James Wages, Ph.D.


Social Psychologist

Research Methods Laboratory


PSYC 3340 Research Methods Laboratory


What is this course?

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. In this laboratory-based course, students will gain "hands-on" research experience by collaboratively conducting a research project in the style of psychological scientists.   
What are the course goals?

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 research methodology, report writing, and public presenting. 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, and/or decision-making. We will collect data from real participants. A significant amount of time will be spent outside of class preparing materials, reviewing scholarly sources, working with team members, analyzing data, and writing assignments. Successful completion of this course will grant students the knowledge, experiences, and skills that are necessary to effectively assume the role of an entry-level producer and consumer of research in the psychological and behavioral sciences.

What will students learn?

Students in this course will learn:
  1. How to master and apply the conceptual foundations of research methodology in the psychological and behavioral sciences
  2. How to develop the ability to form scientific hypotheses, design experimental studies, and construct online, survey, and/or in-lab behavioral experiments
  3. How to collect, analyze and visualize quantitative data using survey and statistical software, and interpret statistical results
  4. How to communicate findings through writing and presenting, including a formal full-length APA-style research report, professional (oral) presentation, and conference-style poster
  5. How to conduct and report research professionally, ethically, and credibly
  6. How to work collaboratively on research