Psyc 3914 Sections 05 and 06:  Experimental Psychology

Spring 2002


Course Professor:  Cindy Reese, Ph.D.

Office:  412 North Murray

Phone:  744-4386


Office hours:  Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30-11:30 and by appointment


Lab Instructor:  Nikki Yonts, M.S.

Office:  305 North Murray*

Phone:  744-9062


Office hours (held in 015 NM*):  Tuesdays 8:00-9:00 a.m. and Wednesdays 12:30-2:30 p.m.


Required Text: 

            Goodwin, C. J. (2002).  Research in psychology: Methods and design.  New York, Wiley.


Optional Text:

            American Psychological Association. (2001).  Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.).  Washington, DC: Author.


Overiew.  This course will cover issues related to the design, analysis, and interpretation of experimental research.  The goal of this course is to provide you with the information you will need to (1) understand how research is conducted, (2) develop an ability think critically about experimentation in psychology and information you encounter in everyday life, (3) develop writing skills in preparing research reports in APA style, (4) apply statistical analysis to various experimental paradigms.  You will learn that conducting research is not always easy, but it can quite interesting and fun.  You will learn about issues concerning the proper design and control of experiments, and we will also go a step further and discuss how to interpret the outcome of an experiment.  We will discuss what data are important, how to present and analyze data properly, and how to draw logical conclusions based on your results. 


Grading System.  Your grades will be determined based upon your work in several different areas.  You will be given 3 exams (including the final), and you will be working on laboratory and writing assignments. 


            1.  Exams.  There will be three exams.  Each exam will be worth 20% of your total course grade.  The exams will consist of some combination of multiple choice items, matching, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, design analysis and/or essay questions.  The final exam will not be cumulative and is scheduled for May 8th at 8:30 a.m.


            2.  Laboratories:  assignments and attendance.  This portion will constitute 15% of your course grade.  The laboratory component to this course will provide hands-on training in experimental research.  Lab experiences will include collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data.  You will also give one oral presentation in lab.  Lab attendance is mandatory, and each missed lab will result in a 1% reduction in your FINAL AVERAGED GRADE FOR THE COURSE!  Because our allotted time in the computer lab is limited, you absolutely must be on time for lab.  Any student who is more than 5 minutes late for lab will incur a 2-point reduction on the laboratory portion of his or her grade.


            3.  APA-style Research Reports and Paper.  The research reports and the paper are collectively worth 25% of your course grade.  These projects will provide an opportunity for you to practice writing various sections of an APA-style research report (e.g., Method section, Results section, etc.), and they will give you a good idea of what psychologists do to communicate their research to the public.  Additionally, you will be completing a research proposal in APA-style.  You’ll hear more details about the proposal in the next couple of weeks, but for this assignment you will choose a topic, conduct a literature review, design an experiment, report expected results, and discuss the implications of your proposed findings. 


            It is important for you to be aware that writing does constitute an important part of this course.  This is a not-so-subtle suggestion that you take time and care in preparing your written assignments.  It is my recommendation that you obtain a copy of the APA publication manual listed under optional texts on the front page of this syllabus.  Following APA style is crucial to your success in this course, and the manual will be essential to your future as a psychologist.  If writing is not one of your strengths, take advantage of the OSU Writing Center (104 Morrill; 744-6671), which offers free assistance on writing assignments.  They’ll be glad to help you on matters ranging from quick grammar questions that can be handled over the phone to more detailed proofreading and instructional sessions that are conducted face-to-face.


Lecture Attendance.  You can expect that missing lectures will have a negative effect on your performance in the course.  My past teaching experiences have taught me that those who attend class consistently make better grades than those who do not.  If you miss a lecture, get the notes from another person in the class.  I cannot provide you with copies of my notes on the material.  If you do miss a lecture, however, be sure to check with me to make sure that there were no announcements, handouts, or changes to the schedule or syllabus.


In an effort to encourage attendance, attendance quizzes will be given randomly 10 times during the semester.  Each attendance quiz is worth one point, which may be applied toward your lowest exam score.  For example, if at the end of the semester you have taken 8 attendance quizzes you can add 8 points to the score of your lowest exam.  Make-up attendance quizzes will not be given for any reason.


Late Assignments.  You are expected to complete and turn in all assignments by the announced deadline, which will generally be at the beginning of the lab or lecture period, unless otherwise stated.  Grades for all assignments will be reduced by 10% (one letter grade) for each day that they are late.  If an assignment is late by more than 4 calendar days, it will receive a zero.


Missed Exams.  Make-up exams will be given only to students who have missed an exam for University approved reasons (e.g., serious illness, death of a family member, religious holiday observance, University sanctioned activities), provided that the instructor clears the absence in advance.  Make-up exams must be taken within 3 days of the missed test at a time to be arranged with the instructor.  The format and/or content of a make-up exam will differ from the exam given to the class as a whole.


Academic Dishonesty.  Cheating and plagiarism are serious offenses and will not be tolerated.  There are no exceptions to this policy.  Because of the writing component of this course, it is important that you understand what constitutes plagiarism.  Anytime you use someone else’s exact words, you must use quotations.  Anytime you paraphrase someone else’s words or even use their ideas, you must give them credit by citing their name and work.  If you have any doubt about whether or not you need to cite a reference for something you have written in assignment, see Nikki or me for advice.  The consequences of plagiarism are too severe to take a chance.  Academic dishonesty is grounds for dismissal from the University (see Student Rights and Responsibilities Governing Student Behavior for further details).



Exam Schedule


Date                                                     Exam                                        Chapters from text

            Thursday, February 14th                  1                                              1-4

            Tuesday, April 2nd                              2                                              5-8

            Wednesday, May 8th @ 8:30 a.m.            3                                              9-12


Note: The above schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.  Dates may be adjusted or material may be omitted.  The best way to keep up is to come to class.