PSYC 2111: Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology

Students are introduced to the procedures and designs used in psychological research and the critical evaluation of research. Topics include the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research, including non-experimental, experimental, and quasi-experimental designs; research ethics; measurement; validity of methods; control of extraneous influences; and the drawing of valid conclusions from empirical evidence.


After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the scientific approach to the study of behaviour.
  • Apply the ethical principles that govern research in psychology.
  • Conduct a literature search using peer-reviewed sources.
  • Design a research proposal.
  • Discuss the key concepts in research design including operational definitions, variables, reliability, validity, and sampling procedures.
  • Explain the strengths and limitations of research designs used in psychology, including experimental and non-experimental designs.
  • Identify potential flaws in research design.
  • Collect and analyze data based on an instructor-approved research proposal.
  • Construct and analyze graphical representations of data.
  • Describe basic descriptive statistics including measures of central tendency and variability.
  • Explain the purpose and appropriateness of inferential statistics such as t-tests and anova.
  • Draw valid conclusions from empirical evidence with an awareness of the limits of various research methods.

Course outline

PSYC 2111: Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology includes the following five units that are divided into various topics:

Unit 1: Introduction to Research in Psychology

  • An Introduction to Psychological Science
  • Literature Searches
  • Reading Research Reports
  • Variables
  • Sampling and Measurement
  • Statistical Relationships Between Variables
  • Conducting Ethical Research

Unit 2: Theories and Measurement

  • Theories and Hypothesis Testing
  • Conceptual and Operational Definitions of Psychological Constructs
  • Levels of Measurement
  • Reliability
  • Validity

Unit 3: Nonexperimental Research Methods

  • Correlational Research
  • Naturalistic Observation
  • Archival Research
  • Case Studies
  • Quasi-Experimental Research
  • Cross Sectional Research
  • Longitudinal Research
  • Survey Research
  • Common Threats to Internal Validity

Unit 4: Experimental Research Methods

  • Basics of Experimental Research
  • Internal and External Validity
  • Between-Subjects Experiments
  • Within-Subjects Experiments
  • Practical Considerations
  • Complex Research Designs
  • Single-Subject Research

Unit 5: Data Analysis & Communication of Results

  • Introduction to American Psychological Association (APA) Style
  • Writing a Research Report in APA Style
  • Describing Single Variables
  • Expressing your Results

Required text and materials

The following open textbook is required for this course:

Price, P. C., & Jhangiani, R. Research Methods in Psychology. 2nd Canadian ed. Victoria, BC: BCcampus Open Ed, 2015.

This textbook is available to you online for free at:

Additional requirements

Computer with Internet is required to complete this course.


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final examination and 50% overall. You may write the final exam even if you have not completed all the assignments; however, you will receive a zero grade for each assignment that you do not submit.

Assignment 1: Introduction to Research 13%
Assignment 2: Correlational Research 13%
Assignment 3: Research Proposal 13%
Assignment 4: Research Report 21%
Final Exam * 40%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the "Mail" tool in the Learning Environment or by phone. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.

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