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Research Methods for Psychological Science

Research Methods for Psychological Science

August 2021 | 480 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Written by experimental research expert, Dr. William J. Ray, Research Methods for Psychological Science introduces students to the principles and practice of conducting research in psychology in an engaging, story-telling format. Ray helps students understand how research increases our understanding of ourselves and our environment and how logic and best practices can increase our understanding of human behavior. Whether their future roles will be researchers, consumers of research, or informed citizens, students will learn the importance of developing testable hypotheses, how to evaluate new information critically, and the impact of research on ourselves and our society. Based on Ray’s influential textbook, Methods Toward a Science of Behavior and Experience, the book offers up-to-date pedagogy, structure, and exercises to reinforce the student’s learning experience.

About the Author
Chapter 1 • What Is Science?
Learning Objectives

Science as a Way of Knowing

The Scientific Approach

Studying Behavior and Experience

Chapter 2 • Introduction to the Methods of Science
Learning Objectives

Naturalistic Observation

The Correlational Approach

The Experimental Method

Logic and Inference: The Detective Work of Science

Scientific Observation: The Raw Data of Science

Chapter 3 • Developing the Hypothesis
Learning Objectives

Making Our Hypotheses Concrete

Making Our Hypotheses Logical

Creating Testable Research Hypotheses and the Problem of Measurement

The Scientist’s Guide to Having an Idea

Tools for Library Research

Chapter 4 • Ethics
Learning Objectives

Ethical Considerations of Psychological Experimentation

Ingredients of the Initial Scientist–Participant Dialogue

The Rights of the Research Participant and the Responsibilities of the Experimenter

Deception Studies

Animals as Subjects

Chapter 5 • Description of Behavior Through Numerical Representation
Learning Objectives


Measurement and Statistics

Measures of Central Tendency

Measures of Variability

Pictorial and Transforming Numerical Data

Measures of Association

Chapter 6 • Inferential Statistics: Making Statistical Decisions
Learning Objectives


The Normal Distribution

Hypothesis Testing

Chapter 7 • Testing the Hypothesis: A Conceptual Introduction
Learning Objectives

The Context of Experimentation: An Example

Types of Variation

Statistical Hypothesis Testing

Threats to Internal Validity


Chapter 8 • Control: The Keystone of the Experimental Method
Learning Objectives

Control Achieved Through Participant Assignment and Selection


Control Achieved Through Experimental Design

Control as Related to the Logic of Experimentation

Chapter 9 • Applying the Logic of Experimentation: Between-Subjects Designs
Learning Objectives

Between-Subjects Design Terminology

Factorial Design

Factorial Designs: The Logic of Experimentation and the Interaction Effect

Chapter 10 • Extending the Logic of Experimentation: Within-Subjects and Matched-Subjects Approaches
Learning Objectives

Within-Subjects Designs

Mixed Designs

Matched-Subjects Designs

Chapter 11 • The Ecology of the Experiment: The Scientist and Research Participant in Relation to Their Environments
Learning Objectives


Experimenter Factors

Subject Factors

Cultural and Social Bias

Chapter 12 • Quasi-Experimental, Correlational, and Naturalistic Observational Designs
Learning Objectives

Doing Research in the Real World: Closed and Open Systems

Quasi-Experimental Designs

Correlational Procedures

Naturalistic Observations

Chapter 13 • Single-Subject Designs
Learning Objectives

History of Single-Subject Designs

Case Study Designs

Experimental Single-Subject Designs

Alternative Types of Single-Subject Research

Chapter 14 • Questionnaires, Survey Research, and Sampling
Learning Objectives

Survey Question Construction and Formats

Methods of Administering a Survey


Chapter 15 • Sharing the Results
Learning Objectives

Communication With Other Scientists: The Scientific Article

Publishing Your Article

Chapter 16 • Beyond Method
Learning Objectives

Dimensions of Research

Limitations to Finding Answers

Science as a Complex Human Process

Science as a Means of Transcendence



Instructor Resource Site

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  • Lecture notes
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 
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Key features


  • The latest information in the field—from research on COVID behaviors to social media to the open science movement—is presented along with key background information on history and ethics to show students where psychology research is going and where it has been.
  • A unique chapter on research ecology contextualizes research within the greater information ecosystem.
  • A storytelling approach filled with numerous examples keeps students engaged.
  • A logical organization that walks through the steps of developing a hypothesis, designing a study, analyzing the results, and sharing the results, matches the research process students will see in published reports and will use if they conduct their own research.
  • In-depth coverage of the scientific method focuses on generating testable hypotheses.
  • An up-to-date chapter on surveys captures the latest information on survey tools and techniques.
  • Scientific Resources and Techniques boxes provide hands-on tips for conducting research.
  • Chapter Outlines and Summaries preview where each chapter is going and recap key points.
  • Concept Checks throughout the chapters allow students to test themselves along their reader journeys and ensure understanding.
  • Key Terms and Concepts grouped by subject highlight the progression of information within each chapter.
  • Chapter-ending Review Questions ensure knowledge is retained, while Discussion Questions and Projects offer additional opportunities for students to develop their understanding of the research process.

For instructors

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