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PSY2100 Research Methods in Psychology A

Semester 1, 2013 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Psychology

Contents on this page


Examiner: Andrea Lamont-Mills
Moderator: Tony Machin


Pre-requisite: PSY1010 and STA2300. For students enrolled in Program BSSC with a major in BES: PSY1010 and STA3100

Other requisites

Recommended pre-requisite: PSY1020

Students enrolled in the GDPS or intending to transfer into the GDPS will be allowed to enrol in PSY2100 without STA2300 on the understanding that they will need to undertake additional study to ensure that they have the required skills and knowledge that this course assumes.


The discipline of Psychology is based on a solid foundation of scientific research. Researchers use a variety of conceptual, logical, computational and statistical tools to reduce uncertainty in the state of psychological knowledge. This course introduces some of those tools. These same intellectual tools form a firm foundation for the scientist-practitioner model of psychological practice.


This course introduces the methods and statistics used to develop knowledge in the field of psychology. Topics covered include: operationalising theoretical constructs, internal and external validity, sampling and assignment, and an introduction to survey and experimental methods. Data analysis techniques include measures of central tendency, chi-square tests, t-tests, correlation and regression as they pertain to psychological research. The concepts of statistical inference, decision making, and potential sources of error are also covered. The computer statistical package, SPSS, is used to develop practical analysis skills and enhance conceptual understanding. Reliable access to a suitable computer and internet access is required as per Faculty of Sciences requirements.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. describe different research designs, identify when it is appropriate to use them, and discuss their strengths and limitations;
  2. identify the concepts used in a study, the variables used to operationalise those concepts, and the control techniques used;
  3. develop research questions and hypotheses to test psychological concepts and theories;
  4. demonstrate an understanding of measures of central tendency, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, Chi-Square tests, z scores, z test, t-tests, Correlation, and Regression including the appropriate selection of analysis techniques;
  5. demonstrate an understanding of data screening, assumption testing, and power and effect size as they relate to the above statistical analyses;
  6. use SPSS to analyse psychological research data;
  7. critically analyse published journal articles by identifying and explaining article aims, relevant method information, results, and potential methodological limitations;
  8. write an introduction, method and results section of an APA 6th edition research report.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Scientific foundations and the research process. 20.00
2. Hypothesis testing. 20.00
3. Independent group design: Issues and analysis. 20.00
4. Survey designs: Issues and analysis. 20.00
5. Observational designs: Issues and analysis. 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • American Psychological Association 2010, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edn, American Psychological Association, Washington DC.
  • Aron, A, Aron, EN & Coups 2012, Statistics for psychology, 6th edn, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
    (International Edition + MyStatLab for the Social Sciences.)
  • Introductory Book 2013, PSY2100 Research Methods in Psychology A, USQ Distance Education Centre, Toowoomba.
  • Shaughnessy, JJ, Zechmeister, EB & Zechmeister, JS 2012, Research methods in psychology, 9th edn, McGraw Hill, New York.
  • Study Book 2013, PSY2100 Research Methods in Psychology A, USQ Distance Education Centre, Toowoomba.
  • IBM SPSS Student Version V19 or later, IBM. Please note: SPSS can be found in most on-campus student computer laboratories. On-campus students and those external students who live close to a USQ campus may wish to consider using SPSS on these student computers instead of purchasing SPSS for use at home. If you do decide to purchase this product you need to ensure that you have the recommended computer hardware requirements to run SPSS successfully before you purchase the product.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 24.00
Directed Study 33.00
Examinations 2.00
Laboratory or Practical Classes 24.00
Lectures 24.00
Private Study 67.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 35 10 15 Apr 2013
ASSIGNMENT 2 35 10 03 May 2013
ASSIGNMENT 3 35 10 31 May 2013
ON LINE QUIZ 1 25 25 07 Jun 2013
ON LINE QUIZ 2 10 10 07 Jun 2013
2HR RESTR EXAM 70 35 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course. Note that the Conceded Pass is not available in this course due to APAC accreditation standard 2.1.9.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks/grades obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed access only to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination); Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Submission of Assignments 1, 2, and 3 are via EASE.

  3. The Faculty will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile.

  4. Students who do not have regular access to postal services or who are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements.

  5. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  6. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  7. Students may be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be dispatched to the USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so.

  8. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students must use 6th edition APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //

  9. 9 Reliable access to the internet is a requirement of this course as the course contains electronic assessment and submission elements. In order to avoid internet issues, on-campus students should attempt the Quiz in the student computer laboratories and upload their assignments into EASE using the same computer laboratories. External students who knowingly do not have reliable access to the internet should actively seek alternative internet access (e.g., Internet cafes, local libraries, or work places) for assessment submission and electronic assessment attempts. External students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, external students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus. This needs to be requested at least one week before access is required

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.