Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Correlation Coefficient
  • Correlational Research
  • Descriptive Research
  • Ethical Research
  • Experimental Research
  • Hypothesis
  • Reliability
  • Research Methods
  • Scientific Method
  • Theory
  • Validity
  • oss0152
  • oss01521
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    Education Standards

    Research Methods in Psychology - Course Map and Recommended Resources



    How to Use this Guide

    This guide provides information and resources on introducing the different research methods that have been used in the field of psychology. All resources are Open Access and can be downloaded or added to a Course Management System (LMS) via the hyperlinks.  


    One of the key takeaways from the Introduction to Psychology class should be that psychology is a science.  Our discipline can be distinguished from pseudo-science or common sense through the various research approaches in the field.  The instructor should provide a survey of the different methods, including examples and strengths and weaknesses to each approach.

    Learning Objectives


    Learning Objectives

    1. Explain the scientific method
    2. Distinguish between theory and hypothesis
    3. Define reliability and validity
    4. Distinguish between descriptive, correlational, and experimental research
    5. Identify descriptive research methods
    6. Understand how to interpret a correlation coefficient
    7. Explain experimental research
      1. Distinguish between independent and dependent variables
      2. Define random assignment
      3. Distinguish between control group and experimental group
      4. Define placebo
      5. Define random sampling
      6. Identify the population and sample
    8. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the different research methods
    9. Understand conducting ethical research

    Cross Cutting Themes


    1. Discuss some examples of how the APA Code of Ethics pertains to psychological research
    2. Discuss the importance of conducting psychology research with groups other than just undergraduate in the U.S
    3. Provide examples of research with under-represented participants


    1. Apply the APA Code of Ethics to some specific examples in research
    2. Provide examples of experimental research with infants and discuss how that could be used in parenting
    3. Discuss some examples of research in learning and memory and have students develop optimal study skills to incorporate into their education

    Variations in Human Functioning

    1. Provide an example of correlational research from personality psychology

    Social and Cultural Diversity

    1. Discuss the importance of conducting research with groups other than just U.S. undergraduates.  How are the experiences different?
    2. Provide examples of research from personality psychology
    3. Develop research questions around topics from underrepresented populations (race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.)

    Recommended Resources

    Psychological Research

    This is the second chapter in the OpenStax Psychology textbook on “Psychological Research”.  There are four parts to this chapter including: “Why Is Research Important”, “Approaches to Research”, “Analyzing Findings”, and “Ethics”.  Faculty might want to add information on the use of qualitative methods in addition to all the methods described in these resources.

    Psychological Science

    This link is Chapter 2 of the Introduction to Psychology from the University of Minnesota Libraries.  This source also does a good job of covering the various topics covered in the research methods section of an Intro class.

    Research Designs

    Nice overview of the different research designs in psychology.  This source comes from the NOBA project and is written by Christie Napa Scollon.   

    Psychology as Science

    This final resource comes from the NOBA project and is a listing of the topics in psychology.  In the first section, there are several areas related to research that the faculty member might want to explore in greater detail.  Suggestions from the research area include: “Conducting Psychology Research in the Real World”, “Psychophysiological Methods in Neuroscience”, “Statistical Thinking”, “The Replication Crisis in Psychology”, and “Thinking like a Psychological Scientist” 

    Supplemental Resources

    Discovering Psychology - Research Methods Annenberg Learner via PBS Learning Media

    Several topics explored in the area of research methods in psychology.

    Crash Course Psychology #2 (Video)

    Focuses on Psychological Research.   

    Five Psychology Experiments You Couldn’t Do Today (Video)

    A nice video to introduce the ethics of conducting psychology research.  

    The Belmont Report

    This is a copy of the Belmont Report on the Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (10 page PDF)   

    “Is Most Published Research Wrong?” (Video)

    A good twelve-minute video that describes some of the current criticisms with the statistics and research methods.  This is not specific to psychology, but could be used as a good discussion starter around this issue.

    The American Psychological Association’s Code of Ethics   

    “How to prevent Fraud in Research” (Video)

    YouTube video from talking about ethical issues in the research process

    Class Activities

    The American Psychological Association’s Online Psychology Laboratory

    Faculty can have students sign up and participate in one of the different research studies, and then download data to analyze in class.  

    How to Spot a Misleading Graph (Video)

    A TEDEd interactive demonstration called “How to Spot a Misleading Graph”, by Lea Gaslowitz.  After students watch the TED talk, they can answer a series of questions to test their knowledge. 

    Teaching Psych Science

    A website that was developed for resources on teaching research and statistics in psychology.  This resource was developed specifically for the methods classes, but several of the activities can be done in the Intro class.  The instructor would have to be careful not to scare away non-major students. Faculty should adapt the activities in this section to meet the educational needs of the students.