PSYCHOL 3020 - Doing Research in Psychology: Advanced

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

Every day we make decisions that guide our behaviour by relying on our tacit knowledge about the world. We form impressions and make predictions based on personal experience. But our cognitive architecture leaves us ill-equipped to deal with random and unusual events, and the probabilistic inferences we make about the world with imperfect data are often wrong. With mass media and vast datasets now at our fingertips online, sound scientific and statistical thinking has never been more important for evaluating claims made with data. The goal of this capstone course is to challenge you to think critically about research methods in psychology, bringing together and extending what you've learned about research design and statistics. We will apply scientific and statistical concepts like regression to the mean, the law of large and small numbers, correlation, causation, replication, generality, fidelity, and control, to a variety of real-world questions. We will discuss classic and contemporary meta-science problems, open science practices, and how the credibility revolution is changing the way we do and evaluate research in psychology. You will put all of this into practice by critically evaluating popular psychological claims, presenting your principled arguments to your peers, and critically reflecting on thorny methodological problems. The emphasis in this course is on when and why particular methods and statistical tools might be applied, and how to formulate a principled argument for what they can (and can't) tell us.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 3020
    Course Doing Research in Psychology: Advanced
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites PSYCHOL 2004 and at least 3 more units of Level II Psychology Courses
    Assessment Practical report, written assignments, written exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Matthew Dry

    School of Psychology Office
    Phone: +61 8313 5693

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Evaluate critically the importance of scientific and statistical reasoning in psychology
    2 Apply methodological and statistical principles to assess the credibility of various claims about human psychology
    3 Formulate principled arguments for using various methods and statistics in psychological research
    4 Understand and apply the methodological and statistical concepts to various real-world problems
    5 Evaluate critically the ethical issues that may impact on decision-making in psychological research
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    Open Resources for Learning R in Psychology

    Self-enrol in ‘R for Psychology’ to access direct R Support discussion threads:
    Crump, M. J. C. (2018). Answering questions with data. Available here:
    Navarro, D. (2018). Learning statistics with R: A tutorial for psychology students and other beginners. Available here: ttps://
    Phillips, N. D. (2018). YaRrr! The Pirate’s Guide to R. Available here:
    PsyTeachR open course materials available here:

    Online Learning
    Video Lectures and Online Worksheets will be made available on MyUni: 

    MyUni may also be used for one or more of the following:
    •    Communication with students via Announcements and Discussion Board
    •    Submission of assessment
    •    Access to lecture recordings
    •    Access to worksheet materials
    •    Access to assigned and additional readings
    •    Access to self-directed learning activities
    •    Access to assessment preparation materials

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course consists of weekly online lectures and face-to-face class activities, and six tutorials


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Video Lectures: 1 hour/week = 12 hours
    Live Classes: 1 hour/week = 12 hours
    Weekly Quizzes/Self Directed Study: 2 hours/week = 24 hours
    Drop-In Sessions (Optional): 4×1 hour = 4 hours
    Tutorials: 6×1 hour = 6 hours
    Research Project (Part I & Part II): 98 hours

    Total: 156
    Learning Activities Summary

    Week Topic
    Week 1 Course Introduction
    Week 2 Making Claims with Data
    Week 3 Evaluating Claims: Detecting Chance
    Week 4 Evaluating Claims: Measures of Magnitude
    Week 5 Evaluating Claims: Reproducibility and Transparency
    Week 6 Evaluating Claims: Data Analytic Workflows
    Week 7 Evaluating Claims: Articulation of Results
    Week 8 Evaluating Claims: Generality and Interestingness
    Week 9 Evaluating Claims: Credibility of Argument
    Week 10 Evaluating Claims: Qualitative Methods I
    Week 11 Evaluating Caims: Qualitative Methods II
    Week 12 Course Summary
    Disclaimer: This program is provisional and subject to change.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning outcome(s) being addressed
    Quizzes Summative 10% 1-5
    End-of-semester exam Summmative 40% 1-5
    Research Project Part I Summative 20% 1-5
    Research Project Part II Summative 30% 1-5
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.