Psych 204: Research Design & Analysis 1


blind_trialsXKCDRDA 1 will get you started on the path to becoming a true psychologist. PSY 101 and any other 200-level class that you might have taken give you insight into what psychologists know about behavior.  RDA 1 starts to teach you how to know about behavior.

The unifying theme across all disciplines of our field is the ability to measure, quantify, and analyze behavior. I study learning and memory in earthworms. My colleagues study religiosity, circadian rhythms, the development of racial stereotypes, time-of-day effects on problem solving, etc.—seemingly very different topics.  The common underlying theme is that they all relate to behavior.  Once you know how to measure behavior and study it scientifically, then you are a psychologist.

RDA 1 will introduce you to the basics: how can behavior be observed and measured, how do we make sense of relationships between behavioral variables, how do we make sound decisions about our data—by the end of the semester you will be familiar with all of this and more.  You will be able to present your findings in the format used by psychological journals, and you will be prepared to move on to more complex psychological studies in RDA 2.

Syllabus – Spring 2015 – RDA 1

End of Semester Schedule:

  • Homework 4 due Monday April 27.
  • Test 3 – Wednesday April 29.
  • Draft of Paper 2 (at least up through Methods, and including any cited references) – Friday May 1 by noon.
  • Poster Session – 8-10 AM on Tuesday May 5.
  • Final version of Paper 2 – Wednesday May 6 by noon.

How to Succeed.

RDA 1 - Spring 2015

RDA 1 – Spring 2015

You will need to have a calculator with you at every lecture and laboratory session.  I will offer various examples that we can work through; you need to work through them along with me so that you gain an understanding of the material, and so that you are not lost at exam time.  Your calculator should have the ability to square numbers, and to take square roots. If it also offers the option of entering data and creating sums and sums of squares (if it can do this it will likely have buttons labelled Σx and Σx²), or generating a correlation coefficient (r) that will be useful.  However, you may not use a graphing calculator for exams or quizzes.  I suggest that you use the same calculator for in-class work and on exams. It will be a worth-while investment if you have to purchase a new, simpler one for the class even if you already have a fancy graphing calculator. You will not be sorry.

My calculator uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN): weird to learn but incredibly easy once you master it.  To add 3 and 5, for example, you press:

3    Enter   5   Plus

The advantage of this, once you get used to it, is that it makes long, complex formulae easy to enter – almost no need at all for parentheses. However, I don’t expect you to buy a RPN calculator.  In fact, very few manufacturers offer this option any longer.

Please work through examples in class and in the book, and see me or our Laboratory Assistant if you have questions.  Welcome to your first step toward becoming a real psychologist.


Paper guidelines – Manuscript (as your should look) ~ Journal format

Interpreting my comments on your paper

Class Outline

Lab Outline

Lab 1 Data

Lab 3 Data

Lab 4 Data

Lab IQ Data

Compiled Data from Lab 1

Compiled Data from Lab 1

 Binomial Distribution Video

Central Limit Theorem video


Homework Assignment 2 (due Friday March 6 or earlier)

Correlation videos (Quantitative Specialists)

Practice Calculating R

Against All Odds – Correlation

Potentially useful Research Scales

Another Site for Tests and Surveys

IRB Proposal template

Testing Significance of r

Pearson R Table of Critical Values (from

Chi-Squared Test

Critical Values for Chi-Squared

Chi-squared and r practice

Student’s t-test explanations

 Spreadsheet with t-test examples

Critical Values for the t distribution

Homework Assignment 3 – Due Friday April 17.

In-Class Worksheet – April 15   (spreadsheet)

Kolmogorov-Smirnov Spreadsheet

Kolmogorov-Smirnov Critical Values (from Siegel, 1956)

Some additional nonparametric statistics

Homework 4  (Due MONDAY, April)


Effective Study Habits:

Freshman 14: You are spending about 14 fewer hours in  the classroom in college compared to high school.  We assume that these are hours that you will spend learning.  You must work with your course material outside of class at least 14 hours per week.

From your professor:

  1. Read the text before it is discussed in class, and again afterwards.
  2. Work through the examples in the text.
  3. Pay attention in class.  Take only cursory notes, and fill them in from memory later in the day.
  4. Test yourself constantly: review your notes by setting them aside and rewriting them in your own words from memory.
  5. Ask questions if you do not understand something.
  6. College is a full-time job: 40 hrs/week of classes, homework, studying.
  7. Put away the phones during class.



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