Course: Research Methods Lab (PSY 3213L)
Students engage in a content analysis, such as analyzing films, music videos or social network activities. This type of research be done at home, in front of a computer.
- Student Engagement
- Critical Thinking
- Understanding of Research Process
Assignment Setup (Instructor)
The process is broken down into three interrelated assignments:
- Proposal of data collection (assignment 1)
- Data and data analysis (assignment 2)
- Research paper (assignment 3)
Typically, instructions are based on the topic of the project. Instructions must contain detailed information about what students must do. I like to choose topics from already published articles; the articles help me give them more details in terms of the significance of the topic, the details about the procedures and the literature review that I don’t have to provide for them. I also prepare instructions modifying to some extent what they have to do for their own study. For example, I usually reduce the number of variables to only two and one hypothesis; I also reduce the number of participants or sample units. I make sure that the research question can be addressed in a simple study, by one student and within a short period of time.
The first two assignments are graded solely on completion and timely submission. Students receive full credit. They receive feedback from the instructor to self-check their work and revise their work if necessary. The idea is to help students learn from mistakes and realizing that science isn’t a perfect straight line. The research paper that students submit at the end is graded based on the quality. By then, students would receive feedback on their work and self-correct if necessary. So the final product is expected to be of good quality.
Tips and Suggestions for Instructors
- Develop the topic in advance
- Prepare the feedback in advance as if you are doing research yourself
- Try to find topics that are relatable and fun.
- I mentioned that I have at least four topics; each topic is usually done with a different research design; so not only do they choose a topic, they also choose a research design.
Keywords: content analysis, feedback, research design, engagement, topics