Choosing a Method

Research Methods

This video covers the different research methods in psychology: introspection, case studies, survey research, archival research, and experimental research. What is the oldest research method? Why was the method effective? In what ways was it limited? The headless professor mentions archival research in his lesson. What is it? How can it be done on the internet? Give an example or two. Surveys often provide correlational data. Can experimental research be done on paper? Explain your reasoning.

Get A Research Method

Differences between qualitative and quantitative research are covered in this spoof of the humorous Apple commercials. This student project does mention some limitations of each, but appears to be biased toward qualitative research. Using this commercial as your evidence, which research method do you favor quantitative or qualitative? Why? Evaluate the limitations noted in this short commercial. Which of the limitations is most distressing to you as a researcher? Why?

Kinsey – Movie Trailer

A montage of movie scenes is presented, but of note are the scenes depicting the research method the interview. Kinsey introduces himself and trains his research assistants on how to act when participants are being interviewed. Kinseys interview techniques provided vivid data on the sexual practices of people in the late 1940s and 1950s. What advice do you think he gave his research assistants on how to interview participants effectively? What advantages and disadvantages would you anticipate with data obtained from face-to-face interviews?

Variables, Validity, and Control


The headless professor discusses the concept of reliability and some of the more common types of reliability measures. He presents a 2 x 2 contingency table to demonstrate reliability as having more agreements than disagreements. What do measures of reliability determine? Why did the headless professor present the 2 x 2 table to explain reliability? How is reliability defined in that instance? Why is a type of inter-rater reliability important for clinicians?


The headless professor defines validity and how it is established by way of a 2 x 2 contingency table. He also discusses different types of validity such that in clinical psychology (diagnosis and prognosis) and industrial/organizational psychology (performance). Define validity in your own words. Why is it important to establish validity in clinical psychology and industrial/organizational psychology? Why did the headless professor present the 2 x 2 table to explain validity?


The headless professor explains the difference between subjects (participants), groups, samples, and populations. He offers a clinical example and a marketing one, and provides a diagram showing the relationship between a population, group, sample, and participants. What is the difference between subjects/participants, groups, samples, and populations? Develop a research question. Are you able to identify your participants, relevant groups, secure a sample, and estimate your population of interest?

Penn and Teller: Placebo Effect

Comedians Penn and Teller expose medical scam artists by using outrageous fake medical equipment and a fictitious doctor in a shopping mall. People tried magnet therapy, chiropractic weighted coats, and a snail mucus mask and were asked whether they experienced any health benefits. Why did magnet therapy, magno mitts, and the chiropractic coat seem to work for the people? Have you heard of other medical treatments that could be included in this video?

Experiments and Data

Early History of Reaction Time Research

Reaction time is measured in a variety of psychological experiments. The history of reaction time in the 1800s is discussed by Christopher D. Green in this mini-documentary. What were some of the reasons for differing reaction time measurements among researchers? Could this occur today? How? Does the apparatus used by Wilhelm Wundt diminish his impact on the field of scientific psychology? Why or why not? What is a complication experiment?

Delayed Gratification: M&Ms

In this experiment, researchers test the impulse control of children. An experimenter tells the children that if they wait to eat the candy they will receive four more M&Ms. The experimenter leaves the room to observe the childrens actions through a two-way mirror. What was the research question in this experiment? What types of data could the researchers collect from this research method? What type of research is this considered? Do you anticipate any limitations from this research?

Implicit Association Test

This clip demonstrates the Implicit Association Test (IAT). African American and Caucasian participants take the IAT individually, and in the presence of others. A show host reveals the participants responses (i.e., preference for whites/blacks) and participants offer their feelings about the test. Do you support the level of deception necessary to conduct the IAT? What pattern of results would you expect if the studys hypotheses and purpose of the study were given to the participants beforehand?

The Worlds Deepest Bin conducts an experiment in order to get park passersby to throw their trash in a bin by making it a fun activity. The experimenter installs a motion-detection device that triggers an entertaining sound when rubbish is thrown into the bin. During a one day period 72 k of trash is thrown into the bin; a nearby trash bin receives less than half that amount. What kind of experiment is being conducted in this video?

Being a Psychology Research Assistant

An undergraduate at Juniata College describes her work. Their research examines how animal minds are similar to human minds. In time-place learning, the experimenters move platforms under a Morris Water Maze to see how the rats adapt. Describe the research conducted in the Widman lab. What are some of the benefits of being a research assistant? How will the experience help the student profiled in the video?

The Milgram Experiment

This short animated clip explains both Milgrams experiment and the implications it had. In light of how closely this experiment followed World War II, do you think the results of the experiment made a bigger impact on people than they would today? Do you find the deception used in this experiment to be ethical?

Mario Kart Race Times Analysis

This video presents data on World wide competition times for the video game Mario Kart for the Nintendo Wii. The data from several months is shown. How does this data reflect the central limit theorem?

Cooking with the Rennards: Chicken Soup for a Cold

A University of Nebraska Medical Center researcher tests the age-old remedy for the common cold. Stephen Rennard, M.D. took his wife’s family recipe into his lab and discovered chicken soup slows cold symptoms. The Rennards cook and share “grandma’s” famous recipe. What is Dr. Rennards hypothesis about chicken soup and its affect on people with colds?

Ethics and Writing

How To Read Citations

This video explains how to read citations, including how to differentiate what kind of source a citation is referencing. What are the three most common types of references cited in a bibliography? What are some easy ways to remember how to distinguish between types of references?

How To Identify Scholarly Journal Articles

A cartoon character introduces this short video from the series entitled Research Minutes, produced by the Olin Library at Cornell. To identify scholarly articles, viewers are instructed to look for an abstract, the institutional affiliations of the authors, any specialized vocabulary, the presence of graphs and stats, and a bibliography. What are some of the characteristics of scholarly articles? How can a student find scholarly articles? How are magazines and newspapers different from scholarly sources?

Almost Real News: The Truth About Scholarly Journals

Olin Library at Cornell produced this short video on the nature of scholarly journals. An animated newspaper describes the difference between scholarly journals and popular magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and Cosmopolitan. How do popular magazines differ from scholarly journals? Is there anything else incoming students need to know about scholarly journals? What additional details or content would you suggest?

What is Plagiarism?

This clip explains both what plagiarism is, and what some of the consequences can be. The video pushes the concept of intellectual honesty. What are some of the examples of plagiarism that are given in this clip? Do you think that each of these examples are equally unethical?

History of Informed Consent

Photos and a timeline are shown as a voice-over discusses the history of informed consent, including what led to the rules regarding informed consent, and what those rules are. What are some of the examples given of experiments that did not include informed consent, and how did they violate the rights of the participants? Do you find the mnemonic at the end of the video to be a helpful way to remember the steps to informed consent?