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PSY2100 Research Methods in Psychology A

Semester 1, 2020 Online
Short Description: Research Methods Psychology A
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090701 - Psychology
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Hong Eng Goh


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


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 experimental and observational research designs, including participation in computer-assisted laboratory data collection. 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 Health, Engineering and 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 postulate hypotheses to test psychological concepts and theories;
  4. discuss null hypothesis significance testing, its application and its controversies;
  5. differentiate between descriptive statistics and inferential statistics including the appropriate selection of analysis techniques to answer research questions;
  6. examine data through screening and assumption testing;
  7. use SPSS to analyse psychological research data, apply decision errors, power and effect sizes to statistical analysis;
  8. identify relevant information, such as aims, method information, results, and potential methodological limitations from published journal articles to formulate an argument for investigating the topic for class-wide study;
  9. write the method and results section of an APA research report of computer assisted laboratory work.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Scientific foundations and the research process. 20.00
2. Null Hypothesis Significance Testing and Issues 20.00
3. Experimental Independent Group Design: Issues and analysis. 25.00
4. Experimental Repeated Measures Design: Issues and Analysis 25.00
5. Observational Designs and Issues. 10.00

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 2020, Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edn, American Psychological Association, Washington DC.
Field, A 2018, Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics, 5th edn, Sage, Los Angeles, CA.
(Note: It will be challenging to use earlier editions because the chapters are not the same due to two new chapters in the 5th edition. In addition to the two new chapters, there is new content. Please note that students are responsible for finding the relevant pages in the earlier editions edition.)
Shaughnessy, JJ, Zechmeister, EB & Zechmeister, JS 2015, Research methods in psychology, 10th edn, McGraw Hill, New York.
(Note: The 9th edition is acceptable as the chapters in the 9th and 10th are the same. Please note that students are responsible for finding the relevant pages.)
SPSS. If you intend to work on SPSS at home, the minimum requirement is the latest version of SPSS Base Pack (previously known as Student version) (earlier student versions of SPSS are acceptable).

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 expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 26.00
Directed Study 33.00
Online Lectures 24.00
Online Tutorials 24.00
Private Study 67.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 20 10 12 Mar 2020
Assignment 2 20 10 21 Apr 2020
Online Test 60 30 11 May 2020
Assignment 3 40 20 21 May 2020
Online Exam 60 30 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This will be an open examination. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via Uconnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle). Note that the Conceded Pass is not available in this course due to APAC accreditation standard 2.1.9.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: The details regarding deferred/supplementary examinations will be communicated at a later date

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    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 log the assignment to the submission system set up by the examiner. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the submission, if requested by the Examiner.

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

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. APA style Style is the referencing system required in this course. Students must should use the 6th or 7th edition of the APA style Style Manual to formatin their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style Style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

  6. 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 electronically using the same computer laboratories. Online 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. Online students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, online students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus.

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.

Date printed 19 June 2020