Rhode Island College
Department of Psychology

Psychology 375
Research Methods in Social and Personality Psychology


Thomas E. Malloy, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology

Web Page on the Social Psychology Network:   





Horace Mann 058 (Rhode Island College)

Psychology Resource Page:___

 - resources for psychology students including APA format



Trochim Research Methodology Internet Site___




Required Text and Readings on the Internet

Rosnow R. L. & Rosenthal, R. (2006), Beginning Behavioral Research. Prentice Hall.  (Available in the University Bookstore)

In addition to the textbook, there will be assigned reading from internet websites. A website focused on research methodology that will be very useful to you is maintained by Professor William Trochim at Cornell University. The address for the table of contents of this website is listed above as a hyperlink. If you go to this page you will find links to some (though not all) of the specific topics that will be covered in this course.

Nature of the Course

This course focuses on philosophy of science, research methods, the structure of designs, and statistical analysis strategies used in research on personality and social psychology. Foundation knowledge in personality and social psychology, research methods, and statistics is assumed. The lecture portion of the course will be organized into three major sections that integrate specific topics within each section. The sections are:

I. Philosophy and Theory of Research
II. Research Design, Analysis, and Validity
III. Emerging Trends and Issues in Research Methods and Quantitative Analysis

Topics of the Lecture Portion of the Course:

I. Philosophy, Theory, and Measurement in Research






Epistemology, Discovery, and Justification in Science

chapter 1 of Rosnow and Rosenthal
Trochim Site
- Philosophy of Research
- Structure of Research
- Deduction and Inuction
- Posivitism and Post-Positivism
- Introduction to Validity
and also read
Donal T. Campbell's Evolutionary Epistemology


Logic of Research Design and Statistical Models

Chapters 2 and 3 of Rosnow and Rosenthal
Trochim Site
- Five Big Words
- Types of Questions
- Time in Research
- Types of Relationships
- Variables
- Hypotheses
- Types of Data
- Unit of Analysis
- Two Research Fallacies

3 & 4

Measurement Theory

Chapter 6 Rosnow & Rosenthal
Trochim site
- measurement error
- theory of reliability
- types of reliability
- relationships of reliability and validity


Multitrait-Multimethod Matrix

Trochim site


II. Research Design and Statistical Analysis



Descriptive Research and Analysis

Chapter 10 Rosnow & Rosenthal


Relational Research and Analysis
(Correlation and Linear Models)

Chapter 11 Rosnow & Rosenthal


Pre-Experimental and Experimental Design

Chapter 7 Rosnow & Rosenthal
Trochim site
- Introduction to Design
- Types of Designs
- Experimental Design
- Two-Group Experimental Designs
- Random Selection & Assignment
- Classifying Experimental Designs
- Factorial Designs
- Factorial Design Variations


Quasi-Experimental Design

Chapter 8 Rosnow & Rosenthal
Trochim site
- Quasi-Experimental Design
- The Nonequivalent Groups Design


Comparing Two Means
(One Factor)

Chapter 13 Rosnow & Rosenthal


Comparing Three or More Means
(One Factor)

Chapter 14 Rosnow & Rosenthal


Factorial Design
(Two Factors)

Chapter 14 Rosnow & Rosenthal


III. Intermediate Issues in Design and Analysis



Interactions in Factorial

 Chapter 14 Rosnow & Rosenthal


Power Analysis, Meta-Analysis, and Missing Data

Chapter 12 Rosnow & Rosenthal
Appendix C Rosnow & Rosenthal

The outline above represents the sequence of topics that will be addressed in the lecture portion of the course. Students are encouraged to read the assigned material prior to the lecture. Lectures will overlap with reading, however, material not in the reading will regularly be discussed in class.

Topics of the Laboratory Portion of the Course:

The laboratory portion will provide practical experience in the ethics of research, using APA format, the sections of a formal laboratory report, use of SPSS a software package for statistical analysis, as well as experience conducting research on behavior.   The following objectives will be met in the laboratory section of the course.  The student will:



review a research literature and suggest testable hypotheses based upon the review



use laboratory procedures to collect data



organize a data set



enter data using the SPSS editor



analyze data using SPSS



write an integrated lab report in APA format
as a major course project



Understand the ethnics of psychological research


Course Requirements and Expectations:

1. Attendance is essential. Material will be presented in class that is not in the textbook. It is impossible to make-up laboratory work. For these reasons please plan to regularly attend class and laboratory sessions.  Attendance will be taken in the laboratory and for each laboratory session missed the final grade will be reduced by 2 points.

2. Examinations. There will be two examinations in this course. Examinations will include objectively (multiple choice and true/false) evaluated questions. Exams will measure: memory for important information from the readings, lectures, and the laboratory; application of this information in new ways; and relationships among the information presented in the course.

Exams will be taken at the scheduled class period. Make-up exams will only be given in the rarest of circumstances (e.g., illness verified by a doctor's note). If you must miss an exam, it is your responsibility to contact me before the exam. Unexcused absence from an exam will result in zero points for that exam.

Examination I will cover topics from weeks 1-7. Examination II will cover topics from weeks 8-14. The professor retains the option of adjusting the material to be included on an exam. Exams will not be cumulative. Exam dates will be announced in class.

3. In the laboratory portion of the course students are expected to write a complete research paper in APA format appropriate for submission to a scientific journal in psychology such as JPSP (papers will not actually be submitted). Details for the paper will be given in class and in the laboratory.

Students are required to submit this manuscript to the professor at the time and date agreed upon in class. Students must keep a copy of all written material submitted to the professor on a diskette or in some other permanent form.

Course Grades

Examinations I and II will each be worth 50 points for a total of 100 possible points. The research paper will be worth 50 points. Thus, there will be a total of 150 possible points in the course. Thus, two-thirds of your grade is based on exams and one-third is based on your research project. Point totals and their associated letter grade range are as follows:

A = 90 - 100 percent of possible points

B = 80 - 89 percent of possible points

C = 70 - 79 percent of possible points

D = 60 - 69 percent of possible points

F < 60 percent of possible points

Note that + and - will be used when assigning final grades.