James Wages, Ph.D.

Social Psychologist

Research Methods and Laboratory

University of Central Arkansas

The scientific method is arguably one of the most reliable and valid ways of knowing. This holds  even for areas that are challenging to study scientifically, such as the human mind and social  behavior. The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with the methods of research in experimental social psychology, including an applied approach to scientific methodology, report writing, and research presentation. We will learn about fundamental topics in research  design and method through readings and class meetings. We will also be co-investigators on original, full-scale experiments designed to answer novel questions about topics related to social  cognition, stereotyping/prejudice, and/or decision-making. We will collect real data with real  participants; it is essential that students follow the rules of good science and proper ethics. A significant amount of time will be spent outside of class preparing material, reviewing scholarly  sources, working with team members, analyzing data, and writing assignments. This course will  allow students to acquire the knowledge, experience, and skills necessary to occupy the role of  an entry-level producer of research in the psychological and behavioral sciences.  
Students in this course will learn: 
  • How to master and apply the conceptual foundations of research methodology in the  psychological and behavioral sciences 
  • How to develop the ability to form scientific hypotheses, design experimental studies,  and construct online, survey, and/or in-lab behavioral experiments 
  • How to collect quantitative data, analyze and visualize data using statistical software, and  interpret statistical results 
  • How to communicate findings through writing and presenting, including a formal full length APA-style research report and oral presentation/conference style-poster 
  • How to conduct research professionally, ethically, and credibly