Hum Dev/Psych 496 - Research Assistantship

Scientific research is exciting and extremely useful. It helps us understand why we do what we do and explain and predict behavior. More importantly, it provides insights into how we can improve our lives, and enhance physical and mental health, and well-being.

Course Objectives:

General Objectives:  I designed this experience to give students the tools to do robust scientific research, enhance critical thinking skills, and exposure to every aspect of the research process. 

 In particular it will satisfy the following departmental learning objectives:

·    Use APA style effectively when writing papers

·    Demonstrate basic proficiency with a computer-based statistical package

·    Use library facilities and computerized databases (e.g., PsychINFO) to locate pertinent information

·    Have the ability to assess critically the merits of basic and applied research

·    Have the ability to accurately interpret and use such research

·    Understand the basic principles of research designs from the variety of relevant disciplines

·    Understand the ethical issues involved in research


Research Assistantship Students will work on a research project that I have designed.  This may be a project scheduled to begin in the semester of study, the continuation of a study that has been run before, or the analysis and follow-up of a previous study.  I will assign you to a project that best suits your learning goals and future plans. This is a perfect opportunity for a student with no research experience, or one who wants some training and practice before conducting their own study. 

Eligibility: Completion of Intro Psych., and a research methods course, and GPA of 3.00 or higher.

Requirements: Weekly meetings with the instructor, completing reading assignments, and all research related responsibilities. These may include literature reviews, library investigations, questionnaire development, recruitment and interviewing of research participants, the collection of data, management of research studies, data entry, and some minor statistical analyses. To guarantee a wide range of experience you will be given the opportunity to work on many different research projects.

Assessment: Successful and conscientious completion of all assignments, and a 15-page paper (a literature review or project proposal). Training and feedback will be provided to enable the paper to be a potential candidate for acceptance at a national psychology conference (e.g., American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Midwestern Psychological Association). The topic, content, and structure (e.g., literature review or empirical paper) of the paper will vary with the project you are assigned to.

60 % of the grade        -- successful completion of study design, data collection and analyses.
5% of the grade           -- APA writing assignment.
35% of the grade         -- Final paper.

A = 93%; A/B = 88%; B = 83%; B/C = 78%; C = 70%; D = 65%; F < 65%

Reading List:

Gurung, R. A. R. (2012). Developing your research skills. In P. J. Giordano, S. F. davis, & C. A. Licht (Eds.)  Your graduate training in psychology: Effective strategies for success (pp.159-174). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hershey D. A., Jacobs-Lawson, J. M., & Wilson T. L. (2006). Research as a script. In F. T. L. Leong & J. T. Austin (Eds.) The psychology research handbook: A guide for graduate students and research assistants (pp.3-22). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Sansone, C., Morf, C. C., & Panter, A. T. (2004). Handbook of methods in social psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.  [Chapter 1]

Dunn, D. S. (2010).  The practical researcher: A student guide to conducting psychological research (2nd ed).  Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.  [Chapter 3: Searching and reading the psychological literature]

Leong, F. T. L., & Muccio, D. J. (2006). Finding a research topic. In F. T. L. Leong & J. T. Austin (Eds.) The psychology research handbook: A guide for graduate students and research assistants (pp. 33-40). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Reed, J. G., & Baxter, P. M. (2006). Bibliographic research. In F. T. L. Leong & J. T. Austin (Eds.) The psychology research handbook: A guide for graduate students and research assistants (pp. 41-58). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Landrum, R. E. (2011). Research methods in psychology. Boise, ID: Author.

Chapter 6: Between-Groups Designs

Chapter 7: Research Designs: Within-Groups Research

Chapter 8: Research Designs: Quasi-Experimental Designs  

Chapter 10: Survey and Questionnaire Research

Landrum, R. E. (2011) chapter 2: Chapter 2: Reading and Writing Psychology

Schwartz, E., Landrum, R. E., & Gurung, R. A. R., (2012).  An EasyGuide to APA style and format. Thousand Oaks, CA; Sage.

Landrum, R. E. (2011) Chapter 3: The Ethics of Psychological Research

Read research lab posters and identify research design, IVs, and DVs, in each.

Useful Sites: