Advanced Research Methods 4080/5080
Spring, 2018
10:20-11:15 MWF, COE 241


Instructor: Dr. William Langston Office: JH 100
Phone: 615/898-5489 (office) email: Office Hours: 12-1 T, 3-4 W, drop in anytime, calling first is a good idea, email for appointments.
[Text] [Description] [Responsibilities] [Grading] [Policies] [Calendar]
Required: Any articles for discussion (you'll receive an email with links as they come up).

Recommended: Ray, W. J. (2012). Methods Toward a Science of Behavior and Experience (10th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Options to purchase eBook:
Recommended: Langston, W. (2011). Research Methods Laboratory Manual for Psychology (3rd Ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Wadsworth. Cheaper via electronic copy (link to Wadsworth here).
(This will be a good resource for independent project ideas if you don't have one of your own.)

Course Description:
In this course we will go beyond the basic course in research methods. There are three big components to this. First, you will complete a project and present it at a conference. The project will be your idea and will be entirely under your control. Second, we will cover "the next 30 minutes" of the regular research methods class. The content is a little more advanced, but only in the sense that we actually get to go over things completely. Third, you will get to interact with the material in a more direct way. We'll read some research papers, think more about how science works, and we will have more class discussions and activities that allow you to apply what you are learning.
Course Responsibilities:
1. Quizzes/Homeworks/In-class Presentations: We will have routine quizzes and homeworks. The quizzes are diagnostic and let me know what you are learning. The homeworks will relate to the project and will serve as concrete milestones to keep you on track. The presentations will be opportunities for your peers to give you feedback. These assignments are worth 10 pts. each, I will count your best 10.
2. Research report: You will write one APA formatted report based on the project.
3. Presentation: You will present your work at MTPA on April 21. This will be an oral presentation using PowerPoint.
Assignments: Description: Points:
10 @ 10 each
5080: WRRs
5 @ 10 each
Research report


Intangibles (attendance, class participation, etc.)


400 4080/450 5080
5080: WRRs are required from homeworks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7

Your grade will be based on the number of points earned (for 5080, do the math out of 450 points, and you have A- as a possibility). Totals:

>360 = A; >348 = B+; >332 = B; >320 = B-; >308 = C+; >292 = C; >280 = C-; >268 = D+; >252 = D; > 240 = D-; >0 = F.
General Policies:
1. Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. I will pass around a sign-up sheet every day. Only people with perfect attendance will be allowed to take advantage of extra credit opportunities.
2. Late policy: Complete assignments on time.
 Type of assignment: Penalty
Not accepted after Friday of the week they’re due
No make-ups offered 

 Late, but doesn't inconvenience me 
No penalty
 Some level of inconvenience 10% - 100%
*Papers turned in before I start grading are not late, regardless of the due date.
3. Grading guarantee (my late policy): Papers will be returned within two weeks of the final due date. Bonus points will be awarded at the rate of five points per incomplete paper per day until they are graded. Bonus points will be divided equally amongst all assignments turned in to me on time, for anyone with perfect attendance.
4. Missed assignments: If you know in advance, notify me to make arrangements.
5. Course notes are available on the web at Also, the regular research methods page has some important information at
6. Drop deadlines: The last day to drop without a grade is January 29. The last day to drop is March 25 (you will receive some sort of grade). If you stay in the class after March 25, you will not be able to drop unless you experience a major tragedy or emergency. I am not the person who makes that determination. Incompletes will only be given if you have successfully completed the majority of the coursework and were prevented from finishing by a major tragedy or emergency.
7. Any student engaging in any form of academic misconduct will lose credit for the relevant assignment and will be subjected to the appropriate university judicial proceedings.
8. If you experience problems in the course, see me. You’re welcome in my office anytime.
9. Reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities: If you require assistance or accommodation (e.g., testing, note-taking, etc.), or you have questions related to such accommodations, speak to me as soon as possible. Also, the Disability and Access Center (615-898-2783) can provide information about such accommodations. Additional information is here:
10. Do you have a lottery scholarship? To retain the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship eligibility, you must earn a cumulative TELS GPA of 2.75 after 24 and 48 attempted hours and a cumulative TELS GPA of 3.0 thereafter. A grade of C, D, F, FA, or I in this class may negatively impact TELS eligibility. If you drop this class, withdraw, or if you stop attending this class you may lose eligibility for your lottery scholarship, and you may not be able to regain eligibility at a later time. For additional Lottery rules, please refer to your Lottery Statement of Understanding form ( or contact your MT One Stop Enrollment Counselor (
11. MTSU faculty are concerned about the well-being and development of our students and are legally obligated to share reports of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking with the University’s Title IX coordinator to help ensure student’s safety and welfare. Please refer to MTSU’s Title IX site for contact information and details:
Schedule of events:
Week of:  Topic: Read: 
H O L I D A Y Monday, 1/15

Course introduction
Science--How do we know things?
Longino (1990) (I'll email the relevant parts.)

Snook, B., Cullen, R. M., Bennell, C., Taylor, P. J., & Gendreau, P. (2008). The criminal profiling illusion: What's behind the smoke and mirrors? Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35, 1257-1276. doi: 10.1177/0093854808321528

Research goal: Choose project topic

1/29 What is science?
Science versus pseudoscience and risky predictions: Popper, K. R. (1962). Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. New York: Basic Books. (Chapter 1)
For more on Popper and problems with using risky prediction as the basis of the difference between science and pseudoscience (from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy):

Langmuir, I., & Hall, R. N. (1989). Pathological Science. Physics Today, 42, 36-48. doi:10.1063/1.881205 (I'll email it)

Park, R. L. (2003). The seven warning signs of bogus science. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 49, B20. Retrieved from

Research goal: Project design

Methodological concerns
Why single blind? Rosenthal, R., Kohn, P., Greenfield, P. M., & Carota, N. (1966). Data desirability, experimenter expectancy, and the results of psychological research. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 20-27. doi:10.1037/h0022604 (Get it from PsycInfo)

Demand characteristics: Orne, M. T. (1962). On the social psychology of the psychological experiment: With particular reference to demand characteristics and their implications. American Psychologist, 17, 776-783. doi:10.1037/h0043424 (Get it from PsycInfo)

Presentation: Present project design to class, 2/7-2/9

Methodological concerns in action
King, R. N., & Koehler, D. J. (2000). Illusory correlations in graphological inference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 6, 336-348. doi:10.1037/1076-898X.6.4.336 (Get it from PsycInfo)

Rozin, P., Millman, L., & Nemeroff, C. (1986). Operation of the laws of sympathetic magic in disgust and other domains. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 703-712. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.50.4.703 (Get it from PsycInfo)

Simmons, J. P., Nelson, L. D., & Simonsohn, U. (2011). False-positive psychology: Undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allows presenting anything as significant. Psychological Science, 22, 1359-1366.

Research goal: IRB draft

Catch up time Terms and design discussion

Research goal: Submit IRB

Putting cause in a box
Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. C. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company. (I'll email the relevant parts.)

Haydon, T., Mancil, G. R., & Van Loan, C. (2009). Using opportunities to respond in a general education classroom: A case study. Education and Treatment of Children, 32, 267-278. doi: 10.1353/etc.0.0052

Presentation: Literature review/project foundation, 2/28-3/2

S P R I N G  B R E A K
Kinds of design I
Coover, J. E. (1913). “The feeling of being stared at”: Experimental. The American Journal of Psychology, 24, 570-575. doi: 10.2307/1413454

Bressan, P. (2002). The connection between random sequences, everyday coincidences, and belief in the paranormal. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 16, 17-34. doi: 10.1002/acp.754

Research goal: Begin data collection (if approved)

Kinds of design II
Markovsky, B., & Thye, S. R. (2001). Social influence on paranormal beliefs. Sociological Perspectives, 44, 21-44. doi: 10.1525/sop.2001.44.1.21 (Get it from PsycInfo.)

Foertsch, J., & Gernsbacher, M. A. (1997). In search of gender neutrality: Is singular they a cognitively efficient substitute for generic he? Psychological Science, 8, 106-111. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1997.tb00691.x

Research goal: Continue data collection

Catch up time
Focus on factorials

Research goal: Complete data collection

More complicated issues Crafts, L. W., Schneirla, T. C., Robinson, E. E., & Gilbert, R. W. (1950). The perception of obstacles by the blind in Recent Experiments in Psychology, pp.137-169. The book is online, you will need to go to Chapter IX, starting on p. 137.

Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning. Science, 319, 966-968. doi:10.1126/science.1152408

Coren, S. (1986). An efferent component in the visual perception of direction and extent. Psychological Review, 93, 391-410. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.93.4.391 (Get it from PsycInfo.)

Research goal: Data analysis

Individual meetings

Research goal: Finalize data analysis, draft of presentation


MTPA, Saturday, April 21, 8:30 AM, MTSU
MTPA debrief

Catch up time

Final thoughts on science and method

Please note: Some due dates and topics may shift to later dates. In no event will due dates be moved to an earlier date.

Research Methods Syllabus
Will Langston
 Back to Langston's Advanced Research Methods Page