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Research Methods in Psychology

Research Methods in Psychology

In each case, click on the link to the full news story (this will take you to a different
website) and carefully read the story. At the bottom of the page, you will find the
reference to the original study. You can then apply your knowledge of database
searching through the TRU library (e.g., PsycARTICLE, Google Scholar, etc) to find the
original article. You will note that we are giving you the opportunity to read about the
same piece of research in two sources: first, the non-scholarly write-up written for the
press on the APS website, and then the original scholarly article which contains all of the
details. Use these two sources to respond to the following five questions for each study:
1. First, provide the references for BOTH the news story on the website of the
Association for Psychological Science and then the scholarly source for the
original article found on PsycARTICLES, Google Scholar, etc. Please give
website addresses as well. Next, clearly describe one correlational result
reported in the study. Your description should include the variables
involved as well as the direction and strength of the correlation. The
scholarly article will report the actual correlation value—this is very useful
because it will help you visualize what the scatterplot will look like in the
next question.
PSYC 2111: Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology 3
TRU Open Learning
2. Draw and clearly label a scatterplot that illustrates this correlation using 10
data points. Use the Interpreting Correlations interactive visualization to
guide your drawing—you can plug in the correlation value reported in the
article to see what the scatterplot should look like. Important here is the angle
of the line connecting the dots in your scatterplot—most psychology studies
do NOT report perfect correlations! The main aim is to demonstrate that you
understand and can apply a correlation to a plot.
If there are no data points, but there is a correlation given in the news article
or study, use the correlation value itself to create your own data points. If the
article does not even give the correlation itself, it should at least describe the
correlation. Then you can create a correlation from that description that fits
with the conclusions of the study. That is, you might need to create your own
correlation value and data points from your own imagination to reflect the
information or findings from the news article. The main aim is to
demonstrate that you understand and can apply a correlation to a plot.
3. In your own words, speculate about the three possible avenues of cause and
effect outlined above. Which of these seems most plausible and why?
4. How do the researchers interpret this correlation? Do they explain the
correlation in a particular causal direction?
5. Describe how you might be able to address the same question using a
different non-experimental research design. Your proposed study should use
the same variables but should operationalize them differently—for example,
if the present study operationalized “exercise” as the amount of time spent
running each week, there are infinite other ways to operationalize exercise,
such time spent in a physically active job, number of times going to the gym
per week, time spent walking each day, and so on.