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Research Methods in Psychology

Research Methods in Psychology
Investigating Human Behavior

Third Edition

October 2018 | 632 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The authors are proud sponsors of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

Research Methods in Psychology: Investigating Human Behavior draws on fascinating stories to illustrate the entire research process within a unifying conceptual framework. Bestselling authors Paul G. Nestor and Russell K. Schutt present a clear and comprehensive introduction to the logic and techniques of research methods in psychology by employing a unique combination of two distinct yet complementary pedagogical techniques. First, chapters designed for experiential, hands-on studies put the student in the roles of researcher, participant, and consumer to bring concepts to life. Second, the findings of cognitive science guide the text in a way that is most conducive to learning. This novel approach serves as an effective way to make the world of psychological research fun and rewarding for students, in addition to allowing them to gain the foundational knowledge they need to design, conduct, and present research.


About the Authors
Chapter 1. Uncommon Sense and the Scientific Method
Biases in Thinking

The Scientific Method

Psychological Research in the Public Square


Chapter 2. The Research Process
Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Research Approach

Research Toolbox

Evaluating and Critiquing Research


Chapter 3. Literature Review in Research
The Brain on Marijuana

Literature Review in Research

Framework for Literature Review

Advanced Literature Reviews


Chapter 4. Ethics in Behavioral Research
Historical Background

Ethical Principles

The Institutional Review Board


Chapter 5. Conceptualization and Measurement
What Is Happiness?

Theoretical Constructs

Levels of Measurement

The Special Case of Psychometrics

Evaluating Measures

The Logic of Measurement Validity


Chapter 6. Samples and Generalizations
Sample Planning

Sampling Methods

Sampling Distributions


Chapter 7. Considering Correlation: Are You a Maximizer or a Satisficer?
Are You a Maximizer or a Satisficer?

Correlational Research

Correlation, Confounds, and Control Variables

Decision-Making Strategies in a College Student Sample: Maximizer or Satisficer?


Chapter 8. In Search of Causality: True Experiments
Mental Calisthenics for the Brain?

Single-Factor Experiment

Theater of Independent Variables

Measurement and Control

Validity in Experiments

Can Causality Be Established?


Chapter 9. Experimental Design and Hypothesis Testing
Does Exercise Make You Smarter?

Basic Experimental Designs

Two Options in Assigning Participants

Null Hypothesis Significance Testing


Chapter 10. Complex Research Designs
Multifactorial Designs

Within-Subjects Experiment

Between-Subjects Experiment


Chapter 11. Quasi-Experimental and Nonexperimental Designs
The Good and the Bad of Media Multitasking

Quasi-Experimental Designs

Nonequivalent-Control-Group Designs

Before-and-After Designs

Quasi-Experiments of Media Multitasking

Quasi-Experiments of 9/11 Memories

Quasi-Experimental Research of Culture and Cognition

Developmental Studies

Nonexperimental Research


Chapter 12. Small-N and Single-Subject Designs
Foundations of Small-N Designs

Measuring Targets of Intervention

Types of Small-N and Single-Subject Designs

Analyzing Small-N and Single-Subject Designs

Internal Validity



Chapter 13. Survey Research
How Happy Are You?

Considering Surveys

Writing Survey Questions

Combining Questions in Indexes and Scales

Designing Questionnaires

Organizing Surveys

Analyzing Surveys


Chapter 14. Qualitative Methods
Fundamentals of Qualitative Research

Methods for Collecting Qualitative Data

Qualitative Interviewing

Participant Observation

Systematic Observation

Focus Groups

Qualitative Data Analysis

Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research


Chapter 15. Quantitative Data Analysis
Does Needing Help = Getting Help?

Statistical Approach

Univariate Distributions

Descriptive Statistics

Inferential Statistics

The Ethics of Statistics


Chapter 16. Essentials of APA Report Writing
APA Format

Report Organization in APA Format

Literature Review

Poster Presentation

Sample Paper


Appendix A: Summaries of Frequently Cited Research Articles
Appendix B: Questions to Ask About a Research Article
Appendix C: How to Read a Research Article
Appendix D: Proportions of Area Under Standard Normal Curve
Appendix E: Critical Values for t Distribution
Appendix F: Critical Values of F
Appendix G: Critical Values of Chi-Square
Appendix H: Critical Values of the Correlation Coefficient
Appendix I: Table of Random Numbers


Instructor Resource Site

SAGE edge for instructors supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring one’s course.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility in creating a multimedia presentation.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter. 
  • Multimedia content appeals to diverse learners and includes a carefully curated list of online supporting audio and video resources.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to help prepare for lectures and class discussions.
Student Study Site

SAGE edge for students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • SPSS exercises provide opportunities for additional practice.
  • Multimedia content appeals to diverse learners and includes a carefully curated list of online supporting audio and video resources.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter.
Key features
  • Expanded coverage of correlational, quasi-experimental, and qualitative design keeps readers informed on these increasingly popular methods.
  • Updated examples combining classic and cutting-edge research apply literature review in research to modern questions and debates.
  • Expanded coverage of rooting out error and myth with the scientific method from traditional narrative literature review to meta-analysis includes a 32-item survey used by researchers to measure “neuromyths” and show how they can be debunked by scientific evidence.
  • A new Chapter 3: Literature Review in Research show readers the different roles a literature review can play in research, including new sections on systematic literature reviews that reflect the rapidly increasing role of the Internet.
  • New content in Chapter 4: Ethics in Behavioral Research includes new examples of unethical practice and lessons from international and online research.
  • New content on the “replication crisis” provides lessons on the practices and techniques of research in psychology.


  • Case studies from psychological literature in each chapter are carefully deconstructed to illustrate the procedures, logic, and design of research.
  • An emphasis on cultural and developmental perspectives illuminates how culture shapes our thinking and how our thinking shapes culture.
  • Research in the News sections summarize scientific stories that students are then prompted to reflect on and evaluate.
  • Ethics in Action exercises encourage readers to apply ethics to a topic at hand.
  • Coverage of statistics emphasizes probabilistic reasoning in a student-friendly manner.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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