Yale University - Psychology 231 - Research Methods in Happiness
Dr. June Gruber - Yale Psychology - Research Methods in Happiness - Psych 231


Requirements include the following five things: class participation, weekly reading summary, lab exercises, research project paper, and research project presentation. Details and breakdown are below:

1. Class Participation (15% total)

Active participation in class discussion and laboratory exercises is encouraged. The success of this course depends on participating, asking questions, and supporting fellow class members. The goal is to foster a stimulating environment of scientific exchange between colleagues. Attendance is mandatory. Each week we will cover new topics and a hands-on laboratory exercise. You must be present to participate. Any absences must be verified with a Dean’s note. Make-up laboratory sessions will be scheduled at the TF’s convenience. At several points during the semester, you will be presenting your ideas to others. This will foster engagement in the process of scientific thinking. Contemporary psychological science is rarely done in isolation, and requires active discussion, collaboration, and dissemination of ideas to other scientists from different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Presentations will include presenting your group research project proposal, reading summaries, and additional opportunities (i.e., classroom demonstrations, exercises, etc).

2. Reading Summaries (15% total)

Readings will be freely available for download on the course website. To get the most out of this course, it is important that you understand the readings, and how to interpret them as a scientist. This will allow for a better understanding of the lecture and your research project, and also give you the opportunity to ask questions. To encourage this, you will regularly complete a research summary table that includes providing information to answer several key questions about the article. You will initially do this with a sample reading, and the subsequent readings will be those related to your own research project. You will submit your responses using an excel sheet (.xls format) each week with the updated reading from that added. This will be submitted to: psych231.happiness@gmail.com. Each week, the new reading must be received no later than 1 hour before the start of class that week (i.e., no later than Thursday at 12:30pm EST). Answers will be assigned one of the following three grades: 1 (full credit), ½ (half-credit), 0 (no credit). You can assume you received a ‘1’ on your response unless you hear otherwise. For each day a reading summary is late, you will have a minimum 10% of your total score deducted.

3. Laboratory Exercises (20% total)

An important component of this course is engaging in hands-on laboratory exercises. Each week you will receive a hands-on laboratory exercise that corresponds to that week’s topic. The laboratory exercises typically involve, but are not limited to, literature review searches, exposure to data entry & analysis tools (SPSS, excel), stimuli programming, behavioral coding techniques, and psychophysiological methods (e.g., cardiovascular, electrodermal). Each week you will be given an assignment that involves learning to use these methodological tools as applied to real data, understanding the underlying conceptual principles behind each tool, and submitting a written laboratory report for that week. If you are unable to complete a laboratory assignment during class, you may attend the additional lab section hours or come during an additional open lab time at the TF’s convenience. You will be given 2 keys (1 to Kirtland Hall Building, 1 to Kirtland Hall # B01F). Lab assignments must be submitted to psych231.happiness@gmail.com at LATEST by Wednesday 9:00pm EST the following week. Email subject line should read: “Week 1 – Lab Exercise” and be submitted with all lab partner(s) names specified. Lab exercises will be assigned one of the following three grades: 1 (full credit), ½ (half-credit), 0 (no credit). Make-up lab exercises for 0 or ½ credit grades are not permitted. For each day a lab is late, 10% of your score is deducted. Some lab exercises involve meeting with group members, and in such cases the class will split into small groups to work on final research projects.

4. Final Research Paper (40% total)

You will be required to write a 20-page paper (double-spaced; excluding references) individually on your research project. This will include an Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion section, to be written in APA 6th edition format. Drafts of each section of this paper will be due throughout the semester (see “class schedule” for due dates). Final papers are due the last week of class and must be emailed to psych231.happiness@gmail.com with: (1) “Psych 231 Final Paper” in the subject line, (2) Names of all group members on the title page, and (3) Include attachment (.doc format only!). Although the research project will be conducted in collaboration with class members, all papers must be written and submitted individually by each student. For each day the paper is turned in late, you will have 10% of your score deducted. Papers will be due on the LAST DAY OF CLASS.

5. Final Research Presentation (10% total)

A critical part of conducting research is to communicate your findings to a live audience in a straightforward and captivating manner. One common venue through which this is done is through an oral presentation, such as those given at national psychology conferences. You will have the opportunity to create 15-20 minute oral presentation with accompanying PowerPoint/Keynote/etc. slides that will cover your study introduction, methods, results and discussion sections. Guidelines and specific instructions will be provided on how to prepare your presentation, as well as how to prepare for answering questions during a question and answer period at the end of your presentation. All research presentations will be done in collaboration with group members, and a single grade will be assigned to all group members. Each student will be asked to submit an anonymous and detailed description of each project member’s contribution that will contribute towards a group collaboration grade. Presentations will be completed a week before the last day of class, and presented on the LAST DAY OF CLASS.

6. Extra Credit Opportunity

At the end of each lecture, you will view a brief 15-minute “Experts in Emotion Interview” containing a videotaped conversation with Professor Gruber and an expert scholar in emotion from the field. For extra credit, you have the option to submit a 1-page single-spaced reaction to watching the video in class, discussing and critically analyzing the major themes discussed in each video. A handout detailing requirements for this optional extra credit assignment will be provided to interested students via email. For every 5 full-credit responses submitted, you will receive 1% extra credit point toward your final grade.

News & Events

Enrollment is open, with a course enrollment cap of 16. Contact Instructor or TF if you have questions.

Thurs, August 29, 2013
William L. Harness Hall, Room 003

Thursdays 3:30-4:30pm
Kirtland Hall B01F & B13