chapters in the textbook as you can see on the schedule. The syllabus quiz, however, will be unique in two important ways. This quiz will not cover content in the textbook and will be focused solely on the course syllabus and the rest of the course policies and procedures noted on this website. The second unique characteristic of the first quiz is that you will be able to take the syllabus quiz as many times as you want, and we will only keep your highest score! So there is no reason for any student to achieve anything lower than a perfect score on the syllabus quiz. After the syllabus quiz, the rest of the quizzes will be based on the textbook and will be graded as noted above.

As of Fall 2014, all faculty members are required to document students' academic activity at the beginning of each course. In order to document that you began this course, you are required to complete an academic activity by the end of the first week of classes (or as soon as possible after adding the course). The required academic activity will be your syllabus quiz. Your syllabus quiz must be completed at least once by August 28, 2015 at 5:00 pm. Failure to do so may result in a delay in the disbursement of your financial aid or other administrative problems.
After the first quiz that is based solely on the syllabus and other course rules and policies, you will only have one attempt to complete each subsequent quiz for the rest of the semester.

Cumulative Final Exam:
The final will consist of 40 multiple-choice questions, worth 1 point each. These questions will also be selected from the publisher's test bank, and the exam will be cumulative. You will have 45 minutes to complete the final exam.
The final exam will be taken online just like the weekly quizzes. The final exam will be made available online to complete from December 9th through December 15th, at 11:59 pm. You must take the final exam during this time frame.

Extra Credit:
You will have the opportunity to earn up to 5 points of extra credit through participation in Psychology Department research projects. Students are welcome to participate online or in person, but keep in mind; there is a different formula for allocating points for participating based on the format of participation, online or in person. In other words, fully online participation requires more time participating to earn the same amount of extra credit as can be earned by participating in person. Rules and procedures are described in detail on the website used for scheduling participation.

Each student can participate for up to 5 raw SONA points, and each raw SONA point will translate to one quiz point. Please note that the raw SONA points earned for each study are predetermined by the researchers. It is also important to note that if you choose to participate in an in-person study on campus and you fail to show for your appointment, there may be consequences. This is part of the SONA system and is automatic, so don't let it happen. Always call at least 48 hours in advance if you cannot make your appointment.

To view the various opportunities and to sign up, visit the website our department uses to manage participation at

Calculating Grades:
You can calculate your course grade by following these steps:
1. Add all of your quiz scores, your assignment grades, your final exam score, and SONA extra credit points earned.
2. Take that sum (number calculated in #1) and divide by 500.
3. Multiply the new number (calculated in #2) by 100.
Use the table below to convert your percentage (calculated in #3) into a letter grade:

Percentage Letter Grade
90-100 A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
less than 60% F

Absolutely everything in this class is completed online. You will never have to show up in person anywhere to complete any of the quizzes, the final, or anything else in this class. The quizzes and the final exam can be completed at any time of the day or night during their time of availability. We can do this because each quiz that each student takes is a different, random selection of questions. Therefore, students cannot share the quiz questions with other students, thereby cheating and giving an unfair advantage to some. Any attempt to share quiz or exam questions with other students is an act of academic dishonesty and will not be tolerated (see the statement on academic dishonesty at the end of the syllabus).

Make-Up Quizzes and Exams:
There will be no make-up exams or quizzes. Well-documented, life-threatening emergencies will be handled on an individual basis. But keep in mind that we are giving you a window of several weeks to complete most of the quizzes. Therefore, emergencies will need to be longer than one week to even be considered. Technical problems will never qualify as an emergency. There is ample access to the web on all UCF campuses and at libraries, coffee shops, and photocopy stores throughout the world. Therefore, even if you have a fatal emergency with your computer, you can continue your course on campus or by accessing another computer. If you do not complete a quiz before it expires for ANY reason, you will receive a zero for that quiz. Please help the semester go smoothly by planning ahead, taking responsibility for your work and your behavior, and taking all the quizzes by the “due” date, and working ahead if you know you have an upcoming event, trip, or anything else predictable. Please don't wait until the day anything expires.

MOST IMPORTANT: Keep up with the schedule for the quizzes by taking the quizzes each week and completing them by the expected date, not the date they expire. If you wait until a quiz is about to expire before you take that quiz, you will have fallen behind the schedule. Don't let that happen. Last, and most important of all, try to enjoy the process of learning. 

PLEASE NOTE: The “closing date” for a quiz or assignment does NOT imply that this is the due date for each task. The closing date should be interpreted as the last possible opportunity to submit a quiz or assignment. In order to successfully complete this course, it is highly recommended that you read chapters using the weekly schedule, and complete quizzes by due dates and before quizzes finally close on Webcourses (final closing is at the end of the “quiz availability” time listed on the quiz schedule). Waiting until the last few hours prior to the quiz closing time leaves you open to problems with internet connectivity and other technical issues that will prevent you from submitting on time. As stated above, late quizzes will receive a grade of 0.

***Your Syllabus quiz must be attempted at least once before Friday, August 28, 2015 at 5:00 pm.  However, as students are able to add courses to their schedule until this same date, the syllabus quiz will be reopened and then will close permanently on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 11:59 pm.  This quiz will not be reopened once it is closed on the 1st.***






Week 1


Syllabus: Read and complete quiz

Plagiarism Reading and Assignment

08/28/2015 5PM***



08/24/2015 – 09/01/2015

Assignment expires 09/05/15

Week 2


Chapter 1: Scientific Understanding of Behavior


08/31/2015 – 09/08/2015

Week 3


Chapter 2: Where to Start

Lab 1: Literature Reviews



08/31/2015 – 09/15/2015

Week 4


Chapter 3: Ethics in Behavioral Research


08/31/2015 – 09/22/2015

Week 5


Chapter 4: Fundamental Research Issues

Lab 2: Operational Definitions and Experimental Design



08/31/2015 – 09/29/2015


Week 6


Chapter 5: Measurement Concepts


08/31/2015 – 10/06/2015

Week 7


Chapter 6: Observational Methods

Lab 3: Applying Observational Methods



08/31/2015 – 10/13/2015

Week 8


Chapter 7: Asking People About Themselves: Survey Research


08/31/2015 – 10/20/2015

Week 9


Chapter 8: Experimental Design

Lab 4: Creating a Survey



08/31/2015 – 10/27/2015

Week 10


Chapter 9: Conducting Experiments


08/31/2015 – 11/03/2015

Week 11


Chapter 10: Complex Experimental Designs

Lab 5: Designing Studies



08/31/2015 – 11/10/2015

Week 12


Chapter 11: Single Case, Quasi-Experimental, and Developmental Research


08/31/2015 – 11/17/2015

Week 13


Chapter 12: Understanding Research Results: Description and Correlation

Lab 6: Understanding Research Results




08/31/2015 – 11/24/2015

08/31/2015 – 11/24/2015

Week 14


Chapter 13: Understanding Research Results: Statistical Inference




08/31/2015 – 12/01/2015

11/01/2015 – 12/01/2015

Week 15


Chapter 14: Generalization

 Lab 7: Interpreting Results



08/31/2015 – 12/08/2015


Week 16


Cumulative Final


12/9/2015 – 12/15/2015


Academic Dishonesty
I have a zero tolerance policy for academic dishonesty of any kind. Academic dishonesty is an extremely serious offense. Any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty in the completion of this course will immediately fail the course. In addition, as required by university policy, the student will be referred to the UCF Office of Student Conduct for additional consequences which often include expulsion from the university. I think it is important for students to understand how serious, and potentially permanent, the consequences are for academic dishonesty. There are no second chances. Appeal to a higher authority is always an option for a student, however, students should understand that there is no higher authority that will change the failing grade earned by a student for academic dishonesty.

I hope that all of you understand the boundaries of honest behavior. Unfortunately, I have encountered a few students over the years who did not understand the boundaries, and I think it is worth taking a few minutes to help everyone understand where the boundaries lie. As noted in the syllabus above, any attempt to access the source for the quiz and exam questions is a blatant act of academic dishonesty. Likewise, any attempt to share questions with other students is dishonest. Finally, any attempt to search electronic resources for answers to quiz or exam questions is dishonest.

Plagiarism is a blatant act of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is taking the written work of someone else without appropriately crediting the source. The technology widely available to us makes it almost impossible for a student to plagiarize the work of another without detection. At UCF, it has become routine, sometimes even required, to submit written work of students to an electronic system for detecting similarity between the student’s writing and any other written work. I wish we did not have to bother with this kind of thing, but it has become a necessity. The availability of electronic resources through the internet to obtain documents and sections of documents that can be easily pasted into a student’s own paper have made plagiarism much too tempting. Please heed my warning for this class and all your future classes. It’s not worth the price of getting caught, and getting caught has become almost a foregone conclusion.

I assume that every new student in each of my classes is going to complete the course honestly. Please don’t interpret any of this information about academic dishonesty as any kind of judgment about any of you. Academia is one of the few places left where we have the opportunity to expect, and assume, the best from each student. That is my steadfast approach to teaching, and I don’t plan to change. For those who would consider taking advantage of my assuming the best in everyone, it is only fair to provide the following warning. Any student who submits work that is not theirs, through plagiarism or any other method, will immediately receive a failing grade for the course. This is the promise I make to all of you who complete your work honestly, those who don’t will fail.

So what is academic dishonesty? Again, I think most of you understand this quite clearly. However, to make sure we are all on the same page, I’ll provide a few definitions and examples. I have already mentioned plagiarism. I’ll expand on that concept by saying that changing a couple of words in each sentence of something written by someone else is still plagiarism, and is always caught and identified by the electronic comparison tool. Plagiarism is an extremely serious offense, and University students who plagiarize the written work of others have committed a clear act of academic dishonesty. In addition to plagiarism, academic dishonesty includes any other attempt to avoid completing class work yourself or accepting assistance from anyone else in completing graded work. Therefore, anyone who lets someone else help them answer any questions on graded quizzes or the final exam, anyone who lets someone else login as them to complete any graded work including quizzes and exams, anyone who lets someone else complete any part of the written work including Research Review Papers, and anyone who uses electronic resources to search for answers to questions on quizzes or exams, has committed a clear act of academic dishonesty.

If anyone has any questions about academic dishonesty, you are always welcome to ask myself or the TA for this class. Other than answering any questions you may have, I hope we don’t have to revisit this topic later in the semester for any of you. I’ve tried to make the class fair, with a very reasonable amount of work. I want you to enjoy the process of beginning to learn about Psychology. It’s a subject that has fascinated me since I took my own Introductory Psychology class at the University of Washington in Seattle about a million years ago (seems like a million, but it was really about 1983). I hope you enjoy it too.

A Few Things to Remember Along the Way:
• Top Secret …....... In the next few sentences, I'll tell you the way to come as close as possible to a guarantee of success in this class. Keep up with the graded quizzes and work ahead when the opportunity comes. As soon as you begin the coursework, the end of the semester will seem to be right around the corner. Don't put anything off. Tear into the work right away. We release all the requirements for the course (except the final exam) after the first week so you can work ahead as much as you want. Take advantage of that opportunity to put the graded quizzes behind you asap. Then you can spend the remaining time preparing for the final exam, and you won't run out of time for anything.
• Graded Quizzes: Quizzes are designed to assess the degree to which you have learned the material, NOT to trick you. We try to remove any questions that are unnecessarily vague or misleading, but a few always seem to slip through, just a few. If you come across any graded questions that are factually incorrect, please let us know and we will resolve the situation appropriately.
• It is often helpful to seek assistance with general study skills - the Student Academic Resource Center (SARC) is a good resource for this (and it's free). Please do not wait until you are in danger of failing the course to seek help. Also, in the event that you experience any personal difficulties throughout the semester (or any time in your academic career), the Counseling and Testing Center on campus offers individual and group counseling that is free of charge for UCF students. Call 407-823-2811 for an appointment.
• If you experience any difficulty, contact us as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to help you during the semester. At the end of the semester, however, our options for helping you are limited. The earlier you seek help, the better.

A final Tidbit: It's easy to get wrapped up in anxiety about keeping up, getting good grades, etc. Please try to remember to enjoy yourself! Much of the course material is relevant to numerous areas of "real life." Let's try not to miss the forest for the trees.



Course Summary:

Date Details Due