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Research Methods in Psychology

Course Code: PSYC 2301
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course introduces students to the scientific approach and the development of knowledge in Psychology. Through class and lab activities, students learn how to design, carry out, analyze and report on their own research projects. Students learn the critical analytic skills to evaluate psychological research properly.

Course Content

  1. The scientific understanding of behaviour
  2. Theories and falsifiability
  3. Developing questions, hypotheses and predictions
  4. Reviewing scientific literature
  5. Operational definitions and variables
  6. Ethical Research
  7. Testimonials and case study evidence
  8. Correlation and causation
  9. The experimental method
  10. Measurement concepts and practices
  11. Observational methods
  12. Surveys and questionnaires
  13. Experimental design
  14. Conducting experiments
  15. Multiple causation and complex experimental designs
  16. Quasi experimental and developmental research
  17. Understanding research results – describing data
  18. Probabilistic reasoning and chance – inferential statistics
  19. Converging evidence and consensus
  20. Generalizing results
  21. Research report writing
  22. The image of Psychology     

Methods of Instruction

This course will employ a number of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • lectures
  • laboratory activities
  • small group discussion
  • problem based activities

There will be laboratory meetings throughout the semester in which students will develop and carry out their own research projects. It is expected that students may conduct research involving human participants as part of their coursework; instructors are responsible for ensuring that such research meets the College's standards for ethical research.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  Evaluation will be based on course objectives and may include some of the following: quizzes, multiple choice exams, essay type exams, term paper or research project, computer based assignments, etc.  The instructor will provide the students with a course outline listing the criteria for course evaluation at the beginning of the semester.


An example of one evaluation scheme:


2 midterm exams  40%
Research project report    30%
Final exam  30%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the design, measurement and inferential reasoning in psychological research articles.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the nature of knowledge in Psychology and identify common misunderstandings about Psychology.
  3. Identify the major ethical concerns as they apply to social research projects, especially those using human subjects.    
  4. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of various research methods and designs (e.g., case studies, experiments, quasi-experiments, surveys, observational studies)
  5. Design, conduct, and analyse research projects.
  6. Write a research report using APA guidelines.

course prerequisites

PSYC 1100 AND PSYC 1200


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.