Psychology 242; Research in Psychology
Dr. David J. McKirnan

The University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Psychology


Welcome to Research in Psychology

This course reviews scientific method in Psychology. It is meant for Psychology majors or students with a clear interest in research. We will discuss how science "works", how scientific reasoning differs from other ways of thinking, and what we can and cannot learn from the different research strategies Psychologists use.

Students will understand the virtues - and problems - of measurement or correlation studies, "true" experiments, and the "quasi"-experiments (or field studies) often used in Psychology. Students will also be introduced to statistical reasoning in science, and to basic statistics.

Everything you need for the course is on this web site.  Bookmark it, and get comfortable using it.

    Please e-mail me ASAP if you find a broken or incorrect link!

    Each week has its own web page, available on the Syllabus.  Weekly pages contain, Key terms, Readings, the Weekly assignment, and links to lecture slides and self-guided instructional modules.  These are your textbook.

    To efficiently print the lecture notes for class:
  • Click "File", then "Print"
  • Under “Print What” ask for “Handouts (3 slides per page)" if you want room for notes.
  • Otherwise; "Handouts (4 slides per page)".


The class is CRN 14661; we meet Monday & Wednesday, 12:00 to 12:50, D4 Lecture Center.

Attend every lecture: all course materials and the content of your exams are provided there.

The sidebar of each weekly page provides "bonus" readings / media. Click around if you want to pursue a topic further. I always welcome suggestions for articles or other media that illustrate course topics or that are just interesting.

Go to Syllabus for key dates & assignments.

I do not allow any electronic devices in lectures (Why not? Click here.)

For the text I provide self-guided PowerPoint learning modules, here and in Blackboard.
Each set of modules has a quiz associated with it, also on Blackboard. You must get 75% of quiz items correct to 'pass' each one. You passes will be recorded on Blackboard; you receive up to10 grade points for quizzes.
Yes, you will be responsible for the content of the self-guided modules on exams.

You may consider buying a used Psychology Research Methods textbook for background reading. Find the cheapest you can find; any will do. Each week I will post a topic you can look up in whatever book you get.

We will use the i>clicker system. Either version of the I>clicker is fine. Clickers are available new or used in textbook stores, or on-line.

You cannot share clickers - each student must have his/her own. You are responsible for your lecture credit - if you do not bring your clicker to class I cannot give you credit for attendance.

Register your clicker twice:
First on the i>Clicker site: http://www1.iclicker.com/register-an-iclicker;
Second on the course Blackboard site.

Register with your UIC Net ID (your UIC e-mail address: NetID@uic.edu); do not use your UIN (a 9 digit number). Your registration will fail.

After Week 3 or so I will begin posting lecture points on Blackboard.
Check to ensure you are getting credit; that is how you know you are registered correctly.
If you are not, re-register carefully; after a few more weeks I will update the lecture points. You can see then if your registration is correct. 

If you fail to correctly register by the last day of classes - that is, if you show 0 lecture points on Blackboard - you will get 0 final points.

Clicker number rubbed off? If you have registered on the clicker web site by entering your name and NETID and have "clicked" in class at least once, go here to find your clicker number. Instructions for your i>clicker are posted here

Plato's Cave

Lectures, Class Materials & Grading

All your grades will be posted on Blackboard. I do not grade on a curve.

Grading schema

The first two exams cover the first and second thirds of the course. The final exam is cumulative, but emphasizes material covered since the second exam. Exam items are a mixture of short answer, 'fill in the blank', and multiple choice. There are NO make up exams.

What will be on the exams? Primarily material from lectures, including weekly readings. During most lectures I announce exam topics, so attend lectures (and ask questions!), then use your annotated Power Point notes to study.  Examples of exam items are Here. 

Study guides are available for Exam 1, Exam 2, and Exam 3.

Term paper:
Your term paper is a practice research project, due as an e-mail attachment directly to your TA by 5pm, Wednesday, April 19 (14th week of class). Format papers in American Psychological Association style. Several discussion groups will be devoted to your paper; use them to get feedback.

Complete instructions are given in paper assignment. Use these web pages to write your paper, and for links to other paper resources.

You will submit two electronic copies of your paper: one to your TA and a second to SafeAssign (on the course Blackboard site). Write your paper in Word (.doc or .docx). For SafeAssign submit only the body of the text. Do not include references, informed consent documents, your calculations, or any other add-on. Submit every component of your paper to your TA.

Late papers lose 3 grade points (out of 30) per business day.

Discussion Groups:
To get credit for discussion group you must both attend the group and turn in your discussion assignment. We only accept discussion assignments late or by e-mail with permission.

Your research paper will be developed in these groups, so attend and pay attention.  Discussion group assignments are given syllabus, for the week they are due

You can earn extra credit by submitting really good assignments; you should particularly think about this for your research paper assignments. The comments about plagiarism below apply to your discussion group assignments as well as the research paper.

Discussion Group Assignments
Call #
Teaching Assistant
14652 12:00 Educatn, Theat, Mus & Soc Work, #2417 Chris Shorten, cshorten@depaul.edu
14653 2:00 ETMSW, #2219 John Bark, bark1@uic.edu
14654 3:00 Taft Hall, #208 John Bark
14658 8:00am Taft Hall, #204 James Lynch, jlynch23@uic.edu
30187 10:00am ETMSW, #2233 James Lynch

Lecture attendance and comprehension will be assessed via your I>clicker. You will have a grace of 3 lectures: if you miss 3 or less you can still get 100% of lecture points. Missing only 2, 1 or no lectures comes with extra credit.

You are responsible for bringing your I>clicker to class, making sure it is set to the correct frequency for this course ('AA'), and registering it. You cannot get credit for a lecture if you forget your I>clicker.

TAs, Office Hours & Communication
My office hours (1018C BSB) are Monday and Wednesday, from 10:00 to 3:00 or so, or by appointment. Please e-mail me with questions, comments, or to make appointments.

You are always welcome to drop by my office: Bring your course questions or stop by to discuss your interests in Psychology or research generally.

E-mail your TA for an appointment, or show up during office hours.

Academic Honesty:
In fairness to other students I do not tolerate cheating.  If you cheat on any test or assignment you will receive a '0' on that assignment or test, and may fail the entire class.  If I feel it appropriate I will notify the Dean of Students, who will place a notice about the incident in your permanent record. There are no exceptions to this policy. 

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, looking on others' tests or letting them look on yours, using paper or electronic "cheat sheets" in an exam, copying or giving others test answers, and plagiarism.  Plagiarism includes copying the words of a fellow student or author in your papers. You cannot copy or directly paraphrase even short phrases from any written work unless you show it as a quote and cite it properly.

You cannot hand in work that you have submitted for another class, or papers you have gotten from the internet or other students.

If you have any concerns about this policy or about cheating in the class, please contact me directly.

Students with Disabilities:
Please inform me right away if you need accommodations. You must register with the Office of Disability Services. Contact: 312/413-2183 (voice) or 312/413-0123 (TTY), 1200 W. Harrison St. (across from the Pavilion), Room 1190 SSB (MC 321).

Exam Conflicts.
The exam schedule is designed to prevent conflicts. But just in case, here is what happens if you have an exam conflict:

  1. Any course listed second on the online Schedule of Classes has precedence.  Thus, if Psychology is listed second (e.g., it comes after Chemistry, Anthropology, Political Science, etc.), then you need to arrange a make-up with the other instructor, not me.
  2. A student with an exam conflict is responsible for arranging a makeup exam with his or her instructor.

A student having more than two examinations in a day.
No student will be required to take more than two final examinations in one day. Any student having more than two final examinations scheduled in one day is entitled to rescheduling. Students must notify the instructor by November 1 in the fall semester and April 1 in the spring semester to be eligible for rescheduling.

To resolve this conflict, the student will be required to take the first two examinations scheduled (according to the posted examinations schedule) in any given day. Any third, fourth or additional final examinations that are scheduled on the same day must be rescheduled and taken on another day within finals week.

Have you read the Course Introduction?

Please click below to indicate that you have read and understood the Course Introduction, particularly the section on Academic Honesty. 
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You must read the Introduction to receive a grade in this course.

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