Research Methods in Psychology – Psy 2040 and Psy 2040P

 Miguel Roig, Ph.D.

Email:  Phone: 718-390-4513

OFFICE HOURS: My office is in DaSilva Hall, Room 338. I am in school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and my official office hours are between 7:00 and 9:00 AM on Tuesdays and Fridays. However, I am often available on Wednesdays before lab and on Fridays I usually stay until about 4:00 PM.

REQUIRED TEXTS: Stangor, C. Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences, 4th ed. Paperback edition. Wadsworth.  

Your previous statistics textbook: Jaccard, J. & Becker, M. A. (2002). Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. 4th Ed., Wadsworth or an equivalent text will likely be needed for consultation.

There will be other reading materials that will either be distributed in class or that will be accessible through the library.


This course will explore the basic methods of psychological research. Many of the facts that you have learned and will learn throughout your studies in psychology come from original, empirical research findings published in professional journals. It is important, therefore, that as you progress in the study of psychology (or any scientific field of study) that you learn to read and write research papers and to be able to make an informed decision regarding the quality of the research and the relevance of the results to the issues of interest. Thus, in this course, we will examine several methods used to conduct research in psychology, and in the Practicum you will collect some of your own data, analyze, interpret, and report the results of your investigations in APA-style (American Psychological Association) research reports.




Goal I. Demonstrate understanding of research methods in psychology.

A. Students will be able to describe the basic characteristics of the science of psychology.

B. Students will be able to explain different research methods used by psychologists.

C. Students will be able to evaluate the appropriateness of conclusions derived from psychological research.

D. Students will be able to design and conduct basic studies to address psychological questions using appropriate research methods.

E. Students will be able to follow the APA Code of Ethics in the treatment of human and nonhuman

participants in the design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of psychological research.

F. Students will be able to generalize research conclusions appropriately based on parameters of particular research methods.


Goal II. Demonstrate critical thinking skills in psychology.

A. Students will be able to use critical thinking effectively.

B. Students will be able to engage in creative thinking.          

C. Students will be able to use reasoning to recognize, develop, defend, and criticize arguments and other persuasive appeals.


Goal III. Demonstrate effective application of psychology.

A. Students will be able to describe major applied areas of psychology (e.g. clinical, counseling, industrial/organizational, school, health).

B. Students will be able to apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings as these relate to everyday life.


Goal IV. Demonstrate effective communication of psychological constructs.

A. Students will be able to demonstrate effective writing skills in various formats (e.g. essays, correspondence, technical papers, note taking) and for various purposes (e.g. informing, defending, explaining, persuading, arguing, teaching).

B. Students will be able to demonstrate effective oral communication skills in various formats (e.g. group discussion, debate, lecture) and for various purposes (e.g. informing, defending, explaining, persuading, arguing, teaching).

C. Students will be able to exhibit quantitative literacy.


EXAMS: 50% - based upon 2 examinations (midterm-25% and a final exam-25%) from textbook readings, handouts, and class material.

COURSE PORTFOLIO: 5%  - All assignments and any other course-related problems, including lab assignments, that you complete as part of the course or on your own will be organized in a 3-ring binder and handed in during the day of the final. The grade for this component is somewhat subjective and will be based on the amount, quality, and level of organization of the work that you present, as well as evidence of the extent to which feedback from earlier assignments and class discussions is incorporated into later assignments.

END-OF-SEMESTER PAPER: 20% - based on a paper that will be completed toward the end of the semester. The paper will consist of a traditional empirical paper written in APA style that includes an introduction, method, results, discussion, references, graphs and/or tables of data.

PRACTICUM: 25% - Based on the successful completion of lab projects that will consist of data collection, statistical calculations by hand and by the use of SPSS software, and APA-style reports of these analyses.   


1.  For the practicum (lab), you should expect to receive lab assignments on a regular basis. In most cases, the assignments will come in the form of handouts that will be distributed during class or via e-mail. Assignments will vary in length and complexity. However, as we go through the course, they will become progressively more complex, particularly after the midterm examination. Except where indicated, each assignment is due on the following class meeting. 

2. You should do your readings, lab assignments and any other work as soon as I assign it. Late submissions will be penalized, without exception (see formula below). In the event that I forget to ask for an assignment on the date that it is due, YOU are held responsible to hand it in and to do so at the end of class. I ONLY accept assignments via e-mail or fax (718-390-4347) if the student expects to be absent on the day an assignment is due. In those situations, the assignment may be e-mailed or faxed to me before its due date with the time stamp that indicates that it has been sent before the end class. If the automatic time stamp indicates a later time of delivery, the assignment will be marked late.

3. Attendance and punctuality are extremely important in this course. Active and responsible participation is encouraged, as it will greatly facilitate the learning process, however, class participation per se is not going to be formally graded (or the lack of it penalized). Class participation constitutes asking a question or making a comment when the student raises his or her hand and the instructor calls on the student. During lectures, no other interaction between students will be tolerated. I reserve the right to dismiss from class any student who, in my view, is disruptive. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to obtain class notes from your peers. On the day of the absence, before the absence or when feasible, contact me to obtain any assignments. You are not to make copies of another student’s assignment because in some cases each student will receive a slightly different assignment. Please note that I do not repeat lecture material.

4. The assigned readings should be done on time as doing so will enable you to come prepared to class, to ask intelligent questions, and to make intelligent comments. When asking questions or making comments please raise your hand and wait until I call on you. Note that the following words/phrases are not to be used in this course: prove, proven, society, like a, sort of, you know. Be sure to use the terms hypothesis and theory correctly (see also below).

5. You will need an electronic calculator with at least the following functions: square root, squaring operation, n!, additional memories (optional), and the capability to handle large numbers. You should bring your calculator and books to class EVERYDAY.

6. Do not submit any type of plastic, paper, or any other type of covers for your assignments or for the paper. When necessary, all work must be neat and stapled at approximately 45 degrees from the top and left edge of the paper. No assignment will be accepted if the papers are not stapled or if they are submitted on ripped paper from spiral- or any other type of binders or notebooks. Also, be mindful of the fact that paper is derived from trees and that trees are a treasured resource. Use 2 sides of a sheet whenever possible alter the margins (except for APA style papers) as I have done with this course outline, etc.

7. Although I encourage you to study in groups and to help each other out, all submitted work is expected to be the student's own original work. That is, when writing your assignments use your own words and expressions; not your peers’. When seeking help in carrying out a statistical technique, you never merely copy from someone else’s assignment as this will be deemed as cheating. You may seek and be given guidance as to what the different elements of a formula mean and how to carry out a series of calculations, but you are to carry out all of the calculations on your own and not simply copy them from someone else. Any detection of inappropriate collaboration or any other form of academic dishonesty will result in strict adherence to the school's guidelines on this subject (see catalog and student handbook). - ANY STUDENT CAUGHT CHEATING ON AN EXAM, SUBMITTING OTHERS’ IDEAS, TEXT, ETC., AS HIS/HER OWN WORK, OR FABRICATING OR DOCTORING DATA, WILL BE GIVEN A ZERO FOR THAT ASSIGNMENT. Please note that when writing papers for any of my courses you are not allowed to use direct quotes. You must always paraphrase material from your original sources and all sources must be Primary Sources of information (i.e., journal articles. You are never to use book chapters, magazine or encyclopedia articles).  In addition, any assignment that involves writing (i.e., text, not data organization or calculations) must be typed.



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In accordance with this pledge, students acknowledge their commitment to the values and principles of the mission of St. John's University. 1) I will not tolerate or participate in any form of academic fraud by cheating, lying or stealing, nor will I accept the actions of those who choose to violate this code. 2) I will conduct myself both honorably and responsibly in all my activities as a St. John's University student, both academically and non-academically.














8. If you wish to review an exam you are to make an appointment with me and I will give you access to the exam paper. If you want to double check an answer or find the correct answer to a question that was marked wrong, bring your textbook, calculator and class notes to the office and look up the answer there. I will not provide you with the answers for you. However, I will be happy to explain a particular answer only after you have searched for the answer on your own.

MONITORING YOUR GRADES - The following is the grading system used in all of my classes.
00.00 - 56.99 ----- F                57.00 - 65.99 ------ D             66.00 -  69.99 ------ D+
70.00 - 72.99 ----- C-              73.00 - 76.99 ------ C              77.00 -  79.99 ------ C+                    
80.00 - 82.99 ----- B-              83.00 - 86.99 ------ B              87.00 -  89.99 ------ B+        
90.00 - 92.99 ----- A-             93.00 - 100 -------- A

The following are some of the words which are frequently misspelled or misused in this course: effects/affects, conclusion, experimenter, results, hypothesis/hypotheses, qualitative/quantitative, theory, dependent/ independent, repetition, study/experiment. Be sure that you spell them and use them correctly. Please be mindful of their use in your submissions and class participation.

GENERAL CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR, CELL PHONE USE, AND LAPTOP POLICY:  I expect that you conduct yourselves as respectful adults and in accordance with university tradition: to remain silent and attentive while I am lecturing or while a fellow student is asking a question; to clean up your area if you have littered it, etc. No smoking, food, or beverages are allowed in class. I am particularly sensitive about class disruptions, such as students talking to each other while I am lecturing or engaging in other academic work not related to the class. Such behavior will not be tolerated as I consider it to be rude and disrespectful not only to me but also to your classmates.

I consider any use of cell phones during class to be highly distracting and disrespectful. Thus, the use of cell phones is not permitted during class time for any purpose (your cell phone may be used as part of a class project) and they are to be kept turned off and out of view inside pocketbooks, knapsacks, etc. Only 2 or 3 students designated by the instructor will be allowed to have their phones on and only in vibrate mode to be alert for any campus emergency. Any other student whose phone rings during class or is otherwise seen manipulating his/her phone will be asked to leave the class. For the second offense, the matter will be forwarded to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action. Laptops are not to be used during class time and should be turned off. 

SPECIAL NOTE: Like its pre-requisite, Psy 2030, Psy 2040 is one of the most difficult and intensive courses in the Psychology curriculum. The grade obtained in this course will be of keen interest to graduate school admissions officers who will review your application. Be advised that if you ask me and I agree to write a letter of recommendation for you (for whatever purpose, graduate school, job, etc.), my comments about you will, to a large extent, be based on your general performance in this class (aptitude, attitude, actual academic performance, etc.). I strongly recommend that you keep this special note in mind throughout the semester. For my policy on letters of recommendation go to

If you have any questions about the course, consult your course outline first, particularly the online version. If you need further clarification then see me. In fact, you should always bring the course outline to class (you should staple it to your notebook) and refer to it from time to time to remind you of deadlines, policies, etc. If lose your course outline, however, you can always download one from my home page.

GRADING CRITERIA FOR LAB ASSIGNMENTS: Acceptable lab assignments will get a check mark. Deficient assignments will get one or more of the following:

INC – A component of the assignment has not been completed.
POOR – Assignment is either sloppily done or it contains two or more calculation errors.
LATE – The assignment is handed in after it is due date and time. Please note that no excuses will be accepted for late assignments.  If you are sick or for whatever reason you cannot attend class you must contact me and inquire about any missed assignments.  If you have completed an assignment but will not be able to attend class, you can either e-mail me the assignment (if feasible) or fax it to me (see above), but note that only up to 2 assignments may be faxed or e-mailed.
OTHER – The assignment is unstapled (always staple at 45°), or not typed (for those that do not involve calculations, such as the one due every Wednesday where you have to identify the variables, etc.), or handed on ripped paper, or having some other problem.

For every two deficient or late assignments handed in, the student will lose one assignment. Your final assignment grade will be calculated as a proportion of completed assignments over total number that were given out. Thus, for example, if there a total of 30 assignments and a student hands in all 30 in acceptable form, s/he will get a 100. If the student fails to submit an assignment or hands in two deficient assignments, then s/he will get a 97 (29/30). If a student fails to submit an assignment AND, in addition, hands in 4 deficient assignments (27/30) s/he will earn a 90, etc., etc.


Assignment involving calculations should be completed in pencil. Those that involve text must be typed.  Each individual step/calculation should be documented as indicated in the book and as reviewed in class.  Your calculations should show every step in an organized, clear, and neat manner. Each calculation should be repeated at least twice. If a discrepancy occurs, it should be repeated a third or fourth time until the discrepancy is reconciled.

TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE.  Please note that we will adhere to following schedule as best as closely as possible.  By the same token, however, you should expect a certain degree of flexibility in what gets covered when.  So, be sure to be up to date on what is being covered in class each day and come prepared.


       T   W   F
01-       22, 24  - Course overview.  chapts. 1 & 2
01- 27, 29, 31  - Chapts. 2 & 3

02- 03, NC,07  -  Chapts. 3 & 4
02- 10, 12, 14  -  Chapts. 4 & 5
02- 17, 19, 21  -  Chapts. 5 & 6
02- 24, 26, 28  -  Midterm Exam, February 26th  

03- 03, 05, 07  -  Spring Break
03- 10, 12, 14  -  Chapts. 7 & 8
03- 17, 19, 21  -  Chapts. 8 & 9
03- 24, 26, 28  -  Chapts. 9 & 10
03- 31              -  Chapt. 10

04-       02, 04  -  Chapts. 10 & 11

04- 07 ,09, 11  -  Chapts. 11 & 12

04- 14- 16,NS  -  Chapts. 12 & 13

04- 21, 23, 25  -  Chapts. 13 & 14     

04- 28, 30        -  Catch-up week


05-             02  -  Catch-up week

05- 07-12         - FINAL EXAM 5 during final exam week


HOW TO SUCCEED IN THIS CLASS: Come prepared for class. Read the assigned chapter before I cover it in class and take lots of notes while preparing for class at home. Most importantly: DO THE ASSIGNMENTS AND DO THEM ON TIME. There is no room for procrastination in this class.



Sign and return to the professor by the third class meeting of the semester. Note: You may not be given credit for this course unless I have this portion of the course outline in my possession (Cut with scissors along the dotted line; ripped stubs are not acceptable).  CHANGES: I reserve the right to change or add to assignments and make changes to this course outline, for good reason and with adequate notice.

I _____________________________________ have received a copy of the course outline for Statistical Methods for the Behavioral Sciences  (PSY 2030).  I have read the course outline and have reviewed the on-line version at I have been given an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the content of these documents and understand and agree to the requirements of this course.Student’s signature: ________________________________________   Date: _________ Student No.:  ____________