Talk:Introduction to Research Methods In Psychology/Blueprint

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Feedback from TRU F2F Psychology faculty115:50, 2 October 2014
Recommendation to consider micro course format514:05, 2 October 2014
Comment about licensing012:23, 1 October 2014

Feedback from TRU F2F Psychology faculty

Edited by another user.
Last edit: 15:49, 2 October 2014

Hi Gail

I have had a quick look over this and it looks very thorough.

My one comment at this time is with respect to the practical research component and ethics – I see you have made a note about that, and I’m just wondering if you have spoken to Debbie Krebs in the research office about it? Even with naturalistic observation, the students would still have to apply for ethical approval for their research, and I suspect this will not fly because of the distance of the supervision. It places a heavy burden on the instructor to have to apply for ethics for multiple different projects.

In the Psyc3190 class I have students design a project in small groups, and they collect data in class (on their classmates). We have blanket ethical approval for this but we are under tight constraints (I gave many examples of the types of studies that we typically run) and I am actively engaged with the students at all stages of the process, and supervise even the data collection process.

Have you considered using any canned psychological experiments available online? These are often available for the student to try (as a participant themselves), and then there is access to other classes’ data so that the students have some data to look at, (even though their statistical analyses will be limited because they have not learned about statistics in this course). For example, see:

It would be possible for the instructor to apply for ethics approval for, say, a small selection of these studies, and then the students could choose which one to use for their project. Perhaps one aspect of their research report would be to suggest a variation on the original study that would advance research knowledge in this area (that way they still get some practice at research design).

Another way to do this, so that students can have the experience of designing a study from scratch, is to have them go through the design process and then invent some data. This also tests their ability to have some understanding of what a dataset might look like (i.e., scores are not perfectly reliable, the average from the experimental group might be higher than the average for the control group but that does not mean that everyone scores that way, and so on) and still allows them to then reflect on the flaws in their own design when they write up the final research report. However, I think that at the second year level this is challenging – the students, having just completed intro psych, have such limited knowledge of any specific subject area that they struggle to think of a research question. Then their topics end up being so different that it is hard to mark them objectively. Again here, it might be easier to discuss a key research study and then have the students design a follow-up study to answer unanswered questions (and then invent the data).

For the “archival” research option, that is not as relevant to psychological science as a research method so I wonder how useful it would be for them to complete a project using that approach.

I hope this feedback is useful. Best,Catherine

Catherine N M Ortner, PhD Department of Psychology Thompson Rivers University

Gail Morong (talk)13:54, 2 October 2014
Edited by another user.
Last edit: 15:50, 2 October 2014

Thank you Catherine for your thoughtful comments and helpful suggestions. These are early days and we are certainly considering a few options for the research component of this course. • For the naturalistic observation study, the idea would be to obtain course-level REB approval for the project with rather specific parameters. • Having said that, the APA's online psych lab + other online resources like that host simulations or even the IAT are also possibilities. • The archival option would very much be relevant to psychological science - this could take the form of, for example, tests of a priori hypotheses using James Penebaker's online LIWC tool that analyses changes in speech or even tweets over time or across different segments of the population. • The option of "inventing data" is what PSYC 2111 at TRU-OL currently does, but this endangers the articulation of the course (e.g., at last year's articulation meeting UBC advised that their new senate policy restricts transfer credit for Research Methods courses taken at other institutions to only those that involve actual data collection). Aside from this, though, I would argue that there are skills and experiences picked up while actually collecting the data that would be otherwise missed. Farhad and I will certainly consider your suggestions though - they are much appreciated. Two of the challenges with designing this particular course is that there is no cohort (so students cannot use one another as participants) and the students may be quite isolated (hence the archival option). Thanks again, Rajiv

Rajiv Jhangiani, Ph.D. Department of Psychology Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Faculty Fellow, BC Campus Open Textbook Project Director of Research, Resources, and Special Initiatives, STP Early Career Psychologists Committee Associate Editor, Psychology Learning & Teaching

Gail Morong (talk)13:57, 2 October 2014

Recommendation to consider micro course format

That's a solid blueprint and I compliment the team's work in aligning the structure of the proposed course with the learning outcomes. I should also mention that I'm chuffed to see an OERu course proposal based on one of the BCcampus open textbook projects. Nice One!

I would strongly recommend structuring the course as 3 X 1 Credit micro courses because this would generate flexible reuse scenarios including the option for TRU to consider parallel mode delivery where your full-fee students can study in parallel with OERu learners. We trialled this approach successfully during the University of Canterbury prototype where registered Canterbury students participated through the institutional LMS and we aggregated feeds from the OERu PLE. If the course is structured using micro's, the TRU course can still be offered as a full semester 3 credit course. Judging by the distribution of the textbook Chapters, it shouldn't be too hard to distribute the workload across 3 X 1 Credit micro's.

A tentative division might look something like this:

  • Micro 1: Introduction to Research Psychology, Theories and Measurement
  • Micro 2: Non-experimental and Experimental Research Methods
  • Micro 3: Data analysis & Reporting (Inclusive of research report).

The shorter "teaching" time (2 weeks) for the 3rd micro is fine because learners will be spending considerable time preparing their research report.

The only issue I see regarding a micro structure is that the assessment workload for the 1st micro as it currently stands would be a little thin. One solution might be to include an assignment to prepare an annotated bibliography and review essay based on the literature survey related to the problem the student would like to research. (I used this approach in the Change with digital technologies course)

With a little tweaking of the assessment design - it should be possible to implement a micro structure for the course.

Mackiwg (talk)14:19, 1 October 2014

Thanks for your feedback. I did mention the micro-courses option to writers at start of project. I'll remind them about this request...Irwin and I are meeting tomorrow about the course and setting up unit templates for the writer to work with to start actual work on the course now. I'llmake sure we discuss your suggestions.


Gail Morong (talk)16:37, 1 October 2014

Thanks Gail,

I appreciate that - structuring as 3 micro's would not preclude the faculty members from teaching the course as a full 3-credit offering for a single cohort where each micro is taught consecutively. Its a win-win option :-).

Mackiwg (talk)17:13, 1 October 2014

We are for the general idea but it is not always that easy and seamless to do. The main issue for now is that the research project was supposed to be worked on throughout the course, not just at the end. Doing a research project usually involves a lot of feedback and help from an instructor in early stages...not easy to do in an open situation with no instructor and a short timeframe. I suggested to the writer he speak to two audiences at same time if possible 1) those who want to go on and do a research project and might want to start doing certain activities towards that end early and 2) those who only intend to do the two foundational mOOCs and not think of an actual research project yet. The writer and consultant are talking about it and will let me know tomorrow. The decision will affect how we structure the course and the assessments to match each mOOC.


Gail Morong (talk)12:45, 2 October 2014

Hi Gail,

Thanks for sharing and keeping us up to date with developments.

I agree, in a course like this the learners will need to work on the research project throughout the course rather than cramming this at the end. I was faced with a similar design challenge when developing the Change With Digital Technologies in Education course at the University of Canterbury. In this course, the final output was a research paper but I integrated the project process as a parallel assessment for the three micro-courses by breaking it down into subcomponent parts, for example this is how I broke down the summative assessment for the project component for the course:

  1. Micro 1: Annotated bibliography of 10 resources, literature review essay plus project proposal.
  2. Micro 2: Annotated bibliography of 10 more resources, plus research instruments (possible data collection?)
  3. Micro 3: Final research report.

In this way, the research project can be spread across the course with clear milestones where each milestone builds on previous work. Consequently the summative assessment for each mOOC would be the assignment plus the research project milestone.

The approach of speaking to "two audiences" can work (as it did when we ran the University of Canterbury course). The project component was entirely optional for OERu Learners who were participating out of self interest, but should they want to challenge for credit, they would be required to complete all the 3 components of the research project required for the final assessment (i.e Annotated Bibliography, review essay, research instruments and final report.) I designed and incorporated mini e-Activities (formative) as part of the learning sequences, for example publishing and sharing 1 annotated bibliography or publishing and sharing a draft research question. You can see that the e-Activities were designed to function as building blocks for the summative assessment components. As small doable e-Activities, a number of the free OERu learners completed these activities even though they were not planning to submit a final research project. For our registered students, we encouraged learners to publish their e-Activities as blog posts and the lecture provided comments and feedback for the full-fee paying students. Working openly provided opportunities for peer-learning support.

I agree, doing the research project without iterative feedback for the free OERu learners will be hard - but to be fair, they are not paying for tutorial support. The model could be designed to offer a "Certificate for Participation" on a fee for service basis where learners are required to complete a specified number of the e-Activities but not the research project. Learners wanting to challenge for credit, would need to submit the research project components and successfully pass the challenge exam.

Mackiwg (talk)13:24, 2 October 2014

All great suggestions I will share with writers. It's great to keep thinking of new ways of doing things. The PSYC 2111 writers are committed to our open philosophy and are genuinely willing to listen to our ideas.


Gail Morong (talk)14:05, 2 October 2014

Comment about licensing

Hi Gail,

Blueprint is looking good. Just a brief comment about licensing. The core principles of OERu engagement require that the wraparound course materials are licensed under a CC-BY or CC-BY-SA license, i.e. a free cultural works approved license. It is fine to prescribe a CC-BY-SA-NC open textbook for the course, but the course materials must use a free cultural works approved license.

Mackiwg (talk)12:22, 1 October 2014