2.2 Approaches to Research

Learning objectives.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the different research methods used by psychologists
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of case studies, naturalistic observation, surveys, and archival research
  • Compare longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches to research
  • Compare and contrast correlation and causation

There are many research methods available to psychologists in their efforts to understand, describe, and explain behavior and the cognitive and biological processes that underlie it. Some methods rely on observational techniques. Other approaches involve interactions between the researcher and the individuals who are being studied—ranging from a series of simple questions to extensive, in-depth interviews—to well-controlled experiments.

Each of these research methods has unique strengths and weaknesses, and each method may only be appropriate for certain types of research questions. For example, studies that rely primarily on observation produce incredible amounts of information, but the ability to apply this information to the larger population is somewhat limited because of small sample sizes. Survey research, on the other hand, allows researchers to easily collect data from relatively large samples. While this allows for results to be generalized to the larger population more easily, the information that can be collected on any given survey is somewhat limited and subject to problems associated with any type of self-reported data. Some researchers conduct archival research by using existing records. While this can be a fairly inexpensive way to collect data that can provide insight into a number of research questions, researchers using this approach have no control on how or what kind of data was collected. All of the methods described thus far are correlational in nature. This means that researchers can speak to important relationships that might exist between two or more variables of interest. However, correlational data cannot be used to make claims about cause-and-effect relationships.

Correlational research can find a relationship between two variables, but the only way a researcher can claim that the relationship between the variables is cause and effect is to perform an experiment. In experimental research, which will be discussed later in this chapter, there is a tremendous amount of control over variables of interest. While this is a powerful approach, experiments are often conducted in artificial settings. This calls into question the validity of experimental findings with regard to how they would apply in real-world settings. In addition, many of the questions that psychologists would like to answer cannot be pursued through experimental research because of ethical concerns.

Clinical or Case Studies

In 2011, the New York Times published a feature story on Krista and Tatiana Hogan, Canadian twin girls. These particular twins are unique because Krista and Tatiana are conjoined twins, connected at the head. There is evidence that the two girls are connected in a part of the brain called the thalamus, which is a major sensory relay center. Most incoming sensory information is sent through the thalamus before reaching higher regions of the cerebral cortex for processing.

Link to Learning

Watch this CBC video about Krista's and Tatiana's lives to learn more.

The implications of this potential connection mean that it might be possible for one twin to experience the sensations of the other twin. For instance, if Krista is watching a particularly funny television program, Tatiana might smile or laugh even if she is not watching the program. This particular possibility has piqued the interest of many neuroscientists who seek to understand how the brain uses sensory information.

These twins represent an enormous resource in the study of the brain, and since their condition is very rare, it is likely that as long as their family agrees, scientists will follow these girls very closely throughout their lives to gain as much information as possible (Dominus, 2011).

Over time, it has become clear that while Krista and Tatiana share some sensory experiences and motor control, they remain two distinct individuals, which provides invaluable insight for researchers interested in the mind and the brain (Egnor, 2017).

In observational research, scientists are conducting a clinical or case study when they focus on one person or just a few individuals. Indeed, some scientists spend their entire careers studying just 10–20 individuals. Why would they do this? Obviously, when they focus their attention on a very small number of people, they can gain a precious amount of insight into those cases. The richness of information that is collected in clinical or case studies is unmatched by any other single research method. This allows the researcher to have a very deep understanding of the individuals and the particular phenomenon being studied.

If clinical or case studies provide so much information, why are they not more frequent among researchers? As it turns out, the major benefit of this particular approach is also a weakness. As mentioned earlier, this approach is often used when studying individuals who are interesting to researchers because they have a rare characteristic. Therefore, the individuals who serve as the focus of case studies are not like most other people. If scientists ultimately want to explain all behavior, focusing attention on such a special group of people can make it difficult to generalize any observations to the larger population as a whole. Generalizing refers to the ability to apply the findings of a particular research project to larger segments of society. Again, case studies provide enormous amounts of information, but since the cases are so specific, the potential to apply what’s learned to the average person may be very limited.

Naturalistic Observation

If you want to understand how behavior occurs, one of the best ways to gain information is to simply observe the behavior in its natural context. However, people might change their behavior in unexpected ways if they know they are being observed. How do researchers obtain accurate information when people tend to hide their natural behavior? As an example, imagine that your professor asks everyone in your class to raise their hand if they always wash their hands after using the restroom. Chances are that almost everyone in the classroom will raise their hand, but do you think hand washing after every trip to the restroom is really that universal?

This is very similar to the phenomenon mentioned earlier in this chapter: many individuals do not feel comfortable answering a question honestly. But if we are committed to finding out the facts about hand washing, we have other options available to us.

Suppose we send a classmate into the restroom to actually watch whether everyone washes their hands after using the restroom. Will our observer blend into the restroom environment by wearing a white lab coat, sitting with a clipboard, and staring at the sinks? We want our researcher to be inconspicuous—perhaps standing at one of the sinks pretending to put in contact lenses while secretly recording the relevant information. This type of observational study is called naturalistic observation : observing behavior in its natural setting. To better understand peer exclusion, Suzanne Fanger collaborated with colleagues at the University of Texas to observe the behavior of preschool children on a playground. How did the observers remain inconspicuous over the duration of the study? They equipped a few of the children with wireless microphones (which the children quickly forgot about) and observed while taking notes from a distance. Also, the children in that particular preschool (a “laboratory preschool”) were accustomed to having observers on the playground (Fanger, Frankel, & Hazen, 2012).

It is critical that the observer be as unobtrusive and as inconspicuous as possible: when people know they are being watched, they are less likely to behave naturally. If you have any doubt about this, ask yourself how your driving behavior might differ in two situations: In the first situation, you are driving down a deserted highway during the middle of the day; in the second situation, you are being followed by a police car down the same deserted highway ( Figure 2.7 ).

It should be pointed out that naturalistic observation is not limited to research involving humans. Indeed, some of the best-known examples of naturalistic observation involve researchers going into the field to observe various kinds of animals in their own environments. As with human studies, the researchers maintain their distance and avoid interfering with the animal subjects so as not to influence their natural behaviors. Scientists have used this technique to study social hierarchies and interactions among animals ranging from ground squirrels to gorillas. The information provided by these studies is invaluable in understanding how those animals organize socially and communicate with one another. The anthropologist Jane Goodall , for example, spent nearly five decades observing the behavior of chimpanzees in Africa ( Figure 2.8 ). As an illustration of the types of concerns that a researcher might encounter in naturalistic observation, some scientists criticized Goodall for giving the chimps names instead of referring to them by numbers—using names was thought to undermine the emotional detachment required for the objectivity of the study (McKie, 2010).

The greatest benefit of naturalistic observation is the validity , or accuracy, of information collected unobtrusively in a natural setting. Having individuals behave as they normally would in a given situation means that we have a higher degree of ecological validity, or realism, than we might achieve with other research approaches. Therefore, our ability to generalize the findings of the research to real-world situations is enhanced. If done correctly, we need not worry about people or animals modifying their behavior simply because they are being observed. Sometimes, people may assume that reality programs give us a glimpse into authentic human behavior. However, the principle of inconspicuous observation is violated as reality stars are followed by camera crews and are interviewed on camera for personal confessionals. Given that environment, we must doubt how natural and realistic their behaviors are.

The major downside of naturalistic observation is that they are often difficult to set up and control. In our restroom study, what if you stood in the restroom all day prepared to record people’s hand washing behavior and no one came in? Or, what if you have been closely observing a troop of gorillas for weeks only to find that they migrated to a new place while you were sleeping in your tent? The benefit of realistic data comes at a cost. As a researcher you have no control of when (or if) you have behavior to observe. In addition, this type of observational research often requires significant investments of time, money, and a good dose of luck.

Sometimes studies involve structured observation. In these cases, people are observed while engaging in set, specific tasks. An excellent example of structured observation comes from Strange Situation by Mary Ainsworth (you will read more about this in the chapter on lifespan development). The Strange Situation is a procedure used to evaluate attachment styles that exist between an infant and caregiver. In this scenario, caregivers bring their infants into a room filled with toys. The Strange Situation involves a number of phases, including a stranger coming into the room, the caregiver leaving the room, and the caregiver’s return to the room. The infant’s behavior is closely monitored at each phase, but it is the behavior of the infant upon being reunited with the caregiver that is most telling in terms of characterizing the infant’s attachment style with the caregiver.

Another potential problem in observational research is observer bias . Generally, people who act as observers are closely involved in the research project and may unconsciously skew their observations to fit their research goals or expectations. To protect against this type of bias, researchers should have clear criteria established for the types of behaviors recorded and how those behaviors should be classified. In addition, researchers often compare observations of the same event by multiple observers, in order to test inter-rater reliability : a measure of reliability that assesses the consistency of observations by different observers.

Often, psychologists develop surveys as a means of gathering data. Surveys are lists of questions to be answered by research participants, and can be delivered as paper-and-pencil questionnaires, administered electronically, or conducted verbally ( Figure 2.9 ). Generally, the survey itself can be completed in a short time, and the ease of administering a survey makes it easy to collect data from a large number of people.

Surveys allow researchers to gather data from larger samples than may be afforded by other research methods . A sample is a subset of individuals selected from a population , which is the overall group of individuals that the researchers are interested in. Researchers study the sample and seek to generalize their findings to the population. Generally, researchers will begin this process by calculating various measures of central tendency from the data they have collected. These measures provide an overall summary of what a typical response looks like. There are three measures of central tendency: mode, median, and mean. The mode is the most frequently occurring response, the median lies at the middle of a given data set, and the mean is the arithmetic average of all data points. Means tend to be most useful in conducting additional analyses like those described below; however, means are very sensitive to the effects of outliers, and so one must be aware of those effects when making assessments of what measures of central tendency tell us about a data set in question.

There is both strength and weakness of the survey in comparison to case studies. By using surveys, we can collect information from a larger sample of people. A larger sample is better able to reflect the actual diversity of the population, thus allowing better generalizability. Therefore, if our sample is sufficiently large and diverse, we can assume that the data we collect from the survey can be generalized to the larger population with more certainty than the information collected through a case study. However, given the greater number of people involved, we are not able to collect the same depth of information on each person that would be collected in a case study.

Another potential weakness of surveys is something we touched on earlier in this chapter: People don't always give accurate responses. They may lie, misremember, or answer questions in a way that they think makes them look good. For example, people may report drinking less alcohol than is actually the case.

Any number of research questions can be answered through the use of surveys. One real-world example is the research conducted by Jenkins, Ruppel, Kizer, Yehl, and Griffin (2012) about the backlash against the US Arab-American community following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Jenkins and colleagues wanted to determine to what extent these negative attitudes toward Arab-Americans still existed nearly a decade after the attacks occurred. In one study, 140 research participants filled out a survey with 10 questions, including questions asking directly about the participant’s overt prejudicial attitudes toward people of various ethnicities. The survey also asked indirect questions about how likely the participant would be to interact with a person of a given ethnicity in a variety of settings (such as, “How likely do you think it is that you would introduce yourself to a person of Arab-American descent?”). The results of the research suggested that participants were unwilling to report prejudicial attitudes toward any ethnic group. However, there were significant differences between their pattern of responses to questions about social interaction with Arab-Americans compared to other ethnic groups: they indicated less willingness for social interaction with Arab-Americans compared to the other ethnic groups. This suggested that the participants harbored subtle forms of prejudice against Arab-Americans, despite their assertions that this was not the case (Jenkins et al., 2012).

Archival Research

Some researchers gain access to large amounts of data without interacting with a single research participant. Instead, they use existing records to answer various research questions. This type of research approach is known as archival research . Archival research relies on looking at past records or data sets to look for interesting patterns or relationships.

For example, a researcher might access the academic records of all individuals who enrolled in college within the past ten years and calculate how long it took them to complete their degrees, as well as course loads, grades, and extracurricular involvement. Archival research could provide important information about who is most likely to complete their education, and it could help identify important risk factors for struggling students ( Figure 2.10 ).

In comparing archival research to other research methods, there are several important distinctions. For one, the researcher employing archival research never directly interacts with research participants. Therefore, the investment of time and money to collect data is considerably less with archival research. Additionally, researchers have no control over what information was originally collected. Therefore, research questions have to be tailored so they can be answered within the structure of the existing data sets. There is also no guarantee of consistency between the records from one source to another, which might make comparing and contrasting different data sets problematic.

Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional Research

Sometimes we want to see how people change over time, as in studies of human development and lifespan. When we test the same group of individuals repeatedly over an extended period of time, we are conducting longitudinal research. Longitudinal research is a research design in which data-gathering is administered repeatedly over an extended period of time. For example, we may survey a group of individuals about their dietary habits at age 20, retest them a decade later at age 30, and then again at age 40.

Another approach is cross-sectional research. In cross-sectional research , a researcher compares multiple segments of the population at the same time. Using the dietary habits example above, the researcher might directly compare different groups of people by age. Instead of studying a group of people for 20 years to see how their dietary habits changed from decade to decade, the researcher would study a group of 20-year-old individuals and compare them to a group of 30-year-old individuals and a group of 40-year-old individuals. While cross-sectional research requires a shorter-term investment, it is also limited by differences that exist between the different generations (or cohorts) that have nothing to do with age per se, but rather reflect the social and cultural experiences of different generations of individuals that make them different from one another.

To illustrate this concept, consider the following survey findings. In recent years there has been significant growth in the popular support of same-sex marriage. Many studies on this topic break down survey participants into different age groups. In general, younger people are more supportive of same-sex marriage than are those who are older (Jones, 2013). Does this mean that as we age we become less open to the idea of same-sex marriage, or does this mean that older individuals have different perspectives because of the social climates in which they grew up? Longitudinal research is a powerful approach because the same individuals are involved in the research project over time, which means that the researchers need to be less concerned with differences among cohorts affecting the results of their study.

Often longitudinal studies are employed when researching various diseases in an effort to understand particular risk factors. Such studies often involve tens of thousands of individuals who are followed for several decades. Given the enormous number of people involved in these studies, researchers can feel confident that their findings can be generalized to the larger population. The Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) is one of a series of longitudinal studies sponsored by the American Cancer Society aimed at determining predictive risk factors associated with cancer. When participants enter the study, they complete a survey about their lives and family histories, providing information on factors that might cause or prevent the development of cancer. Then every few years the participants receive additional surveys to complete. In the end, hundreds of thousands of participants will be tracked over 20 years to determine which of them develop cancer and which do not.

Clearly, this type of research is important and potentially very informative. For instance, earlier longitudinal studies sponsored by the American Cancer Society provided some of the first scientific demonstrations of the now well-established links between increased rates of cancer and smoking (American Cancer Society, n.d.) ( Figure 2.11 ).

As with any research strategy, longitudinal research is not without limitations. For one, these studies require an incredible time investment by the researcher and research participants. Given that some longitudinal studies take years, if not decades, to complete, the results will not be known for a considerable period of time. In addition to the time demands, these studies also require a substantial financial investment. Many researchers are unable to commit the resources necessary to see a longitudinal project through to the end.

Research participants must also be willing to continue their participation for an extended period of time, and this can be problematic. People move, get married and take new names, get ill, and eventually die. Even without significant life changes, some people may simply choose to discontinue their participation in the project. As a result, the attrition rates, or reduction in the number of research participants due to dropouts, in longitudinal studies are quite high and increase over the course of a project. For this reason, researchers using this approach typically recruit many participants fully expecting that a substantial number will drop out before the end. As the study progresses, they continually check whether the sample still represents the larger population, and make adjustments as necessary.

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Research Methods in Psychology - 4th American Edition

(40 reviews)

all research methods in psychology quizlet

Carrie Cuttler, Washington State University

Rajiv S. Jhangiani, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Dana C. Leighton, Texas A&M University, Texarkana

Copyright Year: 2019

ISBN 13: 9781999198107

Publisher: Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Language: English

Formats Available

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Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Beth Mechlin, Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, Earlham College on 3/19/24

This is an extremely comprehensive text for an undergraduate psychology course about research methods. It does an excellent job covering the basics of a variety of types of research design. It also includes important topics related to research... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This is an extremely comprehensive text for an undergraduate psychology course about research methods. It does an excellent job covering the basics of a variety of types of research design. It also includes important topics related to research such as ethics, finding journal articles, and writing reports in APA format.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

I did not notice any errors in this text.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

The content is very relevant. It will likely need to be updated over time in order to keep research examples relevant. Additionally, APA formatting guidelines may need to be updated when a new publication manual is released. However, these should be easy updates for the authors to make when the time comes.

Clarity rating: 5

This text is very clear and easy to follow. The explanations are easy for college students to understand. The authors use a lot of examples to help illustrate specific concepts. They also incorporate a variety of relevant outside sources (such as videos) to provide additional examples.

Consistency rating: 5

The text is consistent and flows well from one section to the next. At the end of each large section (similar to a chapter) the authors provide key takeaways and exercises.

Modularity rating: 5

This text is very modular. It is easy to pick and choose which sections you want to use in your course when. Each section can stand alone fairly easily.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

The text is very well organized. Information flows smoothly from one topic to the next.

Interface rating: 5

The interface is great. The text is easy to navigate and the images display well (I only noticed 1 image in which the formatting was a tad off).

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

I did not notice any grammatical errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

The text is culturally relevant.

This is an excellent text for an undergraduate research methods course in the field of Psychology. I have been using the text for my Research Methods and Statistics course for a few years now. This text focuses on research methods, so I do use another text to cover statistical information. I do highly recommend this text for research methods. It is comprehensive, clear, and easy for students to use.

Reviewed by William Johnson, Lecturer, Old Dominion University on 1/12/24

This textbook covers every topic that I teach in my Research Methods course aside from psychology careers (which I would not really expect it to cover). read more

This textbook covers every topic that I teach in my Research Methods course aside from psychology careers (which I would not really expect it to cover).

I have not noticed any inaccurate information (other than directed students to read Malcolm Gladwell). I appreciate that the textbook includes information on research errors that have not been supported by replication efforts, such as embodied cognition.

Many of the basic concepts of research methods are rather timeless, but I appreciate that the text includes newer research as examples while also including "classic" studies that exemplify different methods.

The writing is clear and simple. The keywords are bolded and reveal a definition when clicked, which students often find very helpful. Many of the figures are very helpful in helping students understand various methods (I really like the ones in the single-subject design subchapter).

The book is very consistent in its terminology and writing style, which I see as a positive compared to other open psychology textbooks where each chapter is written by subject matter experts (such as the NOBA intro textbook).

Modularity rating: 4

I teach this textbook almost entirely in order (except for moving chapters 12 & 13 earlier in the semester to aid students in writing Results sections in their final papers). I think that the organization and consistency of the book reduces its modularity, in that earlier chapters are genuinely helpful for later chapters.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

I preferred the organization of previous editions, which had "Theory in Research" as its own chapter. If I were organizing the textbook, I am not sure that I would have out descriptive or inferential statistics as the final two chapters (I would have likely put Chapter 11: Presenting Your Research as the final chapter). I also would not have put information about replicability and open science in the inferential statistics section.

The text is easy to read and the formatting is attractive. My only minor complaint is that some of the longer subchapters can be a pretty long scroll, but I understand the desire for their only to be one page per subchapter/topic.

I have not noticed any grammatical errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

I do not think the textbook is insensitive, but there is not much thought given to adapting research instruments across cultures. For instance, talking about how different constructs might have different underlying distributions in different cultures would be useful for students. In the survey methods section, a discussion of back translation or emic personality trait measurement/development for example might be a nice addition.

I choose to use this textbook in my methods classes, but I do miss the organization of the previous American editions. Overall, I recommend this textbook to my colleagues.

Reviewed by Brianna Ewert, Psychology Instructor, Salish Kootenai College on 12/30/22

This text includes the majority of content included in our undergraduate Research Methods in Psychology course. The glossary provides concise definitions of key terms. This text includes most of the background knowledge we expect our students to... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

This text includes the majority of content included in our undergraduate Research Methods in Psychology course. The glossary provides concise definitions of key terms. This text includes most of the background knowledge we expect our students to have as well as skill-based sections that will support them in developing their own research projects.

The content I have read is accurate and error-free.

The content is relevant and up-to-date.

The text is clear and concise. I find it pleasantly readable and anticipate undergraduate students will find it readable and understandable as well.

The terminology appears to be consistent throughout the text.

The modular sections stand alone and lend themselves to alignment with the syllabus of a particular course. I anticipate readily selecting relevant modules to assign in my course.

The book is logically organized with clear and section headings and subheadings. Content on a particular topic is easy to locate.

The text is easy to navigate and the format/design are clean and clear. There are not interface issues, distortions or distracting format in the pdf or online versions.

The text is grammatically correct.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

I have not found culturally insensitive and offensive language or content in the text. For my courses, I would add examples and supplemental materials that are relevant for students at a Tribal College.

This textbook includes supplemental instructor materials, included slides and worksheets. I plan to adopt this text this year in our Research Methods in Psychology course. I expect it to be a benefit to the course and students.

Reviewed by Sara Peters, Associate Professor of Psychology, Newberry College on 11/3/22

This text serves as an excellent resource for introducing survey research methods topics to undergraduate students. It begins with a background of the science of psychology, the scientific method, and research ethics, before moving into the main... read more

This text serves as an excellent resource for introducing survey research methods topics to undergraduate students. It begins with a background of the science of psychology, the scientific method, and research ethics, before moving into the main types of research. This text covers experimental, non-experimental, survey, and quasi-experimental approaches, among others. It extends to factorial and single subject research, and within each topic is a subset (such as observational research, field studies, etc.) depending on the section.

I could find no accuracy issues with the text, and appreciated the discussions of research and cited studies.

There are revised editions of this textbook (this being the 4th), and the examples are up to date and clear. The inclusion of exercises at the end of each chapter offer potential for students to continue working with material in meaningful ways as they move through the book and (and course).

The prose for this text is well aimed at the undergraduate population. This book can easily be utilized for freshman/sophomore level students. It introduces the scientific terminology surrounding research methods and experimental design in a clear way, and the authors provide extensive examples of different studies and applications.

Terminology is consistent throughout the text. Aligns well with other research methods and statistics sources, so the vocabulary is transferrable beyond the text itself.

Navigating this book is a breeze. There are 13 chapters, and each have subsections that can be assigned. Within each chapter subsection, there is a set of learning objectives, and paragraphs are mixed in with tables and figures for students to have different visuals. Different application assignments within each chapter are highlighted with boxes, so students can think more deeply given a set of constructs as they consider different information. The last subsection in each chapter has key summaries and exercises.

The sections and topics in this text are very straightforward. The authors begin with an introduction of psychology as a science, and move into the scientific method, research ethics, and psychological measurement. They then present multiple different research methodologies that are well known and heavily utilized within the social sciences, before concluding with information on how to present your research, and also analyze your data. The text even provides links throughout to other free resources for a reader.

This book can be navigated either online (using a drop-down menu), or as a pdf download, so students can have an electronic copy if needed. All pictures and text display properly on screen, with no distortions. Very easy to use.

There were no grammatical errors, and nothing distracting within the text.

This book includes inclusive material in the discussion of research ethics, as well as when giving examples of the different types of research approaches. While there is always room for improvement in terms of examples, I was satisfied with the breadth of research the authors presented.

This text provides an overview of both research methods, and a nice introduction to statistics for a social science student. It would be a good choice for a survey research methods class, and if looking to change a statistics class into an open resource class, could also serve as a great resource.

Reviewed by Sharlene Fedorowicz, Adjunct Professor, Bridgewater State University on 6/23/21

The comprehensiveness of this book was appropriate for an introductory undergraduate psychology course. Critical topics are covered that are necessary for psychology students to obtain foundational learning concepts for research. Sections within... read more

The comprehensiveness of this book was appropriate for an introductory undergraduate psychology course. Critical topics are covered that are necessary for psychology students to obtain foundational learning concepts for research. Sections within the text and each chapter provide areas for class discussion with students to dive deeper into key concepts for better learning comprehension. The text covered APA format along with examples of research studies to supplement the learning. The text segues appropriately by introducing the science of psychology, followed by scientific method and ethics before getting into the core of scientific research in the field of psychology. Details are provided in quantitative and qualitative research, correlations, surveys, and research design. Overall, the text is fully comprehensive and necessary introductory research concepts.

The text appears to be accurate with no issues related to content.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

The text provided relevant research information to support the learning. The content was up-to-date with a variety of different examples related to the different fields of psychology. However, some topics such as in the pseudoscience section were not very relevant and bordered the line of beliefs. Here, more current or relevant solid examples would provide more relevancy in this part of the text. Bringing in more solid or concrete examples that are more current for students may have been more appropriate such as lack of connection between information found on social media versus real science.

The language and flow of the chapters accompanied by the terms, concepts, and examples of applied research allows for clarity of learning content. Terms were introduced at the appropriate time with the support of concepts and current or classic research. The writing style flows nicely and segues easily from concept to concept. The text is easy for students to understand and grasp the details related to psychological research and science.

The text provides consistency in the outline of each chapter. The beginning section chapter starts objectives as an overview to help students unpack the learning content. Key terms are consistently bolded followed by concept or definition and relevant examples. Research examples are pertinent and provide students with an opportunity to understand application of the contents. Practice exercises are provided with in the chapter and at the and in order for students to integrate learning concepts from within the text.

Sections and subsections are clearly organized and divided appropriately for ease-of-use. The topics are easily discernible and follow the flow of ideal learning routines for students. The sections and subsections are consistently outlined for each concept module. The modularity provides consistency allowing for students to focus on content rather than trying to discern how to pull out the information differently from each chapter or section. In addition, each section and subsection allow for flexibility in learning or expanding concepts within the content area.

The organization of the textbook was easy to follow and each major topic was outlined clearly. However, the chapter on presenting research may be more appropriately placed toward the end of the book rather than in the middle of the chapters related to research and research design. In addition, more information could have been provided upfront around APA format so that students could identify the format of citations within the text as practice for students throughout the book.

The interface of the book lends itself to a nice layout with appropriate examples and links to break up the different sections in the chapters. Examples where appropriate and provided engagement opportunities for the students for each learning module. Images and QR codes or easily viewed and used. Key terms are highlighted in relevant figures, graphs, and tables were appropriately placed. Overall, the interface of the text assisted with the organization and flow of learning material.

No grammatical errors were detected in this book.

The text appears to be culturally sensitive and not offensive. A variety of current and classic research examples are relevant. However, more examples of research from women, minorities, and ethnicities would strengthen the culture of this textbook. Instructors may need to supplement some research in this area to provide additional inclusivity.

Overall, I was impressed by the layout of the textbook and the ease of use. The layout provides a set of expectations for students related to the routine of how the book is laid out and how students will be able to unpack the information. Research examples were relevant, although I see areas where I will supplement information. The book provides opportunities for students to dive deeper into the learning and have rich conversations in the classroom. I plan to start using the psychology textbook for my students starting next year.

Reviewed by Anna Behler, Assistant Professo, North Carolina State University on 6/1/21

The text is very thorough and covers all of the necessary topics for an undergraduate psychology research methods course. There is even coverage of qualitative research, case studies, and the replication crisis which I have not seen in some other... read more

The text is very thorough and covers all of the necessary topics for an undergraduate psychology research methods course. There is even coverage of qualitative research, case studies, and the replication crisis which I have not seen in some other texts.

There were no issues with the accuracy of the text.

The content is very up to date and relevant for a research methods course. The only updates that will likely be necessary in the coming years are updates to examples and modifications to the section on APA formatting.

The clarity of the writing was good, and the chapters were written in a way that was accessible and easy to follow.

I did not note any issues with consistency.

Each chapter is divided into multiple subsections. This makes the chapters even easier to read, as they are broken down into short and easy to navigate sections. These sections make it easy to assign readings as needed depending on which topics are being covered in class.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

The organization was one of the few areas of weakness, and I felt that the chapters were ordered somewhat oddly. However, this is something that is easily fixed, as chapters (and even subsections) can be assigned in whatever order is needed.

There were no issues of note with the interface, and the PDF of the text was easy to navigate.

The text was well written and there were no grammatical/writing errors of note.

Overall, the book did not contain any notable instances of bias. However, it would probably be appropriate to offer a more thorough discussion of the WEIRD problem in psychology research.

Reviewed by Seth Surgan, Professor, Worcester State University on 5/24/21

Pitched very well for a 200-level Research Methods course. This text provided students with solid basis for class discussion and the further development of their understanding of fundamental concepts. read more

Pitched very well for a 200-level Research Methods course. This text provided students with solid basis for class discussion and the further development of their understanding of fundamental concepts.

No issues with accuracy.

Coverage was on target, relevant, and applicable, with good examples from a variety of subfields within Psychology.

Clearly written -- students often struggle with the dry, technical nature of concepts in Research Methods. Part of the reason I chose this text in the first place was how favorably it compared to other options in terms of clarity.

No problems with inconsistent of shifting language. This is extremely important in Research Methods, where there are many closely related terms. Language was consistent and compatible with other textbook options that were available to my students.

Chapters are broken down into sections that are reasonably sized and conceptually appropriate.

The organization of this textbook fit perfectly with the syllabus I've been using (in one form or another) for 15+ years.

This textbook was easy to navigate and available in a variety of formats.

No problems at all.

Examples show an eye toward inclusivity. I did not detect any insensitive or offensive examples or undertones.

I have used this textbook for a 200-level Research Methods course run over a single summer session. This was my first experience using an OER textbook and I don't plan on going back.

Reviewed by Laura Getz, Assistant Professor, University of San Diego on 4/29/21

The topics covered seemed to be at an appropriate level for beginner undergraduate psychology students; the learning objectives for each subsection and the key takeaways and exercises for each chapter are also very helpful in guiding students’... read more

The topics covered seemed to be at an appropriate level for beginner undergraduate psychology students; the learning objectives for each subsection and the key takeaways and exercises for each chapter are also very helpful in guiding students’ attention to what is most relevant. The glossary is also thorough and a good resource for clear definitions. I would like to see a final chapter on a “big picture” or integrating key ideas of replication, meta-analysis, and open science.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

For the most part, I like the way information is presented. I had a few specific issues with definitions for ordinal variables being quantitative (1st, 2nd, 3rd aren’t really numbers as much as ranked categories), the lack of specificity about different forms of validity (face, content, criterion, and discriminant all just labeled “validity” whereas internal and external validity appear in different sections), and the lack of clear distinction between correlational and quasi-experimental variables (e.g., in some places, country of origin is listed as making a design quasi-experimental, but in other chapters it is defined as correlational).

Some of the specific studies/experiments mentioned do not seem like the best or most relevant for students to learn about the topics, but for the most part, content is up-to-date and can definitely be updated with new studies to illustrate concepts with relative ease.

Besides the few concepts I listed above in “accuracy”, I feel the text was very accessible, provides clear definitions, and many examples to illustrate any potential technical/jargon terms.

I did not notice any issues with inconsistent terms except for terms that do have more than one way of describing the same concept (e.g., 2-sample vs. independent samples t-test)

I assigned the chapters out of order with relative ease, and students did not comment about it being burdensome to navigate.

The order of chapters sometimes did not make sense to me (e.g., Experimental before Non-experimental designs, Quasi-experimental designs separate from other non-experimental designs, waiting until Chapter 11 to talk about writing), but for the most part, the chapter subsections were logical and clear.

Interface rating: 4

I had no issues navigating the online version of the textbook other than taking a while to figure out how to move forward and back within the text itself rather than going back to the table of contents (this might just be a browser issue, but is still worth considering).

No grammatical errors of note.

There was nothing explicitly insensitive or offensive about the text, but there were many places where I felt like more focus on diversity and individual differences could be helpful. For example, ethics and history of psychological testing would definitely be a place to bring in issues of systemic racism and/or sexism and a focus on WEIRD samples (which is mentioned briefly at another point).

I was very satisfied with this free resource overall, and I recommend it for beginning level undergraduate psychology research methods courses.

Reviewed by Laura Stull, Associate Professor, Anderson University on 4/23/21

This book covers essential topics and areas related to conducting introductory psychological research. It covers all critical topics, including the scientific method, research ethics, research designs, and basic descriptive and inferential... read more

This book covers essential topics and areas related to conducting introductory psychological research. It covers all critical topics, including the scientific method, research ethics, research designs, and basic descriptive and inferential statistics. It even goes beyond other texts in terms of offering specific guidance in areas like how to conduct research literature searches and psychological measurement development. The only area that appears slightly lacking is detailed guidance in the mechanics of writing in APA style (though excellent basic information is provided in chapter 11).

All content appears accurate. For example, experimental designs discussed, descriptive and inferential statistical guidance, and critical ethical issues are all accurately addressed, See comment on relevance below regarding some outdated information.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

Chapter 11 on APA style does not appear to cover the most current version of the APA style guide (7th edition). While much of the information in Chapter 11 is still current, there are specifics that did change from 6th to 7th edition of the APA manual and so, in order to be current, this information would have to be supplemented with external sources.

The book is extremely well organized, written in language and terms that should be easily understood by undergraduate freshmen, and explains all necessary technical jargon.

The text is consistent throughout in terms of terminology and the organizational framework (which aids in the readability of the text).

The text is divided into intuitive and common units based on basic psychological research methodology. It is clear and easy to follow and is divided in a way that would allow omission of some information if necessary (such as "single subject research") or reorganization of information (such as presenting survey research before experimental research) without disruption to the course as a whole.

As stated previously, the book is organized in a clear and logical fashion. Not only are the chapters presented in a logical order (starting with basic and critical information like overviews of the scientific method and research ethics and progressing to more complex topics like statistical analyses).

No issues with interface were noted. Helpful images/charts/web resources (e.g., Youtube videos) are embedded throughout and are even easy to follow in a print version of the text.

No grammatical issues were noted.

No issues with cultural bias are noted. Examples are included that address topics that are culturally sensitive in nature.

I ordered a print version of the text so that I could also view it as students would who prefer a print version. I am extremely impressed with what is offered. It covers all of the key content that I am currently covering with a (non-open source) textbook in an introduction to research methods course. The only concern I have is that APA style is not completely current and would need to be supplemented with a style guide. However, I consider this a minimal issue given all of the many strengths of the book.

Reviewed by Anika Gearhart, Instructor (TT), Leeward Community College on 4/22/21

Includes the majority of elements you expect from a textbook covering research methods. Some topics that could have been covered in a bit more depth were factorial research designs (no coverage of 3 or more independent variables) and external... read more

Includes the majority of elements you expect from a textbook covering research methods. Some topics that could have been covered in a bit more depth were factorial research designs (no coverage of 3 or more independent variables) and external validity (or the validities in general).

Nothing found that was inaccurate.

Looks like a few updates could be made to chapter 11 to bring it up to date with APA 7. Otherwise, most examples are current.

Very clear, a great fit for those very new to the topic.

The framework is clear and logical, and the learning objectives are very helpful for orienting the reader immediately to the main goals of each section.

Subsections are well-organized and clear. Titles for sections and subsections are clear.

Though I think the flow of this textbook for the most part is excellent, I would make two changes: move chapter 5 down with the other chapters on experimental research and move chapter 11 to the very end. I feel that this would allow for a more logical presentation of content.

The webpage navigation is easy to use and intuitive, the ebook download works as designed, and the page can be embedded directly into a variety of LMS sites or used with a variety of devices.

I found no grammatical errors in this book.

While there were some examples of studies that included participants from several cultures, the book does not touch on ecological validity, an important external validity issue tied to cultural psychology, and there is no mention of the WEIRD culture issue in psychology, which seems somewhat necessary when orienting new psychology students to research methods today.

I currently use and enjoy this textbook in my research methods class. Overall, it has been a great addition to the course, and I am easily able to supplement any areas that I feel aren't covered with enough breadth.

Reviewed by Amy Foley, Instructor/Field & Clinical Placement Coordinator, University of Indianapolis on 3/11/21

This text provides a comprehensive overview of the research process from ideation to proposal. It covers research designs common to psychology and related fields. read more

This text provides a comprehensive overview of the research process from ideation to proposal. It covers research designs common to psychology and related fields.

Accurate information!

This book is current and lines up well with the music therapy research course I teach as a supplemental text for students to understand research designs.

Clear language for psychology and related fields.

The format of the text is consistent. I appreciate the examples, different colored boxes, questions, and links to external sources such as video clips.

It is easy to navigate this text by chapters and smaller units within each chapter. The only confusion that has come from using this text includes the fact that the larger units have roman numerals and the individual chapters have numbers. I have told students to "read unit six" and they only read the small chapter 6, not the entire unit for example.

Flows well!

I have not experienced any interface issues.

I have not found any grammar errors.

Book appears culturally relevant.

This is a great resource for research methods courses in psychology or related fields. I am glad to have used several chapters of this text within the music therapy research course I teach where students learn about research design and then create their own research proposal.

Reviewed by Veronica Howard, Associate Professor, University of Alaska Anchorage on 1/11/21, updated 1/11/21

VERY impressed by the coverage of single subject designs. I would recommend this content to colleagues. read more

VERY impressed by the coverage of single subject designs. I would recommend this content to colleagues.

Content appears accurate.

By expanding to include more contemporary research perspectives, the authors have created a wonderful dynamic that permits the text to be the foundation for many courses as well as revision and remixing for other authors.

Book easy to read, follow.

Consistency rating: 4

Content overall consistent. Only mild inconsistency in writing style between chapters.

Exceptionally modular. All content neatly divided into units with smaller portions. This would be a great book to use in a course that meets bi-weekly, or adapted into other formats.

Content organized in a clear and logical fashion, and would guide students through a semester-long course on research methods, starting with review content, broad overview of procedures (including limitations), then highlighting less common (though relevant) procedures.

Rich variety of formats for use.

No errors found.

I would appreciate more cultural examples.

Reviewed by Greg Mullin, Associate Professor, Bunker Hill Community College on 12/30/20, updated 1/6/21

I was VERY pleased with the comprehensiveness of the text. I believe it actually has an edge over the publisher-based text that I've been using for years. Each major topic was thoroughly covered with more than enough detail on individual concepts. read more

I was VERY pleased with the comprehensiveness of the text. I believe it actually has an edge over the publisher-based text that I've been using for years. Each major topic was thoroughly covered with more than enough detail on individual concepts.

I did not find any errors within the text. The authors provided an unbiased representation of research methods in psychology.

The content connects to classic, timeless examples in the field, but also mixes in a fair amount of more current, relatable examples. I feel like I'll be able to use this version of the text for many years without its age showing.

The authors present a clear and efficient writing style throughout that is rich with relatable examples. The only area that may be a bit much for undergraduate-level student understanding is the topic of statistics. I personally scale back my discussion of statistics in my Intro to Research Methods course, but for those that prefer a deeper dive, the higher-level elements are there.

I did not notice any shifts with the use of terminology or with the structural framework of the text. The text is very consistent and organized in an easily digestible way.

The authors do a fantastic job breaking complex topics down into manageable chunks both as a whole and within chapters. As I was reading, I could easily see how I could align my current approach of teaching Intro to Research Methods with their modulated presentation of the material.

I effortlessly moved through the text given the structural organization. All topics are presented in a logical fashion that allowed each message to be delivered to the reader with ease.

I read the text through the PDF version and found no issue with the interface. All image and text-based material was presented clearly.

I cannot recall coming across any grammatical errors. The text is very well written.

I did not find the text to be culturally insensitive in any way. The authors use inclusive language and even encourage that style of writing in the chapter on Presenting Your Research. I would have liked to see more cross-cultural research examples and more of an extended effort to include the theme of diversity throughout, but at no point did I find the text to be offensive.

This is a fantastic text and I look forward to adopting it for my Intro to Research Methods course in the Spring. :)

Reviewed by Maureen O'Connell, Adjunct Professor, Bunker Hill Community College on 12/15/20, updated 12/18/20

This text edition has covered all ideas and areas of research methods in psychology. It has provided a glossary of terms, sample APA format, and sample research papers.  read more

This text edition has covered all ideas and areas of research methods in psychology. It has provided a glossary of terms, sample APA format, and sample research papers. 

The content is unbiased, accurate, and I did not find any errors in the text. 

The content is current and up-to-date. I found that the text can be added to should material change, the arrangement of the text/content makes it easily accessible to add material, if necessary. 

The text is clear, easy to understand, simplistic writing at times, but I find this text easy for students to comprehend. All text is relevant to the content of behavioral research. 

The text and terminology is consistent. 

The text is organized well and sectioned appropriately. The information is presented in an easy-to-read format, with sections that can be assigned at various points during the semester and the reader can easily locate this. 

The topics in the text are organized in a logical and clear manner. It flows really well. 

The text is presented well, including charts, diagrams, and images. There did not appear to be any confusion with this text. 

The text contains no grammatical errors.

The text was culturally appropriate and not offensive. Clear examples of potential biases were outlined in this text which I found quite helpful for the reader. 

Overall, I found this to be a great edition. Much of the time I spend researching outside material for students has been included in this text. I enjoyed the format, easier to navigate, helpful to students by providing an updated version of discussions and practice assignments, and visually more appealing. 

Reviewed by Brittany Jeye, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Worcester State University on 6/26/20

All of the main topics in a Research Methods course are covered in this textbook (e.g., scientific method, ethics, measurement, experimental design, hypothesis testing, APA style, etc.). Some of these topics are not covered as in-depth as in other... read more

All of the main topics in a Research Methods course are covered in this textbook (e.g., scientific method, ethics, measurement, experimental design, hypothesis testing, APA style, etc.). Some of these topics are not covered as in-depth as in other Research Method textbooks I have used previously, but this actually may be a positive depending on the students and course level (that is, students may only need a solid overview of certain topics without getting overwhelmed with too many details). It also gives the instructor the ability to add content as needed, which helps with flexibility in course design.

I did not note any errors or inaccurate/biasing statements in the text.

For the most part, everything was up to date. There was a good mix of classic research and newer studies presented and/or used as examples, which kept the chapters interesting, topical and relevant. I only noted the section on APA Style in the chapter “Presenting Your Research” which may need some updating to be in line with the new APA 7th edition. However, there should be only minor edits needed (the chapter itself was great overview and introduction to the main points of APA style) and it looks like they should be relatively easy to implement.

The text was very well-written and was presented at an accessible level for undergraduates new to Research Methods. Terms were well-defined with a helpful glossary at the end of the textbook.

The consistent structure of the textbook is huge positive. Each chapter begins with learning objectives and ends with bulleted key takeaways. There are also good exercises and learning activities for students at the end of each chapter. Instructors may need to add their own activities for chapters that do not go into a lot of depth (there are also instructor resources online, which may have more options available).

This is one of the biggest strengths of this textbook, in my opinion. I appreciate how each chapter is broken down into clearly defined subsections. The chapters and the subsections, in particular, are not lengthy, which is great for students’ learning. These subsections could be reorganized and used in a variety of ways to suit the needs of a particular course (or even as standalone subsections).

The topics were presented in a logical manner. As mentioned above, since the textbook is very modular, I feel that you could easily rearrange the chapters to fit your needs (for example, presenting survey design before experimental research or making the presenting your research section a standalone unit).

I downloaded the textbook as an ebook, which was very easy to use/navigate. There were no problems reading any of the text or figures/tables. I also appreciated that you could open the ebook using a variety of apps (Kindle, iBook, etc.) depending on your preference (and this is good for students who have a variety of technical needs).

There were no grammatical errors noted.

The examples were inclusive of races, ethnicity and background and there were not any examples that were culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. In future iterations of the replicability section, it may be beneficial to touch upon the “weird” phenomena in psychology research (that many studies use participants who are western, educated and from industrialized, rich and democratic countries) as a point to engage students in improving psychological practices.

I will definitely consider switching to this textbook in the future for Research Methods.

Reviewed by Alice Frye, Associate Teaching Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell on 6/22/20

Hits all the necessary marks from ways of knowing to measurement, research designs, and presentation. Comparable in detail and content to other Research Methods texts I have used for teaching. read more

Hits all the necessary marks from ways of knowing to measurement, research designs, and presentation. Comparable in detail and content to other Research Methods texts I have used for teaching.

Correct and to the point. Complex ideas such as internal consistency reliability and discriminant validity are well handled--correct descriptions that are also succinct and articulated simply and with clear examples that are easy for a student reader to grasp.

Seems likely to have good staying power. One area that has changed quickly in the past is the usefulness of various research data bases. So it is possible that portion could become more quickly outdated, but there is no predicting that. The current descriptions are useful.

Very clearly written without being condescending, overly casual or clunky.

Excellent consistency throughout in terms of organization, language usage, level of detail and tone.

Imho this is one of the particular strengths of the text. Chapters are well divided into discrete parts, which seems likely to be a benefit in cohorts of students who are increasingly accustomed to digesting small amounts of information.

Well organized, straightforward structure that is maintained throughout.

No problems with the interface.

The grammar level is another notable strength. Ideas are articulated clearly, and with sophistication, but in a syntactically very straightforward manner.

The text isn't biased or offensive. I wish that to illustrate various points and research designs it had drawn more frequently on research studies that incorporate a specific focus on race and ethnicity.

This is a very good text. As good as any for profit text I have used to teach a research methods course, if not better.

Reviewed by Lauren Mathieu-Frasier, Adjunct Instructor, University of Indianapolis on 1/13/20

As other reviews have mentioned, this textbook provides a comprehensive look at multiple concepts for an introductory course in research methods in psychology. Some of the concepts (i.e., variables, external validity) are briefly described and... read more

As other reviews have mentioned, this textbook provides a comprehensive look at multiple concepts for an introductory course in research methods in psychology. Some of the concepts (i.e., variables, external validity) are briefly described and glossed over that it will take additional information, examples, and reinforcement from instructors in the classroom. Other sections and concepts, like ethics or reporting of research were well-described and thorough.

It appeared that the information was accurate, error-free, and unbiased.

The information is up-to-date. In the section on APA presentation, it looks like the minor adjustments to the APA Publication Manual 7th Edition would need to be included. However, this section gives a good foundation and the instructor can easily implement the changes.

Clarity rating: 4

The text is clearly written written and provides an appropriate context when terminology is used.

There aren't any issues with consistency in the textbook.

The division of smaller sections can be beneficial when reading it and assigning it to classes. The sections are clearly organized based on learning objectives.

The textbook is organized in a logical, clear manner. There may be topics that instructors choose to present in a different manner (non-experimental and survey research prior to experimental). However, this doesn't generally impact the organization and flow of the book.

While reading and utilizing the book, there weren't any navigation issues that could impact the readability of the book. Students could find this textbook easy to use.

Grammatical errors were not noted.

There weren't any issues with cultural sensitivity in the examples of studies used in the textbook.

Reviewed by Tiffany Kindratt, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Arlington on 1/1/20

The text is comprehensive with an effective glossary of terms at the end. It would be beneficial to include additional examples and exercises for students to better understand concepts covered in Chapter II, Overview of the Scientific Method,... read more

The text is comprehensive with an effective glossary of terms at the end. It would be beneficial to include additional examples and exercises for students to better understand concepts covered in Chapter II, Overview of the Scientific Method, Chapter IV, Psychological Measurement, and Chapter XII Descriptive Statistics.

The text is accurate and there are minimal type/grammatical errors throughout. The verbiage is written in an unbiased manner consistently throughout the textbook.

The content is up-to-date, and examples can be easily updated for future versions. As a public health instructor, I would be interested in seeing examples of community-based examples in future versions. The current examples provided are relevant for undergraduate public health students as well as psychology students.

The text is written in a clear manner. The studies used can be easily understood by undergraduate students in other social science fields, such as public health. More examples and exercises using inferential statistics would be helpful for students to better grasp the concepts.

The framework for each chapter and terminology used are consistent. It is helpful that each section within each chapter begins with learning objectives and the chapter ends with key takeaways and exercises.

The text is clearly divided into sections within each chapter. When I first started reviewing this textbook, I thought each section was actually a very short chapter. I would recommend including a listing of all of the objectives covered in each chapter at the beginning to improve the modularity of the text.

Some of the topics do not follow a logical order. For example, it would be more appropriate to discuss ethics before providing the overview of the scientific method. It would be better to discuss statistics used to determine results before describing how to write manuscripts. However, the text is written in a way that that the chapters could be assigned to students in a different order without impacting the students’ comprehension of the concepts.

I did not encounter any interface issues when reviewing this text. All links worked and there were no distortions of the images or charts that may confuse the reader. There are several data tables throughout the text which are left-aligned and there is a large amount of empty white space next it. I would rearrange the text in future versions to make better use of this space.

The text contains minimal grammatical errors.

The examples are culturally relevant. I did not see any examples that may be considered culturally insensitive or offensive in any way.

As an instructor for an undergraduate public health sciences and methods course, I will consider using some of the content in this text to supplement the current textbook in the future.

Reviewed by Mickey White, Assistant Professor, East Tennessee State University on 10/23/19

The table of contents is well-formatted and comprehensive. Easy to navigate and find exactly what is needed, students would be able to quickly find needed subjects. read more

The table of contents is well-formatted and comprehensive. Easy to navigate and find exactly what is needed, students would be able to quickly find needed subjects.

Content appears to be accurate and up-to-date.

This text is useful and relevant, particularly with regard to expressing and reporting descriptive statistics and results. As APA updates, the text will be easy to edit, as the sections are separated.

Easy to read and engaging.

Chapters were laid out in a consistent manner, which allows readers to know what is coming. The subsections contained a brief overview and terminology was consistent throughout. The glossary added additional information.

Sections and subsections are delineated in a usable format.

The key takeaways were useful, including the exercises at the end of each chapter.

Reading the book online is a little difficult to navigate page-by-page, but e-pub and PDF formats are easy to navigate.

No errors noted.

Would be helpful to have a clearer exploration of cultural factors impacting research, including historical bias in assessment and research outside of research ethics.

Reviewed by Robert Michael, Assistant Professor, University of Louisiana at Lafayette on 10/14/19

Successfully spans the gamut of topics expected in a Research Methods textbook. Some topics are covered in-depth, while others are addressed only at a surface level. Instructors may therefore need to carefully arrange class material for topics in... read more

Successfully spans the gamut of topics expected in a Research Methods textbook. Some topics are covered in-depth, while others are addressed only at a surface level. Instructors may therefore need to carefully arrange class material for topics in which depth of knowledge is an important learning outcome.

The factual content was error-free, according to my reading. I did spot a few grammatical and typographical errors, but they were infrequent and minor.

Great to see nuanced—although limited—discussion of issues with Null Hypothesis Significance Testing, Reproducibility in Psychological Science, and so forth. I expect that these areas are likely to grow in future editions, perhaps supplementing or even replacing more traditional material.

Extremely easy to read with multiple examples throughout to illustrate the principles being covered. Many of these examples are "classics" that students can easily relate to. Plus, who doesn't like XKCD comics?

The textbook is structured sensibly. At times, certain authors' "voices" seemed apparent in the writing, but I suspect this variability is unlikely to be noticed by or even bothersome to the vast majority of readers.

The topics are easily divisible and seem to follow routine expectations. Instructors might find it beneficial and/or necessary to incorporate some of the statistical thinking and learning into various earlier chapters to facilitate student understanding in-the-moment, rather than trying to leave all the statistics to the end.

Sensible and easy-to-follow structure. As per "Modularity", the Statistical sections may benefit from instructors folding in such learning throughout, rather than only at the end.

Beautifully presented, crisp, easy-to-read and navigate. Caveat: I read this online, in a web-browser, on only one device. I haven't tested across multiple platforms.

High quality writing throughout. Only a few minor slip-ups that could be easily fixed.

Includes limited culturally relevant material where appropriate.

Reviewed by Matthew DeCarlo, Assistant Professor, Radford University on 6/26/19

The authors do a great job of simplifying the concepts of research methods and presenting them in a way that is understandable. There is a tradeoff between brevity and depth here. Faculty who adopt this textbook may need to spend more time in... read more

The authors do a great job of simplifying the concepts of research methods and presenting them in a way that is understandable. There is a tradeoff between brevity and depth here. Faculty who adopt this textbook may need to spend more time in class going in depth into concepts, rather than relying on the textbook for all of the information related to key concepts. The text does not cover qualitative methods in detail.

The textbook provides an accurate picture of research methods. The tone is objective and without bias.

The textbook is highly relevant and up to date. Examples are drawn from modern theories and articles.

The writing is a fantastic mix of objective and authoritative while also being approachable.

The book coheres well together. Each chapter and section are uniform.

This book fits very well within a traditional 16 week semester, covering roughly a chapter per week. One could take out specific chapters and assign them individually if research methods is taught in a different way from a standard research textbook.

Content is very well organized. The table of contents is easy to navigate and each chapter is presented in a clear and consistent manner. The use of a two-tier table of contents is particularly helpful.

Standard pressbooks interface, which is great. Uses all of the standard components of Pressbooks well, though the lack of H5P and interactive content is a drawback.

I did not notice any grammar errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 2

The book does not deal with cultural competence and humility in the research process. Integration of action research and decolonization perspectives would be helpful.

Reviewed by Christopher Garris, Associate Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 5/24/19

Most content areas in this textbook were covered appropriately extensively. Notably, this textbook included some content that is commonly missing in other textbooks (e.g. presenting your research). There were some areas where more elaboration... read more

Most content areas in this textbook were covered appropriately extensively. Notably, this textbook included some content that is commonly missing in other textbooks (e.g. presenting your research). There were some areas where more elaboration and more examples were needed. For example, the section covering measurement validities included all the important concepts, but needed more guidance for student comprehension. Also, the beginning chapters on 'common sense' reasoning and pseudoscience seemed a little too brief.

Overall, this textbook appeared to be free from glaring errors. There were a couple of instances of concern, but were not errors, per se. For example, the cut-off for Cronbach's alpha was stated definitively at .80, while this value likely would be debated among researchers.

This textbook was presented in such a way that seemed protect it from becoming obsolete within the next few years. This is important for continued, consistent use of the book. The authors have revised this book, and those revisions are clearly summarized in the text. Importantly, the APA section of the textbook appears to be up-to-date. Also, the use of QR codes throughout the text is a nice touch that students may appreciate.

Connected to comprehensiveness, there are some important content areas that I felt were lacking in elaboration and examples (e.g. testing the validity of measurement; introduction of experimental design), which inhibits clarity. Overall, however, the topics seemed to be presented in a straightforward, accessible manner. The textbook includes links to informative videos and walk-throughs where appropriate, which seem to be potentially beneficial for student comprehension. The textbook includes tools designed to aid learning, namely "Key Takeaways" and "Exercises" sections at the end of most modules, but not all. "Key Takeaways" seemed valuable, as they were a nice bookend to the learning objectives stated at the beginning of each module. "Exercises" did not appear to be as valuable, especially for the less-motivated student. On their face, these seemed to be more designed for instructors to use as class activities/active learning. Lastly, many modules of the textbook were text-heavy and visually unappealing. While this is superficial, the inclusion of additional graphics, example boxes, or figures in these text-heavy modules might be beneficial.

The textbook appeared to be internally consistent with its approach and use of terminology.

The textbook had a tendency to 'throw out' big concepts very briefly in earlier modules (e.g. sampling, experimental/non-experimental design), and then cover them in more detail in later modules. This would have been less problematic if the text would explicitly inform the student that these concepts would be elaborated upon later. Beyond this issue, the textbook seems to lend itself to being divided up and used on module-by-module basis.

The organization of the chapters did not make intuitive sense to me. The fact that correlation followed experimental research, and that descriptive research was the second-to-last module in the sequence was confusing. That said, textbook is written in such a way that an instructor easily assign the modules in the order that works best for their class.

Overall, the interface worked smoothly and there were few technical issues. Where there were issues (e.g. inconsistent spacing between lines and words), they were negligible.

The text seemed to be free from glaring grammatical problems.

Because this is a methodology textbook, it does not lend itself to too much cultural criticism. That said, the book did not rely on overly controversial examples, but also didn't shy away from important cultural topics (e.g. gender stereotypes, vaccines).

Reviewed by Michel Heijnen, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Wilmington on 3/27/18

The book covers all areas related to research methods, not only for the field of psychology, but also to other related fields like exercise science. Topics include ethics, developing a research questions, experimental designs, non-experimental... read more

The book covers all areas related to research methods, not only for the field of psychology, but also to other related fields like exercise science. Topics include ethics, developing a research questions, experimental designs, non-experimental designs, and basic statistics, making this book a great resource for undergraduate research methods classes.

Reviewed content is accurate and seems free of any personal bias.

The topic of research methods in general is not expected to change quickly. It is not expected that this text will become obsolete in the near future. Furthermore, for both the field of psychology as well as other related fields, the examples will continue to have an application to explain certain concepts and will not be outdated soon, even with new research emerging every day.

The text is written so an undergraduate student should be able to understand the concepts. The examples provided in the text greatly contribute to the understanding of the topics and the proposed exercises at the end of each chapter will further apply the knowledge.

The layout and writing style are consistent throughout the text.

Layout of the text is clear, with multiple subsection within each chapter. Each chapter can easily be split into multiple subsection to assign to students. No evidence of self-refers was observed, and individual chapters could be assigned to students without needed to read all preceding chapters. For example, Chapter 4 may not be particularly useful to students outside of psychology, but an instructor can easily reorganize the text and skip this chapter while students can still understand following chapters.

Topics are addressed in a logical manner. Overall, an introduction to research is provided first (including ethics to research), which is followed by different types of research, and concludes with types of analysis.

No images or tables are distorted, making the text easy to read.

No grammatical errors observed in text.

Text is not offensive and does not appear to be culturally insensitive.

I believe that this book is a great resource and, as mentioned previously, can be used for a wider audience than just psychology as the basics of research methods can be applied to various fields, including exercise science.

Reviewed by Chris Koch, Professor of Psychology, George Fox University on 3/27/18

All appropriate areas and topics are covered in the text. In that sense, this book is equivalent to other top texts dealing with research methods in psychology. The appeal of this book is the brevity and clarity. Therefore, some may find that,... read more

All appropriate areas and topics are covered in the text. In that sense, this book is equivalent to other top texts dealing with research methods in psychology. The appeal of this book is the brevity and clarity. Therefore, some may find that, although the topics are covered, topics may not be covered as thoroughly they might like. Overall, the coverage is solid for an introductory course in research methods.

In terms of presentation, this book could be more comprehensive. Each chapter does start with a set of learning objectives and ends with "takeaways" and a short set of exercises. However, it lacks detailed chapter outlines, summaries, and glossaries. Furthermore, an index does not accompany the text.

I found the book to be accurate with content being fairly presented. There was no underlying bias throughout the book.

This is an introductory text for research methods. The basics of research methods have been consistent for some time. The examples used in the text fit the concepts well. Therefore, it should not be quickly dated. It is organized in such a way that sections could be easily modified with more current examples as needed.

The text is easy to read. It is succinct yet engaging. Examples are clear and terminology is adequately defined.

New terms and concepts are dealt with chapter by chapter. However, those things which go across chapters are consistently presented.

The material for each chapter is presented in subsections with each subsection being tied to a particular learning objective. It is possible to use the book by subsection instead of by chapter. In fact, I did that during class by discussing the majority of one chapter, discussing another chapter, and then covering what I previously skipped,

In general, the book follows a "traditional" organization, matching the organization of many competing books. As mentioned in regard to modularity, I did not follow the organization of the book exactly as it was laid out. This may not necessarily reflect poorly on the book, however, since I have never followed the order of any research methods book. My three exams covered chapter 1 through 4, chapters 5, 6, part of 8, and chapters 7, the remainder of 8, 9, and 10. Once we collected data I covered chapters 11 through 13.

Interface rating: 3

The text and images are clear and distortion free. The text is available in several formats including epub, pdf, mobi, odt, and wxr. Unfortunately, the electronic format is not taken full advantage of. The text could be more interactive. As it is, it is just text and images. Therefore, the interface could be improved.

The book appeared to be well written and edited.

I did not find anything in the book that was culturally insensitive or offensive. However, more examples of cross-cultural research could be included.

I was, honestly, surprised by how much I liked the text. The material was presented in easy to follow format that is consistent with how I think about research methods. That made the text extremely easy to use. Students also thought the book was highly accessible Each chapter was relatively short but informative and easy to read.

Reviewed by Kevin White, Assistant Professor, East Carolina University on 2/1/18

This book covers all relevant topics for an introduction to research methods course in the social sciences, including measurement, sampling, basic research design, and ethics. The chapters were long enough to be somewhat comprehensive, but short... read more

This book covers all relevant topics for an introduction to research methods course in the social sciences, including measurement, sampling, basic research design, and ethics. The chapters were long enough to be somewhat comprehensive, but short enough to be digestible for students in an introductory-level class. Student reviews of the book have so far been very positive. The only section of the text for which more detail may be helpful is 2.3 (Reviewing the Research Literature), in which more specific instructions related to literature searches may be helpful to students.

I did not notice any issues related to accuracy. Content appeared to be accurate, error-free, and unbiased.

One advantage of this book is that it is relevant to other applied fields outside of psychology (e.g., social work, counseling, etc.). Also, the exercises at the end of chapter sections are helpful.

The clarity of the text provides students with succinct definitions for research-related concepts, without unnecessary discipline-specific jargon. One suggestion for future editions would be to make the distinctions between different types of non-experimental research a bit more clear for students in introductory classes (e.g., "Correlational Research" in Section 7.2).

Formatting and terminology was consistent throughout this text.

A nice feature of this book is that instructors can select individual sections within chapters, or even jump between sections within chapters. For example, Section 1.4 may not fit for a class that is less clinically-oriented in nature.

The flow of the text was appropriate, with ethics close to the beginning of the book (and an entire chapter devoted to it), and descriptive/inferential statistics at the end.

I did not notice any problems related to interface. I had no trouble accessing or reading the text, and the images were clear.

The text contained no discernible grammatical errors.

The book does not appear to be culturally insensitive in any discernible way, and explicitly addresses prejudice in research (e.g., Section 5.2). However, I think that continuing to add more examples that relate to specific marginalized groups would help improve the text (and especially exercises).

Overall, this book is very useful for an introductory research methods course in psychology or social work, and I highly recommend.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Do, Instructor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 2/1/18

Although this textbook does provide good information regarding introductory concepts necessary for the understanding of correlational designs, and is presented in a logical order. It does not, however, cover qualitative methodologies, or research... read more

Although this textbook does provide good information regarding introductory concepts necessary for the understanding of correlational designs, and is presented in a logical order. It does not, however, cover qualitative methodologies, or research ethics as it relates to other countries outside of the US.

There does not seem to be any errors within the text.

Since this textbook covers a topic that is unlikely to change over the years and it's content is up-to-date, it remains relevant to the field.

The textbook is written at an appropriate level for undergraduate students and is useful in that it does explain important terminology.

There does not seem to be any major inconsistencies within the text.

Overall, the text is very well organized - it is separated into chapters that are divided up into modules and within each module, there are clear learning objectives. It is also helpful that the textbook includes useful exercises for students to practice what they've read about from the text.

The topics covered by this textbook are presented in an order that is logical. The writing is clear and the examples are very useful. However, more information could be provided in some of the chapters and it would be useful to include a table of contents that links to the different chapters within the PDF copy, for reader's ease in navigation when looking for specific terms and/or topics.

Overall, the PDF copy of the textbook made it easy to read; however, there did seem to be a few links that were missing. Additionally, it would be helpful to have some of the graphs printed in color to help with ease of following explanations provided by the text. The inclusion of a table of contents would also be useful for greater ease with navigation.

There does not seem to be any grammatical errors in the textbook. Also, the textbook is written in a clear way, and the information flows nicely.

This textbook focuses primarily on examples from the United States. It does not seem to be culturally insensitive or offensive in anyway and I liked that it included content regarding the avoidance of biased language (chapter 11).

This textbook makes the material very accessible, and it is easy to read/follow examples.

all research methods in psychology quizlet

Reviewed by Eric Lindsey, Professor, Penn State University Berks Campus on 2/1/18

The content of the Research Methods in Psychology textbook was very thorough and covered what I would consider to be the important concepts and issues pertaining to research methods. I would judge that the textbook has a comparable coverage of... read more

The content of the Research Methods in Psychology textbook was very thorough and covered what I would consider to be the important concepts and issues pertaining to research methods. I would judge that the textbook has a comparable coverage of information to other textbooks I have reviewed, including the current textbook I am using. The range of scholarly sources included in the textbook was good, with an appropriate balance between older and classic research examples and newer more cutting edge research information. Overall, the textbook provides substantive coverage of the science of conducting research in the field of psychology, supported by good examples, and thoughtful questions.

The textbook adopts a coherent and student-friendly format, and offers a precise introduction to psychological research methodology that includes consideration of a broad range of qualitative and quantitative methods to help students identify and evaluate the best approach for their research needs. The textbook offers a detailed review of the way that psychological researchers approach their craft. The author guides the reader through all aspects of the research process including formulating objectives, choosing research methods, securing research participants, as well as advice on how to effectively collect, analyze and interpret data and disseminate those findings to others through a variety of presentation and publication venues. The textbook offers relevant supplemental information in textboxes that is highly relevant to the material in the accompanying text and should prove helpful to learners. Likewise the graphics and figures that are included are highly relevant and clearly linked to the material presented in the text. The information covered by the textbook reflects an accurate summary of current techniques and methods used in research in the field of psychology. The presentation of information addresses the pros and cons of different research strategies in an objective and evenhanded way.

The range of scholarly sources included in the textbook was good, with an appropriate balance between older, classic research evidence and newer, cutting edge research. Overall, the textbook provides substantive coverage of the science on most topics in research methods of psychology, supported by good case studies, and thoughtful questions. The book is generally up to date, with adequate coverage of basic data collection methods and statistical techniques. Likewise the review of APA style guidelines is reflects the current manual and I like the way the author summarizes changes from the older version of the APA manual. The organization of the textbook does appear to lend itself to editing and adding new information with updates in the future.

I found the textbook chapters to be well written, in a straightforward yet conversational manner. It gives the reader an impression of being taught by a knowledgeable yet approachable expert. The writing style gives the learner a feeling of being guided through the lessons and supported in a very conversational approach. The experience of reading the textbook is less like being taught and more like a colleague sharing information. Furthermore, the style keeps the reader engaged but doesn't detract from its educational purpose. I also appreciate that the writing is appropriately concise. No explanations are so wordy as to overwhelm or lull the reader to sleep, but at the same time the information is not so vague that the reader can't understand the point at all.

The book’s main aim is to enable students to develop their own skills as researchers, so they can generate and advance common knowledge on a variety of psychological topics. The book achieves this objective by introducing its readers, step-by-step, to psychological research design, while maintaining an excellent balance between substance and attention grabbing examples that is uncommon in other research methods textbooks. Its accessible language and easy-to-follow structure and examples lend themselves to encouraging readers to move away from the mere memorization of facts, formulas and techniques towards a more critical evaluation of their own ideas and work – both inside and outside the classroom. The content of the chapters have a very good flow that help the reader to connect information in a progressive manner as they proceed through the textbook.

Each chapter goes into adequate depth in reviewing both past and current research related to the topic that it covers for an undergraduate textbook on research methods in psychology. The information within each chapter flows well from point-to-point, so that the reader comes away feeling like there is a progression in the information presented. The only limitation that I see is that I felt the author could do a little more to let the reader know how information is connected from chapter to chapter. Rather than just drawing the reader’s attention to things that were mentioned in previous chapters, it would be nice to have brief comments about how issues in one chapter relate to topics covered in previous chapters.

In my opinion the chapters are arranged in easily digestible units that are manageable in 30-40 minute reading sessions. In fact, the author designed the chapters of the textbook in a way to make it easy to chunk information, and start and stop to easily pick up where one leaves off from one reading session to another. I also found the flow of information to be appropriate, with chapters containing just the right amount of detail for use in my introductory course in research methods in psychology.

The book is organized into thirteen chapters. The order of the chapters offers a logical progression from a broad overview of information about the principles and theory behind research in psychology, to more specific issues concerning the techniques and mechanics of conducting research. Each chapter ends with a summary of key takeaways from the chapter and exercises that do more than ask for content regurgitation. I find the organization of the textbook to be effective, and matches my approach to the course very well. I would not make any changes to the overall format with the exception of moving chapter 11 on presenting research to the end of the textbook, after the chapters on statistical analysis and interpretation.

I found the quality of the appearance of the textbook to be very good. The textbook features appropriate text and section/header font sizes that allow for an adequate zooming level to read large or smalls sections of text, that will give readers flexibility to match their personal preference. There are learning objectives at the start of each chapter to help students know what to expect. Key terms are highlighted in a separate color that are easily distinguishable in the body of the page. There are very useful visuals in every chapter, including tables, figures, and graphs. Relevant supplemental information is also highlighted in well formatted text boxes that are color coded to indicate what type of information is included. My only criticism is that the photographs included in the text are of low quality, and there are so few in the textbook that I feel it would have been better to just leave them out.

I found no grammatical errors in my review of the textbook. The textbook is generally well written, and the style of writing is at a level that is appropriate for an undergraduate class.

Although the textbook contains no instances of presenting information that is cultural insensitive or offensive, it does not offer an culturally inclusive review of information pertaining to research methods in psychology. I found no inclusion of examples of research conducting with non European American samples included in the summary of studies. Likewise the authors do place much attention on the issue of cultural sensitivity when conducing research. If there is one major weakness of the textbook I would say it is in this area, but based on my experience it is not an uncommon characteristic of textbooks on research methods in psychology.

Reviewed by zehra peynircioglu, Professor, American University on 2/1/18

Short and sweet in most areas. Covers the basic concepts, not very comprehensively but definitely adequately so for a general beginning-level research methods course. For instance, I would liked to have seen a "separate" chapter on correlational... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

Short and sweet in most areas. Covers the basic concepts, not very comprehensively but definitely adequately so for a general beginning-level research methods course. For instance, I would liked to have seen a "separate" chapter on correlational research (there is one on single subject research and one on survey research), a discussion of the importance of providing a theoretical rationale for "getting an idea" (most students are fine with finding interesting and feasible project ideas but cannot give a theoretical rationale) before or after Chapter 4 on Theory, or a chapter on neuroscientific methods, which are becoming more and more popular. Nevertheless, it touches on most traditional areas that are in other books.

I did not find any errors or biases

This is one area where there is not much danger of going obsolete any time soon. The examples might need to be updated periodically (my students tend to not like dated materials, however relevant), but that should be easy.

Very clear and accessible prose. Despite the brevity, the concepts are put forth quite clearly. I like the "not much fluff" mentality. There is also adequate explanations of jargon and technical terminology.

I could not find any inconsistencies. The style and exposition frameworks are also quite consistent.

Yes, the modularity is fine. The chapters follow a logical pattern, so there should not be too much of a need for jumping around. And even if jumping around is needed depending on teaching style, the sections are solid in terms of being able to stand alone (or as an accompaniment to lectures).

Yes, the contents is ordered logically and the high modularity helps with any reorganization that an instructor may favor. In my case, for instance, Ch. 1 is fine, but I would skip it because it's mostly a repetition of what most introductory psychology books also say. I would also discuss non-experimental methods before going into experimental design. But such changes are easy to do, and if someone followed the book's own organization, there would also be a logical flow.

As far as I could see, the text is free of significant interface issues, at least in the pdf version

I could not find any errors.

As far as I could see, the book was culturally relevant.

I loved the short and sweet learning objectives, key takeaway sections, and the exercises. They are not overwhelming and can be used in class discussions, too.

Reviewed by George Woodbury, Graduate Student, Miami University, Ohio on 6/20/17

This text covers the typical areas for an undergraduate psychology course in research design. There is no table of contents included with the downloadable version, although there is a table of contents on the website (which excludes sub-sections... read more

This text covers the typical areas for an undergraduate psychology course in research design. There is no table of contents included with the downloadable version, although there is a table of contents on the website (which excludes sub-sections of chapters). The sections on statistics are not extensive enough to be useful in and of themselves, but they are useful for transitions to a follow-up statistics course. There does not seem to be a glossary of terms, which made it difficult at times for my read through and I assume later for students who decide to print the text. The text is comprehensive without being wordy or tedious.

Relatively minor errors; There does not seem to be explicit cultural or methodological bias in the text.

The content is up-to-date, and examples from the psychology literature are generally within the last 25 years. Barring extensive restructuring in the fundamentals of methodology and design in psychology, any updates will be very easy to implement.

Text will be very clear and easy to read for students fluent in English. There is little jargon/technical terminology used, and the vocabulary that is provided in the text is contemporary

There do not seem to be obvious shifts in the terminology or the framework. The text is internally consistent in that regard.

The text is well divided into chapter and subsections. Each chapter is relatively self-contained, so there are little issues with referring to past material that may have been skipped. The learning objectives at the beginning of the chapter are very useful. Blocks of text are well divided with headings.

As mentioned above, the topics of the text follow the well-established trajectory of undergraduate psychology courses. This makes it very logical and clear.

The lack of a good table of contents made it difficult to navigate the text for my read through. There were links to an outside photo-hosting website (flickr) for some of the stock photos, which contained the photos of the original creators of the photos. This may be distracting or confusing to readers. However, the hyperlinks in general helped with navigation with the PDF.

No more grammatical errors than a standard, edited textbook.

Very few examples explicitly include other races, ethnicities, or backgrounds, however the examples seem to intentionally avoid cultural bias. Overall, the writing seems to be appropriately focused on avoiding culturally insensitive or offensive content.

After having examined several textbooks on research design and methodology related to psychology, this book stands out as superior.

Reviewed by Angela Curl, Assistant Professor, Miami University (Ohio) on 6/20/17

"Research Methods in Psychology" covers most research method topics comprehensively. The author does an excellent job explaining main concepts. The chapter on causation is very detailed and well-written as well as the chapter on research ethics.... read more

"Research Methods in Psychology" covers most research method topics comprehensively. The author does an excellent job explaining main concepts. The chapter on causation is very detailed and well-written as well as the chapter on research ethics. However, the explanations of data analysis seem to address upper level students rather than beginners. For example, in the “Describing Statistical Relationships” chapter, the author does not give detailed enough explanations for key terms. A reader who is not versed in research terminology, in my opinion, would struggle to understand the process. While most topics are covered, there are some large gaps. For example, this textbook has very little content related to qualitative research methods (five pages).

The content appears to be accurate and unbias.

The majority of the content will not become obsolete within a short time period-- many of the information can be used for the coming years, as the information provided is, overall, general in nature. The notably exceptions are the content on APA Code of Ethics and the APA Publication Manual, which both rely heavily on outdated versions, which limits the usefulness of these sections. In addition, it would be helpful to incorporate research studies that have been published after 2011.

The majority of the text is clear, with content that is easy for undergraduate students to read and understand. The key points included in the chapters are helpful, but some chapters seem to be missing key points (i.e., the key points do not accurately represent the overall chapter).

The text seems to be internally consistent in its terminology and organization.

Each chapter is broken into subsections that can be used alone. For example, section 5.2 covers reliability and validity of measurement. This could be extremely helpful for educators to select specific content for assigned readings.

The topics are presented in a logical matter for the most part. However, the PDF version of the book does not include a table of contents, and none of the formats has a glossary or index. This can make it difficult to quickly navigate to specific topics or terms, especially when explanations do not appear where expected. For example, the definitions of independent and dependent variables is provided under the heading “Correlation Does Not Imply Causation” (p. 22).

The text is consistent but needs more visual representations throughout the book, rather than heavily in some chapters and none at all in other chapters. Similarly, the text within the chapters is not easily readable due to the large sections of text with little to no graphics or breaks.

The interface of the text is adequate. However, the formatting of the PDF is sometimes weak. For example, the textbook has a number of pages with large blank spaces and other pages are taken up with large photos or graphics. The number of pages (and cost of printing) could have been reduced, or more graphics added to maximize utility.

I found no grammatical errors.

Text appears to be culturally sensitive. I appreciated the inclusion of the content about avoiding biased language (chapter 11).

Instructors who adopt this book would likely benefit from either selecting certain chapters/modules and/or integrating multiple texts together to address the shortcomings of this text. Further, the sole focus on psychology limits the use of this textbook for introductory research methods for other disciplines (e.g., social work, sociology).

Reviewed by Pramit Nadpara, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 4/11/17

The text book provides good information in certain areas, while not comprehensive information in other areas. The text provides practical information, especially the section on survey development was good. Additional information on sampling... read more

The text book provides good information in certain areas, while not comprehensive information in other areas. The text provides practical information, especially the section on survey development was good. Additional information on sampling strategies would have been beneficial for the readers.

There are no errors.

Research method is a common topic and the fundamentals of it will not change over the years. Therefore, the book is relevant and will not become obsolete.

Clarity rating: 3

The text in the book is clear. Certain aspects of the text could have been presented more clearly. For example, the section on main effects and interactions are some concepts that students may have difficulty understanding. Those areas could be explained more clearly with an example.

Consistency rating: 3

Graphs in the book lacks titles and variable names. Also, the format of chapter title page needs to be consistent.

At times there were related topics spread across several chapters. This could be corrected for a better read by the audience..

The book text is very clear, and the flow from one topic to the next was adequate. However, having a outline would help the reader.

The PDF copy of the book was a easy read. There were few links that were missing though.

There were no grammatical errors.

The text is not offensive and examples in it are mostly based on historical US based experiments.

I would start of by saying that I am a supporter of the Open Textbook concept. In this day and age, there are a variety of Research Methods book/text available on the market. While this book covers research methods basics, it cannot be recommended in its current form as an acceptable alternative to the standard text. Modifications to the text as recommended by myself and other reviewers might improve the quality of this book in the future.

Reviewed by Meghan Babcock, Instructor, University of Texas at Arlington on 4/11/17

This text includes all important areas that are featured in other Research Methods textbooks and are presented in a logical order. The text includes great examples and provides the references which can be assigned as supplemental readings. In... read more

This text includes all important areas that are featured in other Research Methods textbooks and are presented in a logical order. The text includes great examples and provides the references which can be assigned as supplemental readings. In addition, the chapters end with exercises that can be completed in class or as part of a laboratory assignment. This text would be a great addition to a Research Methods course or an Introductory Statistics course for Psychology majors.

The content is accurate. I did not find any errors and the material is unbiased.

Yes - the content is up to date and would be easy to update if/when necessary.

The text is written at an appropriate level for undergraduate students and explains important terminology. The research studies that the author references are ones that undergraduate psychology majors should be familiar with. The only section that was questionable to me was that on multiple regression in section 8.3 (Complex Correlational Designs). I am unaware of other introductory Research Methods textbooks that cover this analysis, especially without describing simple regression first.

The text is consistent in terms of terminology. The framework is also consistent - the chapters begin with Learning Objectives and ends with Key Takeaways and Exercises.

The text is divisible into smaller reading sections - possibly too many. The sections are brief, and in some instances too brief (e.g., the section on qualitative research). I think that the section headers are helpful for instructors who plan on using this text in conjunction with another text in their course.

The topics were presented in a logical fashion and are similar to other published Research Methods texts. The writing is very clear and great examples are provided. I think that some of the sections are rather brief and more information and examples could be provided.

I did not see any interface issues. All of the links worked properly and the tables and figures were accurate and free of errors. I particularly liked the figures in section 5.2 on reliability of measurement.

There are three comments that I have about the interface, however. First, I was expecting the keywords in blue font to be linked to a glossary, but they were not. I would have appreciated this feature. Second, I read this text as a PDF on an iPad and this version lacking was the Table of Contents (TOC) feature. Although I was able to view the TOC in different versions, I would have appreciated it in the PDF version. Also, it would be nice if the TOC was clickable (i.e., you could click on a section and it automatically directed you to that section). Third, I think the reader of this text would benefit from a glossary at the end of each chapter and/or an index at the end of the text. The "Key Takeaways" sections at the end of each chapter were helpful, but I think that a glossary would be a nice addition as well.

I did not notice any grammatical errors of any kind. The text was easy to read and I think that undergraduate students would agree.

The text was not insensitive or offensive to any races, ethnicities, or backgrounds. I appreciated the section on avoiding biased language when writing manuscripts (e.g., using 'children with learning disabilities' instead of 'special children' or using 'African American' instead of 'minority').

I think that this text would be a nice addition to a Research Methods & Statistics course in psychology. There are some sections that I found particularly helpful: (1) 2.2 and 2.3 - the author gives detailed information about generating research questions and reviewing the literature; (2) 9.2 - this section focuses on constructing survey questionnaires; (3) 11.2 and 11.3 - the author talks about writing a research report and about presenting at conferences. These sections will be great additions to an undergraduate Research Methods course. The brief introduction to APA style was also helpful, but should be supplemented with the most recent APA style manual.

Reviewed by Shannon Layman, Lecturer, University of Texas at Arlington on 4/11/17

The sections in this textbook are overall more brief than in previous Methods texts that I have used. Sometimes this brevity is helpful in terms of getting to the point of the text and moving on. In other cases, some topics could use a bit more... read more

The sections in this textbook are overall more brief than in previous Methods texts that I have used. Sometimes this brevity is helpful in terms of getting to the point of the text and moving on. In other cases, some topics could use a bit more detail to establish a better foundation of the content before moving on to examples and/or the next topic.

I did not find any incorrect information or gross language issues.

Basic statistical and/or methodological texts tend to stay current and up-to-date because the topics in this field have not changed over the decades. Any updated methodologies would be found in a more advanced methods text.

The text is very clear and the ideas are easy to follow/ presented in a logical manner. The most helpful thing about this textbook is that the author arrives at the point of the topic very quickly. Another helpful point about this textbook is the relevancy of the examples used. The examples appear to be accessible to a wide audience and do not require specialization or previous knowledge of other fields of psychology.

I feel this text is very consistent throughout. The ideas build on each other and no terms are discussed in later chapters without being established in previous chapters.

Each chapter had multiple subsections which would allow for smaller reading sections throughout the course. The amount of content in each section and chapter appeared to be less than what I have encountered in other Methods texts.

The organization of the topics in this textbook follows the same or similar organization that I see in other textbooks. As I mentioned previously, the ideas build very well throughout the text.

I did not find any issues with navigation or distortion of the figures in the text.

There were not any obvious and/or egregious grammatical errors that I encountered in this text.

This topic is not really an issue with a Methods textbook as the topics are more so conceptual as opposed to topical. That being said, I did not see an issue with any examples used.

I have no other comments than what I addressed previously.

Reviewed by Sarah Allred, Associate Professor, Rutgers University, Camden on 2/8/17

Mixed. For some topics, there is more (and more practical) information than in most textbooks. I appreciated the very practical advice to students about how to plot data (in statistics chapters). Similarly, there is practical advice about how... read more

Mixed. For some topics, there is more (and more practical) information than in most textbooks. I appreciated the very practical advice to students about how to plot data (in statistics chapters). Similarly, there is practical advice about how to comply with ethical guidelines. The section on item development in surveys was very good.

On the other hand, there is far too little information about some subjects. For example, independent and dependent variables are introduced in passing in an early chapter and then referred to only much later in the text. In my experience, students have a surprisingly difficult time grasping this concept. Another important example is sampling; I would have preferred much more information on types of samples and sampling techniques, and the problems that arise from poor sampling. A third example is the introduction to basic experimental design. Variables, measurement, validity, and reliability are all introduced in one chapter.

I did not see an index or glossary.

I found no errors.

The fundamentals of research methods do not change much. Given the current replication crisis in psychology, it might be helpful to have something about replicability.

Mixed. The text itself is spare and clear. The style of the book is to explain a concept in very few words. There are some excellent aspects of this, but on the other hand, there are some concepts that students have a very difficult time undersatnding if they are not embedded in concrete examples. For example, the section on main effects and interactions shows bar graphs of interactions, but this is presented without variable names or axis titles, and separate from any specific experiment.

Sometimes the chapter stucture is laid out on the title page, and other times it is not. Some graphs lack titles and variable names.

The chapters can be stand alone, but sometimes I found conceptually similar pieces spread across several chapters, and conceptually different pieces in the same chapters.

The individual sentences and paragraphs are always very clear. However, I felt that more tables/outlines of major concepts would have been helpful. For example, perhaps a flow chart of different kinds of experimental designs would be useful. (See section on comprehensiveness for more about organization).

The flow from one topic to the next was adequate.

I read the pdf. Perhaps the interface is more pleasant on other devices, but I found the different formats and fonts in image/captions/main text/figure labels distracting. Many if the instances of apparently hyperlinked (blue) text to do not link to anything.

I found no grammatical errors, and prose is standard academic English.

Like most psychology textbooks available in the US, examples are focused on important experiments in US history.

I really wanted to be happy with this text. I am a supporter of the Open Textbook concept, and I wanted to find this book an acceptable alternative to the variety of Research Methods texts I’ve used. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book as superior in quality.

Reviewed by Joel Malin, Assistant Professor, Miami University on 8/21/16

This textbook covers all or nearly all of what I believe are important topics to provide an introduction to research methods in psychology. One minor issue is that the pdf version, which I reviewed, does not include an index or a glossary. As... read more

This textbook covers all or nearly all of what I believe are important topics to provide an introduction to research methods in psychology. One minor issue is that the pdf version, which I reviewed, does not include an index or a glossary. As such, it may be difficult for readers to zero in on material that they need, and/or to get a full sense of what will be covered and in what order.

I did not notice errors.

The book provides a solid overview of key issues related to introductory research methods, many of which are nearly timeless.

The writing is clear and accessible. It was easy and pleasing to read.

Terms are clearly defined and build upon each other as the book progresses.

I believe the text is organized in such a way that it could be easily divided into smaller sections.

The order in which material is presented seems to be well thought out and sensible.

I did not notice any issues with the interface. I reviewed the pdf version and thought the images were very helpful.

The book is written in a culturally relevant manner.

Reviewed by Abbey Dvorak, Assistant Professor, University of Kansas on 8/21/16

The text includes basic, essential information needed for students in an introductory research methods course. In addition, the text includes three chapters (i.e., research ethics, theory, and APA style) that are typically absent from or... read more

The text includes basic, essential information needed for students in an introductory research methods course. In addition, the text includes three chapters (i.e., research ethics, theory, and APA style) that are typically absent from or inadequately covered in similar texts. However, I did have some areas of concern regarding the coverage of qualitative and mixed methods approaches, and nonparametric tests. Although the author advocates for the research question to guide the choice of approach and design, minimal attention is given to the various qualitative designs (e.g., phenomenology, narrative, participatory action, etc.) beyond grounded theory and case studies, with no mention of the different types of mixed methods designs (e.g., concurrent, explanatory, exploratory) that are prevalent today. In addition, common nonparametric tests (e.g., Wilcoxon, Mann-Whitney, etc.) and parametric tests for categorical data (e.g., chi-square, Fisher’s exact, etc.) are not mentioned.

The text overall is accurate and free of errors. I noticed in the qualitative research sub-section, the author describes qualitative research in general, but does not mention common practices associated with qualitative research, such as transcribing interviews, coding data (e.g., different approaches to coding, different types of codes), and data analysis procedures. The information that is included appears accurate.

The text appears up-to-date and includes basic research information and classic examples that rarely change, which may allow the text to be used for many years. However, the author may want to add information about mixed methods research, a growing research approach, in order for the text to stay relevant across time.

The text includes clear, accessible, straightforward language with minimal jargon. When the author introduces a new term, the term is immediately defined and described. The author also provides interesting examples to clarify and expand understanding of terms and concepts throughout the text.

The text is internally consistent and uses similar language and vocabulary throughout. The author uses real-life examples across chapters in order to provide depth and insight into the information. In addition, the vocabulary, concepts, and organization are consistent with other research methods textbooks.

The modules are short, concise, and manageable for students; the material within each module is logically focused and related to each other. I may move the modules and the sub-topics within them into a slightly different order for my class, and add the information mentioned above, but overall, this is very good.

The author presents topics and structures chapters in a logical and organized manner. The epub and online version do not include page numbers in the text, but the pdf does; this may be confusing when referencing the text or answering student questions. The book ends somewhat abruptly after the chapter on inferential statistics; the text may benefit from a concluding chapter to bring everything together, perhaps with a culminating example that walks the reader through creating the research question, choosing a research approach/design, etc., all the way to writing the research report.

I used and compared the pdf, epub, and online versions of the text. The epub and online versions include a clickable table of contents, but the pdf does not. The table format is inconsistent across the three versions; in the epub version (viewed through ibooks), the table data does not always line up correctly, making it difficult to interpret quickly. In the pdf and online versions, the table format looks different, but the data are lined up. No index made it difficult to quickly find areas of interest in the text; however, I could use the Find/Search functions in all three versions to search and find needed items.

As I read through this text, I did not detect any glaring grammatical errors. Overall, I think the text is written quite well in a style that is accessible to students.

The author uses inclusive, person-first language, and the text does not seem to be offensive or insensitive. As I read, I did notice that topics such as diversity and cultural competency are absent.

I enjoyed reading this text and am very excited to have a free research methods text for my students that I may supplement as needed. I wish there was a test question bank and/or flashcards for my students to help them study, but perhaps that could be added in the future. Overall, this is a great resource!

Reviewed by Karen Pikula, Psychology Instructor PhD, Central Lakes College on 1/7/16

The text covers all the areas and ideas of the subject of research methods in psychology for the learner that is just entering the field. The authors cover all of the content of an introductory research methods textbook and use exemplary examples... read more

The text covers all the areas and ideas of the subject of research methods in psychology for the learner that is just entering the field. The authors cover all of the content of an introductory research methods textbook and use exemplary examples that make those concepts relevent to a beginning researcher. As the authors state, the material is presented in such a manner as to encourage learners to not only be effective consumers of current research but also engage as critical thinkers in the many diverse situations one encounters in everyday life.

The content is accurate, error free, and unbiased. It explains both quantiative and qualitative methods in an unbiased manner. It is a bit slim on qualitative. It would be nice to have a bit more information on, for example, creating interview questions, coding, and qualitative data anaylisis.

The text is up to date, having just been revised. This revision was authored by Rajiv Jhangiani (Capilano University, North Vancouver) and includes the addition of a table of contents and cover page that the original text did not have, changes to Chapter 3 (Research Ethics) to include a contemporary example of an ethical breach and to reflect Canadian ethical guidelines and privacy laws, additional information regarding online data collection in Chapter 9 (Survey Research). Jhangiani has correcte of errors in the text and formulae, as well as changing spelling from US to Canadian conventions. The text is also now available in a inexpensive hard copy which students can purchase online or college bookstores can stock. This makes the text current and updates should be minimal.

The text is very easy to read and also very interesting as the authors supplement content with amazing real life examples.

The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.

This text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within a course. I am going to use this text in conjunction with the OER OpenStax Psychology text for my Honors Psychology course. I currently use the OER Openstax Psychology textbook for my Positive Psychology course as well as my General Psychology course,

The topics in the text are presented in logical and clear fashion. The way they are presented allows the text to be used in conjuction with other textbooks as a secondary resource.

The text is free of significant interface issues. It is written in a manner that follows the natural process of doing research.

The text contained no noted grammatical errors.

The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive and actually has been revised to accomodate Canadian ethical guidelines as well as those of the APA.

I have to say that I am excited to have found this revised edition. My students will be so happy that there is also a reasonable priced hard coopy for them to purchase. They love the OpenStax Psychology text with the hard copy available from our bookstore. I do wish there were PowerPoints available for the text as well as a test bank. That is always a bonus!

Reviewed by Alyssa Gibbons, Instructor, Colorado State University on 1/7/16

This text covers everything I would consider essential for a first course in research methods, including some areas that are not consistently found in introductory texts (e.g., qualitative research, criticisms of null hypothesis significance... read more

This text covers everything I would consider essential for a first course in research methods, including some areas that are not consistently found in introductory texts (e.g., qualitative research, criticisms of null hypothesis significance testing). The chapters on ethics (Ch. 3) and theory (Ch. 4) are more comprehensive than most I have seen at this level, but not to the extent of information overload; rather, they anticipate and address many questions that undergraduates often have about these issues.

There is no index or table of contents provided in the PDF, and the table of contents on the website is very broad, but the material is well organized and it would not be hard for an instructor to create such a table. Chapter 2.1 is intended to be an introduction to several key terms and ideas (e.g., variable, correlation) that could serve as a sort of glossary.

I found the text to be highly accurate throughout; terms are defined precisely and correctly.

Where there are controversies or differences of opinion in the field, the author presents both sides of the argument in a respectful and unbiased manner. He explicitly discourages students from dismissing any one approach as inherently flawed, discussing not only the advantages and disadvantages of all methods (including nonexperimental ones) but also ways researchers address the disadvantages.

In several places, the textbook explicitly addresses the history and development of various methods (e.g., qualitative research, null hypothesis significance testing) and the ways in which researchers' views have changed. This allows the author to present current thinking and debate in these areas yet still expose students to older ideas they are likely to encounter as they read the research literature. I think this approach sets students up well to encounter future methodological advances; as a field, we refine our methods over time. I think the author could easily integrate new developments in future editions, or instructors could introduce such developments as supplementary material without creating confusion by contradicting the test.

The examples are generally drawn from classic psychological studies that have held up well over time; I think they will appeal to students for some time to come and not appear dated.

The only area in which I did not feel the content was entirely up to date was in the area of psychological measurement; Chapter 5.2 is based on the traditional view and not the more comprehensive modern or holistic view as presented in the 1999 AERA/APA Standards for Educational and Psychological Measurement. However, a comprehensive treatment of measurement validity is probably not necessary for most undergraduates at this stage, and they will certainly encounter the older framework in the research literature.

The textbook does an excellent job of presenting concepts in simple, accessible language without introducing error by oversimplification. The author consistently anticipates common points of confusion, clarifies terms, and even suggests ways for students to remember key distinctions. Terms are clearly and concretely defined when they are introduced. In contrast to many texts I have used, the terms that are highlighted in the text are actually the terms I would want my students to remember and study; the author refrains from using psychological jargon that is not central to the concepts he is discussing.

I noticed no major inconsistencies or gaps.

The division of sections within each chapter is useful; although I liked the overall organization of the text, there were points at which I would likely assign sections in a slightly different order and I felt I could do this easily without loss of continuity. The one place I would have liked more modularity was in the discussion of inferential statistics: t-tests, ANOVA, and Pearson's r are all covered within Chapter 13.2. On the one hand, this enables students to see the relationships and similarities among these tests, but on the other, this is a lot for students to take in at once.

I found the overall organization of the book to be quite logical, mirroring the sequence of steps a researcher would use to develop a research question, design a study, etc. As discussed above, the modularity of the book makes it easy to reorder sections to suit the structure of a particular class (for example, I might have students read the section on APA writing earlier in the semester as they begin drafting their own research proposals). I like the inclusion of ethics very early on in the text, establishing the importance of this topic for all research design choices.

One organizational feature I particularly appreciated was the consistent integration of conceptual and practical ideas; for example, in the discussion of psychological measurement, reliability and validity are discussed alongside the importance of giving clear instructions and making sure participants cannot be identified by their writing implements. This gives students an accurate and honest picture of the research process - some of the choices we make are driven by scientific ideals and some are driven by practical lessons learned. Students often have questions related to these mundane aspects of conducting research and it is helpful to have them so clearly addressed.

Although I didn't encounter any problems per se with the interface, I do think it could be made more user-friendly. For example, references to figures and tables are highlighted in blue, appearing to be hyperlinks, but they were not. Having such links, as well as a linked, easily-navigable and detailed table of contents, would also be helpful (and useful to students who use assistive technology).

I noticed no grammatical errors.

Where necessary, the author uses inclusive language and there is nothing that seems clearly offensive. The examples generally reflect American psychology research, but the focus is on the methods used and not the participants or cultural context. The text could be more intentionally or proactively inclusive, but it is not insensitive or exclusive.

I am generally hard to please when it comes to textbooks, but I found very little to quibble with in this one. It is a very well-written and accessible introduction to research methods that meets students where they are, addressing their common questions, misconceptions, and concerns. Although it's not flashy, the figures, graphics, and extra resources provided are clear, helpful, and relevant.

Reviewed by Moin Syed, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota on 6/10/15

The text is thorough in terms of covering introductory concepts that are central to experimental and correlational/association designs. I find the general exclusion of qualitative and mixed methods designs hard to defend (despite some researchers’... read more

The text is thorough in terms of covering introductory concepts that are central to experimental and correlational/association designs. I find the general exclusion of qualitative and mixed methods designs hard to defend (despite some researchers’ distaste for the methods). While these approaches were less commonly used in the recent past, they are prevalent in the early years of psychology and are ascending once again. It strikes me as odd to just ignore two whole families of methods that are used within the practice of psychology—definitely not a sustainable approach.

I do very much appreciate the emphasis on those who will both practice and consume psychology, given the wide variety of undergraduate career paths.

One glaring omission is a Table of Contents within the PDF. It would be nice to make this a linked PDF, so that clicking on the entry in a TOC (or cross-references) would jump the reader to the relevant section.

I did not see an errors. The chapter on theory is not as clear as it could be. The section “what is theory” is not very clear, and these are difficulte concepts (difference between theory, hypothesis, etc.). A bit more time spent here could have been good. Also, the discussion of functional, mechanistic, and typological theories leaves out the fourth of Pepper’s metaphors: contextualism. I’m not sure that was intentional and accidental, but it is noticeable!

This is a research methods text focused on experimental and association designs. The basics of these designs do not change a whole lot over time, so there is little likelihood that the main content will become obsolete anytime soon. Some of the examples used are a bit dated, but then again most of them are considered “classics” in the field, which I think are important to retain (and there is at least one “new classic” included in the ethics section, namely the fraudulent research linking autism to the MMR vaccine).

The text is extremely clear and accessible. In fact, it may even be *too* simple for undergraduate use. Then again, students often struggle with methods, so simplicity is good, and the simplicity can also make the book marketable to high school courses (although I doubt many high schools have methods courses).

Yes, quite consistent throughout. Carrying through the same examples into different chapters is a major strength of the text.

I don’ anticipate any problems here.

The book flows well, with brief sections. I do wonder if maybe the sections are too brief? Perhaps too many check-ins? The “key take-aways” usually come after only a few pages. As mentioned above, the book is written at a very basic level, so this brevity is consistent with that approach. It is not a problem, per se, but those considering adopting the text should be aware of this aspect.

No problems here.

I did not detect any grammatical errors. The text flows very well.

The book is fairly typical of American research methods books in that it only focuses on the U.S. context and draws its examples from “mainstream” psychology (e.g., little inclusion of ethnic minority or cross-cultural psychology). However, the text is certainly not insensitive or offensive in any way.

Nice book, thanks for writing it!

Reviewed by Rajiv Jhangiani, Instructor, Capilano University on 10/9/13

The text is well organized and written, integrates excellent pedagogical features, and covers all of the traditional areas of the topic admirably. The final two chapters provide a good bridge between the research methods course and the follow-up... read more

The text is well organized and written, integrates excellent pedagogical features, and covers all of the traditional areas of the topic admirably. The final two chapters provide a good bridge between the research methods course and the follow-up course on behavioural statistics. The text integrates real psychological measures, harnesses students' existing knowledge from introductory psychology, includes well-chosen examples from real life and research, and even includes a very practical chapter on the use of APA style for writing and referencing. On the other hand, it does not include a table of contents or an index, both of which are highly desirable. The one chapter that requires significant revision is Chapter 3 (Research Ethics), which is based on the US codes of ethics (e.g., Federal policy & APA code) and does not include any mention of the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement.

The very few errors I found include the following: 1. The text should read "The fact that his F score…" instead of "The fact that his t score…" on page 364 2. Some formulae are missing the line that separates the numerator from the denominator. See pages 306, 311, 315, and 361 3. Table 12.3 on page 310 lists the variance as 288 when it is 28.8

The text is up-to-date and will not soon lose relevance. The only things I would add are a brief discussion of the contemporary case of Diederik Stapel's research fraud in the chapter on Research Ethics, as well as some research concerning the external validity of web-based studies (e.g., Gosling et al.'s 2004 article in American Psychologist).

Overall, the style of writing makes this text highly accessible. The writing flows well, is well organized, and includes excellent, detailed, and clear examples and explanations for concepts. The examples often build on concepts or theories students would have covered in their introductory psychology course. Some constructive criticism: 1. When discussing z scores on page 311 it might have been helpful to point out that the mean and SD for a set of calculated z scores are 0 and 1 respectively. Good students will come to this realization themselves, but it is not a bad thing to point it out nonetheless. 2. The introduction of the concept of multiple regression might be difficult for some students to grasp. 3. The only place where I felt short of an explanation was in the use of a research example to demonstrate the use of a line graph on page 318. In this case the explanation in question does not pertain to the line graph itself but the result of the study used, which is so fascinating that students will wish for the researchers' explanation for it.

The text is internally consistent.

The text is organized very well into chapters, modules within each chapter, and learning objectives within each module. Each module also includes useful exercises that help consolidate learning.

As mentioned earlier, the style of writing makes this text highly accessible. The writing flows well, is well organized, and includes excellent, detailed, and clear examples and explanations for concepts. The examples often build on concepts or theories students would have covered in their introductory psychology course. Only rarely did I feel that the author could have assisted the student by demonstrating the set-by-step calculation of a statistic (e.g., on page 322 for the calculation of Pearson's r)

The images, graphs, and charts are clear. The only serious issues that hamper navigation are the lack of a table of contents and an index. Many of the graphs will need to be printed in colour (or otherwise modified) for the students to follow the explanations provided in the text.

The text is written rather well and is free from grammatical errors. Of course, spellings are in the US convention.

The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive. Of course, it is not a Canadian edition and so many of the examples (all of which are easy to comprehend) come from a US context.

I have covered most of these issues in my earlier comments. The only things left to mention are that the author should have clearly distinguished between mundane and psychological realism, and that, in my opinion, the threats to internal validity could have been grouped together and might have been closer to an exhaustive list. This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: The Science of Psychology
  • Chapter 2: Overview of the Scientific Method
  • Chapter 3: Research Ethics
  • Chapter 4: Psychological Measurement
  • Chapter 5: Experimental Research
  • Chapter 6: Non-experimental Research
  • Chapter 7: Survey Research
  • Chapter 8: Quasi-Experimental Research
  • Chapter 9: Factorial Designs
  • Chapter 10: Single-Subject Research
  • Chapter 11: Presenting Your Research
  • Chapter 12: Descriptive Statistics
  • Chapter 13: Inferential Statistics

Ancillary Material

  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University

About the Book

This fourth edition (published in 2019) was co-authored by Rajiv S. Jhangiani (Kwantlen Polytechnic University), Carrie Cuttler (Washington State University), and Dana C. Leighton (Texas A&M University—Texarkana) and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Revisions throughout the current edition include changing the chapter and section numbering system to better accommodate adaptions that remove or reorder chapters; continued reversion from the Canadian edition; general grammatical edits; replacement of “he/she” to “they” and “his/her” to “their”; removal or update of dead links; embedded videos that were not embedded; moved key takeaways and exercises from the end of each chapter section to the end of each chapter; a new cover design.

About the Contributors

Dr. Carrie Cuttler received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. She has been teaching research methods and statistics for over a decade. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University, where she primarily studies the acute and chronic effects of cannabis on cognition, mental health, and physical health. Dr. Cuttler was also an OER Research Fellow with the Center for Open Education and she conducts research on open educational resources. She has over 50 publications including the following two published books:  A Student Guide for SPSS (1st and 2nd edition)  and  Research Methods in Psychology: Student Lab Guide.  Finally, she edited another OER entitled  Essentials of Abnormal Psychology. In her spare time, she likes to travel, hike, bike, run, and watch movies with her husband and son. You can find her online at @carriecuttler or carriecuttler.com.

Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani is the Associate Vice Provost, Open Education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia. He is an internationally known advocate for open education whose research and practice focuses on open educational resources, student-centered pedagogies, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Rajiv is a co-founder of the Open Pedagogy Notebook, an Ambassador for the Center for Open Science, and serves on the BC Open Education Advisory Committee. He formerly served as an Open Education Advisor and Senior Open Education Research & Advocacy Fellow with BCcampus, an OER Research Fellow with the Open Education Group, a Faculty Workshop Facilitator with the Open Textbook Network, and a Faculty Fellow with the BC Open Textbook Project. A co-author of three open textbooks in Psychology, his most recent book is  Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science (2017). You can find him online at @thatpsychprof or thatpsychprof.com.

Dr. Dana C. Leighton is Assistant Professor of Psychology in the College of Arts, Science, and Education at Texas A&M University—Texarkana. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, and has 15 years experience teaching across the psychology curriculum at community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and research universities. Dr. Leighton’s social psychology research lab studies intergroup relations, and routinely includes undergraduate students as researchers. He is also Chair of the university’s Institutional Review Board. Recently he has been researching and writing about the use of open science research practices by undergraduate researchers to increase diversity, justice, and sustainability in psychological science. He has published on his teaching methods in eBooks from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, presented his methods at regional and national conferences, and received grants to develop new teaching methods. His teaching interests are in undergraduate research, writing skills, and online student engagement. For more about Dr. Leighton see http://www.danaleighton.net and http://danaleighton.edublogs.org

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Research Methodology

Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research. Developing your methodology involves studying the research methods used in your field and the theories or principles that underpin them, in order to choose the approach that best matches your research objectives. Methodology is the first step in planning a research project.

What Is a Focus Group?

a focus group of people sat on chairs in a circle. one person is making notes on a clipboard.

Cross-Cultural Research Methodology In Psychology

Reviewed by Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

What Is Internal Validity In Research?

Reviewed by Saul Mcleod, PhD

What Is Face Validity In Research? Importance & How To Measure

Scientific method, qualitative research, experiments.

The scientific method is a step-by-step process used by researchers and scientists to determine if there is a relationship between two or more variables. Psychologists use this method to conduct psychological research, gather data, process information, and describe behaviors.

Learn More: Steps of the Scientific Method

Variables apply to experimental investigations. The independent variable is the variable the experimenter manipulates or changes. The dependent variable is the variable being tested and measured in an experiment, and is 'dependent' on the independent variable.

Learn More: Independent and Dependent Variables

When you perform a statistical test a p-value helps you determine the significance of your results in relation to the null hypothesis. A p-value less than 0.05 (typically ≤ 0.05) is statistically significant.

Learn More: P-Value and Statistical Significance

Qualitative research is a process used for the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of non-numerical data. Qualitative research can be used to gain a deep contextual understanding of the subjective social reality of individuals.

The experimental method involves the manipulation of variables to establish cause-and-effect relationships. The key features are controlled methods and the random allocation of participants into controlled and experimental groups.

Learn More: How the Experimental Method Works in Psychology

Frequent Asked Questions

What does p-value of 0.05 mean?

A p-value less than 0.05 (typically ≤ 0.05) is statistically significant. It indicates strong evidence against the null hypothesis, as there is less than a 5% probability the results have occurred by random chance rather than a real effect. Therefore, we reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis.

However, it is important to note that the p-value is not the only factor that should be considered when interpreting the results of a hypothesis test. Other factors, such as effect size, should also be considered.

Learn More: What A p-Value Tells You About Statistical Significance

What does z-score tell you?

A  z-score  describes the position of a raw score in terms of its distance from the mean when measured in standard deviation units. It is also known as a standard score because it allows the comparison of scores on different variables by standardizing the distribution. The z-score is positive if the value lies above the mean and negative if it lies below the mean.

Learn More: Z-Score: Definition, Calculation, Formula, & Interpretation

What is an independent vs dependent variable?

The independent variable is the variable the experimenter manipulates or changes and is assumed to have a direct effect on the dependent variable. For example, allocating participants to either drug or placebo conditions (independent variable) to measure any changes in the intensity of their anxiety (dependent variable).

Learn More : What are Independent and Dependent Variables?

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative?

Quantitative data is numerical information about quantities and qualitative data is descriptive and regards phenomena that can be observed but not measured, such as language.

Learn More: What’s the difference between qualitative and quantitative research?

Explore Research Methodology

criterion validity

Criterion Validity: Definition & Examples

convergent validity

Convergent Validity: Definition and Examples

content validity

Content Validity in Research: Definition & Examples

construct validity

Construct Validity In Psychology Research

concurrent validity

Concurrent Validity In Psychology

Internal and external validity 1

Internal vs. External Validity In Psychology

Qualitative

Qualitative Research: Characteristics, Design, Methods & Examples

Demand Characteristics 1 3

Demand Characteristics In Psychology: Definition, Examples & Control

experimental design

Between-Subjects vs. Within-Subjects Study Design

random assignment 1

Random Assignment in Psychology: Definition & Examples

RCT

Double-Blind Experimental Study And Procedure Explained

Observer Bias

Observer Bias: Definition, Examples & Prevention

Sample Target Population

Sampling Bias: Types, Examples & How to Avoid It

Probability and statistical significance in ab testing. Statistical significance in a b experiments

What is The Null Hypothesis & When Do You Reject The Null Hypothesis

Independent Measures Design 2

Between-Subjects Design: Overview & Examples

case control study

What Is A Case Control Study?

case study

Case Study Research Method in Psychology

cluster sampling

Cluster Sampling: Definition, Method and Examples

prospective Cohort study

Cohort Study: Definition, Designs & Examples

In experiments, scientists compare a control group and an experimental group that is identical in all respects. Unlike the experimental group, the control group is not exposed to the variable under investigation. It provides a baseline against which any changes in the experimental group can be compared.

Control Group vs Experimental Group

Convenience sample

Convenience Sampling: Definition, Method and Examples

variables

Confounding Variables in Psychology: Definition & Examples

types of correlation. Scatter plot. Positive negative and no correlation

Correlation in Psychology: Meaning, Types, Examples & coefficient

controlled experiment

Controlled Experiment

psychology research ethics 1

Ethical Considerations In Psychology Research

science lab2

Experimental Method In Psychology

variables

Extraneous Variables In Research: Types & Examples

ethnocentric

Ethnocentrism In Psychology: Examples, Disadvantages, & Cultural Relativism

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1.3: Psychologists Use the Scientific Method to Guide Their Research

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Learning Objectives

  • Describe the principles of the scientific method and explain its importance in conducting and interpreting research.
  • Differentiate laws from theories and explain how research hypotheses are developed and tested.
  • Discuss the procedures that researchers use to ensure that their research with humans and with animals is ethical.

Psychologists aren’t the only people who seek to understand human behavior and solve social problems. Philosophers, religious leaders, and politicians, among others, also strive to provide explanations for human behavior. But psychologists believe that research is the best tool for understanding human beings and their relationships with others. Rather than accepting the claim of a philosopher that people do (or do not) have free will, a psychologist would collect data to empirically test whether or not people are able to actively control their own behavior. Rather than accepting a politician’s contention that creating (or abandoning) a new center for mental health will improve the lives of individuals in the inner city, a psychologist would empirically assess the effects of receiving mental health treatment on the quality of life of the recipients. The statements made by psychologists are empirical, which means they are based on systematic collection and analysis of data .

The Scientific Method

All scientists (whether they are physicists, chemists, biologists, sociologists, or psychologists) are engaged in the basic processes of collecting data and drawing conclusions about those data. The methods used by scientists have developed over many years and provide a common framework for developing, organizing, and sharing information. The scientific method is the set of assumptions, rules, and procedures scientists use to conduct research .

In addition to requiring that science be empirical, the scientific method demands that the procedures used be objective, or free from the personal bias or emotions of the scientist . The scientific method proscribes how scientists collect and analyze data, how they draw conclusions from data, and how they share data with others. These rules increase objectivity by placing data under the scrutiny of other scientists and even the public at large. Because data are reported objectively, other scientists know exactly how the scientist collected and analyzed the data. This means that they do not have to rely only on the scientist’s own interpretation of the data; they may draw their own, potentially different, conclusions.

Most new research is designed to replicate —that is, to repeat, add to, or modify—previous research findings. The scientific method therefore results in an accumulation of scientific knowledge through the reporting of research and the addition to and modifications of these reported findings by other scientists.

Laws and Theories as Organizing Principles

One goal of research is to organize information into meaningful statements that can be applied in many situations. Principles that are so general as to apply to all situations in a given domain of inquiry are known as laws. There are well-known laws in the physical sciences, such as the law of gravity and the laws of thermodynamics, and there are some universally accepted laws in psychology, such as the law of effect and Weber’s law. But because laws are very general principles and their validity has already been well established, they are themselves rarely directly subjected to scientific test.

The next step down from laws in the hierarchy of organizing principles is theory. A theory is an integrated set of principles that explains and predicts many, but not all, observed relationships within a given domain of inquiry . One example of an important theory in psychology is the stage theory of cognitive development proposed by the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. The theory states that children pass through a series of cognitive stages as they grow, each of which must be mastered in succession before movement to the next cognitive stage can occur. This is an extremely useful theory in human development because it can be applied to many different content areas and can be tested in many different ways.

Good theories have four important characteristics. First, good theories are general , meaning they summarize many different outcomes. Second, they are parsimonious , meaning they provide the simplest possible account of those outcomes. The stage theory of cognitive development meets both of these requirements. It can account for developmental changes in behavior across a wide variety of domains, and yet it does so parsimoniously—by hypothesizing a simple set of cognitive stages. Third, good theories provide ideas for future research . The stage theory of cognitive development has been applied not only to learning about cognitive skills, but also to the study of children’s moral (Kohlberg, 1966) and gender (Ruble & Martin, 1998) development.

Finally, good theories are falsifiable (Popper, 1959), which means the variables of interest can be adequately measured and the relationships between the variables that are predicted by the theory can be shown through research to be incorrect . The stage theory of cognitive development is falsifiable because the stages of cognitive reasoning can be measured and because if research discovers, for instance, that children learn new tasks before they have reached the cognitive stage hypothesized to be required for that task, then the theory will be shown to be incorrect.

No single theory is able to account for all behavior in all cases. Rather, theories are each limited in that they make accurate predictions in some situations or for some people but not in other situations or for other people. As a result, there is a constant exchange between theory and data: Existing theories are modified on the basis of collected data, and the new modified theories then make new predictions that are tested by new data, and so forth. When a better theory is found, it will replace the old one. This is part of the accumulation of scientific knowledge.

The Research Hypothesis

Theories are usually framed too broadly to be tested in a single experiment. Therefore, scientists use a more precise statement of the presumed relationship among specific parts of a theory—a research hypothesis—as the basis for their research. A research hypothesis is a specific and falsifiable prediction about the relationship between or among two or more variables , where a variable is any attribute that can assume different values among different people or across different times or places . The research hypothesis states the existence of a relationship between the variables of interest and the specific direction of that relationship. For instance, the research hypothesis “Using marijuana will reduce learning” predicts that there is a relationship between a variable “using marijuana” and another variable called “learning.” Similarly, in the research hypothesis “Participating in psychotherapy will reduce anxiety,” the variables that are expected to be related are “participating in psychotherapy” and “level of anxiety.”

When stated in an abstract manner, the ideas that form the basis of a research hypothesis are known as conceptual variables. Conceptual variables are abstract ideas that form the basis of research hypotheses . Sometimes the conceptual variables are rather simple—for instance, “age,” “gender,” or “weight.” In other cases the conceptual variables represent more complex ideas, such as “anxiety,” “cognitive development,” “learning,” self-esteem,” or “sexism.”

The first step in testing a research hypothesis involves turning the conceptual variables into measured variables, which are variables consisting of numbers that represent the conceptual variables . For instance, the conceptual variable “participating in psychotherapy” could be represented as the measured variable “number of psychotherapy hours the patient has accrued” and the conceptual variable “using marijuana” could be assessed by having the research participants rate, on a scale from 1 to 10, how often they use marijuana or by administering a blood test that measures the presence of the chemicals in marijuana.

Psychologists use the term operational definition to refer to a precise statement of how a conceptual variable is turned into a measured variable . The relationship between conceptual and measured variables in a research hypothesis is diagrammed in Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\). The conceptual variables are represented within circles at the top of the figure, and the measured variables are represented within squares at the bottom. The two vertical arrows, which lead from the conceptual variables to the measured variables, represent the operational definitions of the two variables. The arrows indicate the expectation that changes in the conceptual variables (psychotherapy and anxiety in this example) will cause changes in the corresponding measured variables. The measured variables are then used to draw inferences about the conceptual variables.

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Table \(\PageIndex{1}\) lists some potential operational definitions of conceptual variables that have been used in psychological research. As you read through this list, note that in contrast to the abstract conceptual variables, the measured variables are very specific. This specificity is important for two reasons. First, more specific definitions mean that there is less danger that the collected data will be misunderstood by others. Second, specific definitions will enable future researchers to replicate the research.

Conducting Ethical Research

One of the questions that all scientists must address concerns the ethics of their research. Physicists are concerned about the potentially harmful outcomes of their experiments with nuclear materials. Biologists worry about the potential outcomes of creating genetically engineered human babies. Medical researchers agonize over the ethics of withholding potentially beneficial drugs from control groups in clinical trials. Likewise, psychologists are continually considering the ethics of their research.

Research in psychology may cause some stress, harm, or inconvenience for the people who participate in that research. For instance, researchers may require introductory psychology students to participate in research projects and then deceive these students, at least temporarily, about the nature of the research. Psychologists may induce stress, anxiety, or negative moods in their participants, expose them to weak electrical shocks, or convince them to behave in ways that violate their moral standards. And researchers may sometimes use animals in their research, potentially harming them in the process.

Decisions about whether research is ethical are made using established ethical codes developed by scientific organizations, such as the American Psychological Association, and federal governments. In the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services provides the guidelines for ethical standards in research. Some research, such as the research conducted by the Nazis on prisoners during World War II, is perceived as immoral by almost everyone. Other procedures, such as the use of animals in research testing the effectiveness of drugs, are more controversial.

Scientific research has provided information that has improved the lives of many people. Therefore, it is unreasonable to argue that because scientific research has costs, no research should be conducted. This argument fails to consider the fact that there are significant costs to not doing research and that these costs may be greater than the potential costs of conducting the research (Rosenthal, 1994). In each case, before beginning to conduct the research, scientists have attempted to determine the potential risks and benefits of the research and have come to the conclusion that the potential benefits of conducting the research outweigh the potential costs to the research participants.

Characteristics of an Ethical Research Project Using Human Participants

  • Trust and positive rapport are created between the researcher and the participant.
  • The rights of both the experimenter and participant are considered, and the relationship between them is mutually beneficial.
  • The experimenter treats the participant with concern and respect and attempts to make the research experience a pleasant and informative one.
  • Before the research begins, the participant is given all information relevant to his or her decision to participate, including any possibilities of physical danger or psychological stress.
  • The participant is given a chance to have questions about the procedure answered, thus guaranteeing his or her free choice about participating.
  • After the experiment is over, any deception that has been used is made public, and the necessity for it is explained.
  • The experimenter carefully debriefs the participant, explaining the underlying research hypothesis and the purpose of the experimental procedure in detail and answering any questions.
  • The experimenter provides information about how he or she can be contacted and offers to provide information about the results of the research if the participant is interested in receiving it. (Stangor, 2011)

This list presents some of the most important factors that psychologists take into consideration when designing their research. The most direct ethical concern of the scientist is to prevent harm to the research participants. One example is the well-known research of Stanley Milgram (1974) investigating obedience to authority. In these studies, participants were induced by an experimenter to administer electric shocks to another person so that Milgram could study the extent to which they would obey the demands of an authority figure. Most participants evidenced high levels of stress resulting from the psychological conflict they experienced between engaging in aggressive and dangerous behavior and following the instructions of the experimenter. Studies such as those by Milgram are no longer conducted because the scientific community is now much more sensitized to the potential of such procedures to create emotional discomfort or harm.

Another goal of ethical research is to guarantee that participants have free choice regarding whether they wish to participate in research. Students in psychology classes may be allowed, or even required, to participate in research, but they are also always given an option to choose a different study to be in, or to perform other activities instead. And once an experiment begins, the research participant is always free to leave the experiment if he or she wishes to. Concerns with free choice also occur in institutional settings, such as in schools, hospitals, corporations, and prisons, when individuals are required by the institutions to take certain tests, or when employees are told or asked to participate in research.

Researchers must also protect the privacy of the research participants. In some cases data can be kept anonymous by not having the respondents put any identifying information on their questionnaires. In other cases the data cannot be anonymous because the researcher needs to keep track of which respondent contributed the data. In this case one technique is to have each participant use a unique code number to identify his or her data, such as the last four digits of the student ID number. In this way the researcher can keep track of which person completed which questionnaire, but no one will be able to connect the data with the individual who contributed them.

Perhaps the most widespread ethical concern to the participants in behavioral research is the extent to which researchers employ deception. Deception occurs whenever research participants are not completely and fully informed about the nature of the research project before participating in it . Deception may occur in an active way, such as when the researcher tells the participants that he or she is studying learning when in fact the experiment really concerns obedience to authority. In other cases the deception is more passive, such as when participants are not told about the hypothesis being studied or the potential use of the data being collected.

Some researchers have argued that no deception should ever be used in any research (Baumrind, 1985). They argue that participants should always be told the complete truth about the nature of the research they are in, and that when participants are deceived there will be negative consequences, such as the possibility that participants may arrive at other studies already expecting to be deceived. Other psychologists defend the use of deception on the grounds that it is needed to get participants to act naturally and to enable the study of psychological phenomena that might not otherwise get investigated. They argue that it would be impossible to study topics such as altruism, aggression, obedience, and stereotyping without using deception because if participants were informed ahead of time what the study involved, this knowledge would certainly change their behavior. The codes of ethics of the American Psychological Association and other organizations allow researchers to use deception, but these codes also require them to explicitly consider how their research might be conducted without the use of deception.

Ensuring That Research Is Ethical

Making decisions about the ethics of research involves weighing the costs and benefits of conducting versus not conducting a given research project. The costs involve potential harm to the research participants and to the field, whereas the benefits include the potential for advancing knowledge about human behavior and offering various advantages, some educational, to the individual participants. Most generally, the ethics of a given research project are determined through a cost-benefit analysis , in which the costs are compared to the benefits. If the potential costs of the research appear to outweigh any potential benefits that might come from it, then the research should not proceed.

Arriving at a cost-benefit ratio is not simple. For one thing, there is no way to know ahead of time what the effects of a given procedure will be on every person or animal who participates or what benefit to society the research is likely to produce. In addition, what is ethical is defined by the current state of thinking within society, and thus perceived costs and benefits change over time. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations require that all universities receiving funds from the department set up an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to determine whether proposed research meets department regulations. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee of at least five members whose goal it is to determine the cost-benefit ratio of research conducted within an institution . The IRB approves the procedures of all the research conducted at the institution before the research can begin. The board may suggest modifications to the procedures, or (in rare cases) it may inform the scientist that the research violates Department of Health and Human Services guidelines and thus cannot be conducted at all.

One important tool for ensuring that research is ethical is the use of informed consent . A sample informed consent form is shown in Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\). Informed consent, conducted before a participant begins a research session, is designed to explain the research procedures and inform the participant of his or her rights during the investigation . The informed consent explains as much as possible about the true nature of the study, particularly everything that might be expected to influence willingness to participate, but it may in some cases withhold some information that allows the study to work.

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Because participating in research has the potential for producing long-term changes in the research participants, all participants should be fully debriefed immediately after their participation. The debriefing is a procedure designed to fully explain the purposes and procedures of the research and remove any harmful aftereffects of participation .

Research With Animals

Because animals make up an important part of the natural world, and because some research cannot be conducted using humans, animals are also participants in psychological research. Most psychological research using animals is now conducted with rats, mice, and birds, and the use of other animals in research is declining (Thomas & Blackman, 1992). As with ethical decisions involving human participants, a set of basic principles has been developed that helps researchers make informed decisions about such research; a summary is shown below.

APA Guidelines on Humane Care and Use of Animals in Research

The following are some of the most important ethical principles from the American Psychological Association’s guidelines on research with animals.

  • Psychologists acquire, care for, use, and dispose of animals in compliance with current federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and with professional standards.
  • Psychologists trained in research methods and experienced in the care of laboratory animals supervise all procedures involving animals and are responsible for ensuring appropriate consideration of their comfort, health, and humane treatment.
  • Psychologists ensure that all individuals under their supervision who are using animals have received instruction in research methods and in the care, maintenance, and handling of the species being used, to the extent appropriate to their role.
  • Psychologists make reasonable efforts to minimize the discomfort, infection, illness, and pain of animal subjects.
  • Psychologists use a procedure subjecting animals to pain, stress, or privation only when an alternative procedure is unavailable and the goal is justified by its prospective scientific, educational, or applied value.
  • Psychologists perform surgical procedures under appropriate anesthesia and follow techniques to avoid infection and minimize pain during and after surgery.
  • When it is appropriate that an animal’s life be terminated, psychologists proceed rapidly, with an effort to minimize pain and in accordance with accepted procedures. (American Psychological Association, 2002)

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Because the use of animals in research involves a personal value, people naturally disagree about this practice. Although many people accept the value of such research (Plous, 1996), a minority of people, including animal-rights activists, believes that it is ethically wrong to conduct research on animals. This argument is based on the assumption that because animals are living creatures just as humans are, no harm should ever be done to them.

Most scientists, however, reject this view. They argue that such beliefs ignore the potential benefits that have and continue to come from research with animals. For instance, drugs that can reduce the incidence of cancer or AIDS may first be tested on animals, and surgery that can save human lives may first be practiced on animals. Research on animals has also led to a better understanding of the physiological causes of depression, phobias, and stress, among other illnesses. In contrast to animal-rights activists, then, scientists believe that because there are many benefits that accrue from animal research, such research can and should continue as long as the humane treatment of the animals used in the research is guaranteed.

Key Takeaways

  • Psychologists use the scientific method to generate, accumulate, and report scientific knowledge.
  • Basic research, which answers questions about behavior, and applied research, which finds solutions to everyday problems, inform each other and work together to advance science.
  • Research reports describing scientific studies are published in scientific journals so that other scientists and laypersons may review the empirical findings.
  • Organizing principles, including laws, theories and research hypotheses, give structure and uniformity to scientific methods.
  • Concerns for conducting ethical research are paramount. Researchers assure that participants are given free choice to participate and that their privacy is protected. Informed consent and debriefing help provide humane treatment of participants.
  • A cost-benefit analysis is used to determine what research should and should not be allowed to proceed.

Exercises and Critical Thinking

  • Give an example from personal experience of how you or someone you know have benefited from the results of scientific research.
  • Find and discuss a research project that in your opinion has ethical concerns. Explain why you find these concerns to be troubling.
  • Indicate your personal feelings about the use of animals in research. When should and should not animals be used? What principles have you used to come to these conclusions?

American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists. American Psychologist, 57 , 1060–1073.

Baumrind, D. (1985). Research using intentional deception: Ethical issues revisited. American Psychologist, 40 , 165–174.

Kohlberg, L. (1966). A cognitive-developmental analysis of children’s sex-role concepts and attitudes. In E. E. Maccoby (Ed.), The development of sex differences . Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority: An experimental view . New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Plous, S. (1996). Attitudes toward the use of animals in psychological research and education. Psychological Science, 7 , 352–358.

Popper, K. R. (1959). The logic of scientific discovery . New York, NY: Basic Books.

Rosenthal, R. (1994). Science and ethics in conducting, analyzing, and reporting psychological research. Psychological Science, 5 , 127–134.

Ruble, D., & Martin, C. (1998). Gender development. In W. Damon (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology (5th ed., pp. 933–1016). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Stangor, C. (2011). Research methods for the behavioral sciences (4th ed.). Mountain View, CA: Cengage.

Thomas, G., & Blackman, D. (1992). The future of animal studies in psychology. American Psychologist, 47 , 1678.

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Basic Research in Psychology

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

all research methods in psychology quizlet

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

all research methods in psychology quizlet

Basic research—also known as fundamental or pure research—refers to study and research meant to increase our scientific knowledge base. This type of research is often purely theoretical, with the intent of increasing our understanding of certain phenomena or behavior. In contrast with applied research, basic research doesn't seek to solve or treat these problems.

Basic Research Examples

Basic research in psychology might explore:

  • Whether stress levels influence how often students engage in academic cheating
  • How caffeine consumption affects the brain
  • Whether men or women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression
  • How attachment styles among children of divorced parents compare to those raised by married parents

In all of these examples, the goal is merely to increase knowledge on a topic, not to come up with a practical solution to a problem.

The Link Between Basic and Applied Research

As Stanovich (2007) noted, many practical solutions to real-world problems have emerged directly from basic research. For this reason, the distinction between basic research and applied research is often simply a matter of time. As social psychologist Kurt Lewin once observed, "There is nothing so practical as a good theory."

For example, researchers might conduct basic research on how stress levels impact students academically, emotionally, and socially. The results of these theoretical explorations might lead to further studies designed to solve specific problems. Researchers might initially observe that students with high stress levels are more prone to dropping out of college before graduating. These first studies are examples of basic research designed to learn more about the topic.

As a result, scientists might then design research to determine what interventions might best lower these stress levels. Such studies would be examples of applied research. The purpose of applied research is specifically focused on solving a real problem that exists in the world. Thanks to the foundations established by basic research, psychologists can then design interventions that will help students effectively manage their stress levels , with the hopes of improving college retention rates.

Why Basic Research Is Important

The possible applications of basic research might not be obvious right away. During the earliest phases of basic research, scientists might not even be able to see how the information gleaned from theoretical research might ever apply to real-world problems. However, this foundational knowledge is essential. By learning as much as possible about a topic, researchers are able to gather what they need to know about an issue to fully understand the impact it may have.

"For example, early neuroscientists conducted basic research studies to understand how neurons function. The applications of this knowledge were not clear until much later when neuroscientists better understood how this neural functioning affected behavior," explained author Dawn M. McBride in her text The Process of Research in Psychology . "The understanding of the basic knowledge of neural functioning became useful in helping individuals with disorders long after this research had been completed."

Basic Research Methods

Basic research relies on many types of investigatory tools. These include observation, case studies, experiments, focus groups, surveys, interviews—anything that increases the scope of knowledge on the topic at hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Psychologists interested in social behavior often undertake basic research. Social/community psychologists engaging in basic research are not trying to solve particular problems; rather, they want to learn more about why humans act the way they do.

Basic research is an effort to expand the scope of knowledge on a topic. Applied research uses such knowledge to solve specific problems.

An effective basic research problem statement outlines the importance of the topic; the study's significance and methods; what the research is investigating; how the results will be reported; and what the research will probably require.

Basic research might investigate, for example, the relationship between academic stress levels and cheating; how caffeine affects the brain; depression incidence in men vs. women; or attachment styles among children of divorced and married parents.

By learning as much as possible about a topic, researchers can come to fully understand the impact it may have. This knowledge can then become the basis of applied research to solve a particular problem within the topic area.

Stanovich KE.  How to Think Straight About Psychology . 8th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Allyn and Bacon; 2007.

McCain KW. “Nothing as practical as a good theory” Does Lewin's Maxim still have salience in the applied social sciences? Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology . 2015;52(1):1-4. doi:10.1002/pra2.2015.145052010077

McBride DM. The Process of Research in Psychology . 3rd edition . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications; 2015.

Committee on Department of Defense Basic Research. APPENDIX D: Definitions of basic, applied, and fundamental research . In: Assessment of Department of Defense Basic Research. Washington, D.C.: The National Academic Press; 2005.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Book Description: While Research Methods in Psychology is fairly traditional— making it easy for you to use with your existing courses — it also emphasizes a fundamental idea that is often lost on undergraduates: research methods are not a peripheral concern in our discipline; they are central. For questions about this textbook please contact [email protected]

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Research Methods in Psychology Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Chapter 3: Research Ethics

Chapter 3: introduction.

In 1998 a medical journal called  The Lancet  published an article of interest to many psychologists. The researchers claimed to have shown a statistical relationship between receiving the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the development of autism—suggesting furthermore that the vaccine might even cause autism. One result of this report was that many parents decided not to have their children vaccinated (becoming a cultural phenomenon known as “anti-vaxxers”), which of course put them at higher risk for measles, mumps, and rubella. However, follow-up studies by other researchers consistently failed to find a statistical relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism—and it is generally accepted now that there is no relationship. In addition, several more serious problems with the original research were uncovered. Among them were that the lead researcher stood to gain financially from his conclusions because he had patented a competing measles vaccine. He had also used biased methods to select and test his research participants and had used unapproved and medically unnecessary procedures on them. In 2010  The Lancet  retracted the article, and the lead researcher’s right to practice medicine was revoked (Burns, 2010) [1] .

In 2011 Diederik Stapel, a prominent and well-regarded social psychologist at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, was found to have perpetrated an audacious academic crime – fabricating data [2] . Following a multi-university investigation, Stapel confessed to having made-up the data for at least 55 studies that he published in scientific journals since 2004. This revelation came as a shock to researchers, including some of his colleagues who had spent time and valuable resources designing and conducting studies that built on some of Stapel’s fraudulently published findings. Even more tragically, Stapel revealed that he had perpetrated the same fraud in 10 doctoral dissertations he oversaw, actions that caused harm to the academic careers of his former students. At a more general level, however, Stapel’s actions inflicted a serious blow to the honour code that scientists abide by. Science is, after all, a shared process of discovery that requires researchers to be honest about their work and findings – whether or not their research hypotheses are supported by the data they collect. Breaching this trust as seriously as Stapel did undermines the entire foundation of this process. Needless to say, Stapel was suspended from his position at Tilburg University. In addition, the American Psychological Association retracted a Career Trajectory Award it had presented to Stapel in 2009, and the Dutch government launched an investigation into his misuse of research funding. Stapel has since returned the doctorate he received from the University of Amsterdam, noting that his “behaviour of the past years are inconsistent with the duties associated with the doctorate.” Stapel also apologized to his colleagues, saying, “I have failed as a scientist and researcher. I feel ashamed for it and have great regret.” [3]

In political psychology, a contentious case of fraudulent data has resulted in a retracted paper from the prestigious journal, Science , as well as a rescinded job offer from Princeton University.  Michael LaCour, a graduate student in political science published a surprising result with Donald Green, an established professor at Columbia University: interacting with a gay canvasser can change a voter’s opinion of gay equality.  The myriad of LaCour’s fabricated information includes grants, awards, and ethical approval.  Although Green requested the retraction of the Science  article without consulting his co-author, LaCour stands by the data [4] .

In this chapter we explore the ethics of scientific research in psychology. We begin with a general framework for thinking about the ethics of scientific research in psychology. Then we look at some specific ethical codes for biomedical and behavioural researchers—focusing on the Ethics Code of the American Psychological Association and the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS 2). Finally, we consider some practical tips for conducting ethical research in psychology.

  • Burns, J. F. (2010, May 24). British medical council bars doctor who linked vaccine to autism.  The New York Times . Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/health/policy/25autism.html?ref=andrew_wakefield ↵
  • Jump, P. (2011, November 28). A star’s collapse.  Inside Higher Ed . Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/11/28/scholars-analyze-case-massive-research-fraud ↵
  • Carey, B. (2011, November 2). Fraud case seen as a red flag for psychology research.  The New York Times . Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/health/research/noted-dutch-psychologist-stapel-accused-of-research-fraud.html ↵
  • Singal, J. (2015, May 29). The Case of the Amazing Gay-Marriage Data: How a Graduate Student Reluctantly Uncovered a Huge Scientific Fraud. New York Magazine . Retrieved from http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/05/how-a-grad-student-uncovered-a-huge-fraud.html ↵
  • Research Methods in Psychology. Authored by : Paul C. Price, Rajiv S. Jhangiani, and I-Chant A. Chiang. Provided by : BCCampus. Located at : https://opentextbc.ca/researchmethods/ . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

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  1. Research Methods in Psychology (Exam 1) Flashcards

    Terms in this set (45) Study designs in which the researcher defines a problem and variable of interest but makes no prediction and does not control or manipulate anything. A study design in which a psychologist, often a therapist, observes one person over a long period of time. A study in which the researcher unobtrusively observes and records ...

  2. Research Methods in Psychology Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Independent Variable, Dependent Variable, Experiment and more. ... Psychology- Research Methods. 296 terms. akosua_baidoo6833. Preview. Research Methods in Psychology (Exam 1) 45 terms. lejeunemara. Preview. Mid-Term Review Dement and Kleitman Study.

  3. Research Methods in Psychology Flashcards

    Research Methods in Psychology. EEG. Click the card to flip 👆. The scientific study of dreaming was made possible by use of the EEG, a device that records the tiny electrical signals the brain. generates as a person sleeps. The EEG converts these electrical signals into a written record of brain activity.

  4. Psychology- Research Methods Flashcards

    Saves time and money as it makes researchers aware of problems that can be fixed before the gathering of data begins. See more. Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Ethical Issues, British Psychological Society (BPS) code of conduct, The four principles of the BPS code of conduct and more.

  5. AP Psychology RESEARCH METHODS Flashcards

    Experiment. A research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors (independent variables) to observe the effects on some behavior or mental process (the dependent variable). By random assignment of participants, the experimenter aims to control other relevant variable. Replication.

  6. Research Methods in Psychology Flashcards

    Terms in this set (11) Researches observe and record behavior without trying to influence/control it. Subjects are not aware of observation. An in depth study of one or few participants consisting of information gathered by observation, interview, or psychological testing. Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like ...

  7. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY Flashcards

    RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY. advantages/disadvantages of. clinical case study (case history) Click the card to flip 👆. - detailed description of person's life and psychological problems, history, present, circumstances, symptoms. advantages: source of new ideas about a behavior, tentative support for a theory/ challenge a theory's ...

  8. Research Methods in Psychology Flashcards

    Descriptive Research. Focuses on studying and describing one or more aspects of thoughts, feelings or behavior as they occur at a given time or place. Ethics. Refers to standards that guide individuals to identify good, desirable or acceptable conduct. Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Scientific Method, Research ...

  9. Research Methods in Psychology

    Research Methods in Psychology Quiz. Next. 1. Which of the following describes single-blind experiments? They are experiments in which the subjects don't know whether they are receiving a real or fake drug or treatment. They help reduce placebo effects. They help reduce bias in research. All of the above. 2.

  10. Research Methods in Psychology Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Which style of writing will you be expected to know and use in this course?, Some theories are better than others. Which of the following is NOT considered a feature of a good theory?, Research done specifically to add to our general understanding of psychology is known as ______________. and more.

  11. Research Methods In Psychology

    Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc. Research methods in psychology are systematic procedures used to observe, describe, predict, and explain behavior and mental processes. They include experiments, surveys, case studies, and naturalistic observations, ensuring data collection is objective and reliable to understand and explain psychological phenomena.

  12. 2.2 Approaches to Research

    Compare longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches to research. Compare and contrast correlation and causation. There are many research methods available to psychologists in their efforts to understand, describe, and explain behavior and the cognitive and biological processes that underlie it. Some methods rely on observational techniques.

  13. Research in Psychology: Methods You Should Know

    Research in psychology focuses on a variety of topics, ranging from the development of infants to the behavior of social groups. Psychologists use the scientific method to investigate questions both systematically and empirically. Research in psychology is important because it provides us with valuable information that helps to improve human lives.

  14. Research Methods in Psychology

    "Research Methods in Psychology" covers most research method topics comprehensively. The author does an excellent job explaining main concepts. The chapter on causation is very detailed and well-written as well as the chapter on research ethics. However, the explanations of data analysis seem to address upper level students rather than beginners.

  15. 1.2 Scientific Research in Psychology

    Figure 1.2 A Simple Model of Scientific Research in Psychology. The research by Mehl and his colleagues is described nicely by this model. Their question—whether women are more talkative than men—was suggested to them both by people's stereotypes and by published claims about the relative talkativeness of women and men.

  16. Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology

    Psychology research can usually be classified as one of three major types. 1. Causal or Experimental Research. When most people think of scientific experimentation, research on cause and effect is most often brought to mind. Experiments on causal relationships investigate the effect of one or more variables on one or more outcome variables.

  17. APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology

    Part II. Working Across Epistemologies, Methodologies, and Methods. Chapter 12. Mixed Methods Research in Psychology Timothy C. Guetterman and Analay Perez; Chapter 13. The "Cases Within Trials" (CWT) Method: An Example of a Mixed-Methods Research Design Daniel B. Fishman; Chapter 14.

  18. Research Methods in Psychology

    There are various types of research methods in psychology with different purposes, strengths, and weaknesses. Research Method. Purpose/Definition. Strength (s) Weaknesses. Experiments 🧪. Manipulates one or more independent variables to determine the effects of certain behavior. (1) can determine cause and effect (2) can be retested and proven.

  19. Research Methodology

    Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research. Developing your methodology involves studying the research methods used in your field and the theories or principles that underpin them, in order to choose the approach that best matches your research objectives. Methodology is the first step in planning a research project.

  20. 1.3: Psychologists Use the Scientific Method to Guide Their Research

    Psychologists use the scientific method to generate, accumulate, and report scientific knowledge. Basic research, which answers questions about behavior, and applied research, which finds solutions to everyday problems, inform each other and work together to advance science.

  21. Research Methods in Psychology: Study Guide

    Continue your study of Research Methods in Psychology with these useful links. Research Methods in Psychology Quiz. Review Questions. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes Research Methods in Psychology Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.

  22. Basic Research in Psychology: Definition and Examples

    Basic Research in Psychology. Basic research—also known as fundamental or pure research—refers to study and research meant to increase our scientific knowledge base. This type of research is often purely theoretical, with the intent of increasing our understanding of certain phenomena or behavior. In contrast with applied research, basic ...

  23. 6.1 Experiment Basics

    Experiments have two fundamental features. The first is that the researchers manipulate, or systematically vary, the level of the independent variable. The different levels of the independent variable are called conditions. For example, in Darley and Latané's experiment, the independent variable was the number of witnesses that participants ...

  24. Research Methods in Psychology

    Download this book. While Research Methods in Psychology is fairly traditional— making it easy for you to use with your existing courses — it also emphasizes a fundamental idea that is often lost on undergraduates: research methods are not a peripheral concern in our discipline; they are central. For questions about this textbook please ...

  25. Chapter 3: Introduction

    Chapter 3: Introduction. In 1998 a medical journal called The Lancet published an article of interest to many psychologists. The researchers claimed to have shown a statistical relationship between receiving the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the development of autism—suggesting furthermore that the vaccine might even ...