Fall Semester 2023


Esteban Montenegro-Montenegro, PhD.


Course time: at student’s pace.
Professor: Esteban Montenegro-Montenegro, PhD.
Office hours online: Schedule an appointment on Warrior Connect or send me an email.
Office phone: (209) 513-9457
Schedule an appointment: Warrior Connect

Course description

Course description (from course catalog): This course examines research methods used in Social Psychology. Students design and conduct an original study. Satisfies upper-division writing proficiency requirement. (3 Units). Prerequisites: Completion of the Writing Proficiency Screening Test with a passing score and PSYC 3000.

Course Introduction: In this course, you will develop a better understanding of psychological research methods and their application. You will be part of a group of students and collaborate to conduct a research study from start to finish, including an APA Style poster presentation and manuscript. Your research team will review past literature, design a study, collect data, analyze the results of that study, and present a research poster to the class. You will complete an entire APA Style formatted manuscript.

Course Structure: This course will be asynchronous online. The students will have read, work on assignments, and execute a research project after watching videos or reading materials assigned on Canvas. *WE WON’T HAVE A CLASS SESSION EACH WEEK”. Instead, students will work on their own pace without forgetting important deadlines.

Course Learning Objectives

This course is designed to give you experience designing and administering an empirical study in social psychology, analyzing the data, drawing conclusions based on the analyses, and presenting the results to others. The course is structured around a research project that you will conduct with a small group of classmates. Upon completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Conduct a scientific literature search and review.
  2. Understand basic research methods in social psychology.
  3. Design and conduct scientific experiments in psychology using appropriate methods that adhere to the APA code of ethics.
  4. Use technology to analyze scientific data and present research findings.
  5. Demonstrate APA Style writing skills, including the ability to paraphrase and correctly cite references.
  6. Orally communicate research methodologies and findings to others.
  7. Collaborate with group members to complete a research project.
Program learning outcomes Covered?
  1. Demonstrate psychological literacy
  1. Be able to identify strengths and weakness in psychological studies
  1. Apply psychology concepts to address real-world problems
  1. Communicate effectively in formal and informal written and oral modes
  1. Be able to identify the commonalities and differences between different theoretical approaches
  1. Describe and act in accordance with the scientist-practitioner model
  1. Act according to the ethical principles adopted by the profession

Course Materials:

In this class, you are allowed to use any or a combination of the following statistical software to analyze your data:

R is a programming language. It is an open source language, free and very famous around the world. We will learn how we can use it to analyze diverse type of statistical models. You can download the installer and read more about it from:

RStudio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) it works as a friendly interface to use R language. You can read and download RStudio from here:

Jamovi is a friendly software based on R language. It runs R behind scenes, many users believe that Jamovi is a friendly approach to learn R. You can download JAMOVI from here:

You may also use software such as SPSS, or Excel. It is up to you what statistical software is best according to your knowledge and skills. I will give more emphasis to R in your projects. I will facilitate tutorials and office hours to help you develop stronger skills in R if you see it feasible for your projects. However, it is not mandatory to use R to conduct data analysis.

Computer/Laptop: Your device should be good enough to get access to internet, office and conduct basic data analysis models. Most of the modern computer will work for this class, however depending on your final projects you might need a computer or tablet with at least 8 GB of ram memory.

Microsoft Office programs (PowerPoint, Word, Excel): Lessons, assignments, and data sets will need to be accessed and/or completed using these programs. It is your responsibility to have access to these programs (and not online or Google Drive options) downloaded on your computer, laptop. Microsoft Office is available for download to currently enrolled Stan State students. I also accept documents in pdf created using Latex, R markdown or markdown.

Required Text: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition This book is the official manual for writing and properly formatting your research and paper in APA Style. It describes all you’ll need to know on how to write an effective paper from beginning to end. Also, it includes, what may be a more difficult part of writing in APA Style, how to use and format citations and references. All of your manuscripts will be graded using APA writing style. Therefore, you ARE required to buy this book for this class. If you are a Psychology major, you will be using this regularly throughout the course of your academic career.

I also suggest the book: Galvan, J. L., & Galvan, M. C. (2017). Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences. Routledge. We’ll be reading several chapters but not the entire book.


Assignments (50%): Below is a description of the final research assignments. In addition to the assignments described below, you will complete additional individual and group tasks. Specific instructions and due dates to assignments will be announced in class and in the assignment link on Canvas. You might use Microsoft Word, Libre Office, or pdf documents created with Latex or Rmarkdown. Just make sure your document is tidy and meets all the requirements of APA style when applicable.

Research Project (25%): With a set of classmates (5 maximum), you will work on a research project throughout the semester. Each of you will be joining other classmates as part of a group in order to complete a research project. Together you will decide on a topic relevant to social psychology, conduct a literature review on that topic, and design and execute your own research study regarding an aspect of that topic that interests you and your group. There are several activities and assignments designed to help you work and complete this research project. Your group and you have limited time to design and execute a research project, for this reason, keep your research topic simple.

In order for your group to function at its ultimate capacity, you will be taking on specific leadership roles, which are described below. It is vital that you all carefully consider who you select for these roles, as their ability to perform adequately will have an impact on your group’s performance overall.

  • Team Leader: The individual that holds this position will be responsible for managing the general group activities. This person will also be submitting the majority of the initial group assignments. This individual needs to be responsible, conscientious, and organized. When necessary, this individual will also schedule Zoom meetings for group members to meet outside of the scheduled class days and times. This person will also serve as the group’s liaison and will contact me via email outside of class for any general group inquiries. This will eliminate a potentially considerable amount of unnecessary emails between myself and other group members if there is a problem with an assignment. This person needs to have Microsoft Word installed on their personal computer or laptop.

The Team Leader is not the boss of the group or person responsible for completing the group work—ONLY the individual responsible for managing the group.

  • IRB Coordinator: This individual will be responsible for managing the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Application Packet. As a group, you will ALL work together to complete the packet, but this individual will be responsible for ensuring that any requested revisions to the IRB application packet get done in a timely manner. This person is responsible for contacting me via email with any IRB Application Packet-related group questions. You will receive group points for this application packet and any revisions. The person that holds this position needs to have Microsoft Word installed on their personal computer or laptop.

  • Qualtrics Coordinator: The individual that holds this position will be responsible for managing the development of your study on Qualtrics. As a group, you will ALL work together to design the initial set-up and revisions. This person is responsible for contacting me via email with any Qualtrics-related group questions. In this class, your group will pilot test your study, the Qualtrics Coordinator will be responsible for completing the logistics of this task. You will still receive group points for the set-up, as long as your Qualtrics Coordinator has made any requested revisions.

  • Data Manager: The individual that holds this position will be responsible for managing the data for your study. At the end of data collection, this person is responsible for exporting the data from the survey management system, preparing the data for data analysis, and sharing the “final” data set with group members. This person is responsible for contacting me via email with any data management-related group questions. This person needs to have Microsoft Excel installed on their personal computer or laptop.

  • Poster Coordinator: The individual that holds this position will be responsible for managing the group conference poster, as well as all of its revisions. As a group, you will all work together to design your poster, but the Poster Coordinator will submit assigned poster drafts and ensure that any requested revisions are made. You will receive group points for the poster and the revisions. This person is responsible for contacting me via email with any poster-related group questions. This person needs to have Microsoft PowerPoint installed on their personal computer or laptop.

APA Style Manuscript: You will write your own complete APA Style manuscript about your research project. This manuscript consists of the following elements: Title Page, Introduction, Method, Results (with at least one figure), Discussion, References, and Appendix. There are several activities and assignments designed to help you work and complete this manuscript. Relevant assignments will be graded for content, writing style, and APA Style formatting.

APA Style Conference Poster (15%): With your group, you will develop an APA Style conference poster. This poster will be developed using Microsoft PowerPoint and contain the following elements: Title, Authorship, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results (with at least one figure), Discussion, and References. Other poster elements are encouraged, such as table(s), images, and acknowledgments. You may present your poster at the Undergraduate Symposium organized by the Psychology and Child Development Department.

Group Presentation (10%): For your final, with your group, you will give a 10-15 minute presentation of your project. In this presentation, you will provide a summary of the purpose of the study, the previous research, the hypotheses, method, results, discussion of what the results mean, limitations, and future directions for research. This presentation will also include a Q&A session to allow your classmates and me to ask questions and make comments on your research project. You may record your presentation using Zoom and then upload the video to Panopto on Canvas. I will prepare an user guide to show you how to do it.

SONA. One point will be given for each credit earned via the sona-systems website, Make sure that you sign up using a participant (not a researcher) account, and that you assign the credits to this course. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11th is the last day to participate in studies, and December 11th is the deadline for assigning credits to this course. I will get a report of the credits assigned to this course on December 11th, which is when they will be added to your grade on Canvas

Late work: Late assignments will be accepted up to 48 hours after the deadline. Points will be deducted as follows: one day later will deduct 15% of your grade, two days late represents 25% less in your grade, three days delayed is 0% of your grade.

Disputing a score: Students are welcome to dispute a score if they believe they were incorrectly deducted for their work. For this, students must provide a written explanation, specifying why they were incorrectly graded. For non-final assignments or exams, this must be done within seven (7) days from the date the score was posted on Canvas. For final assignments or exams, this must be done before final course grades are submitted; your instructor will post an announcement on Canvas with this date.

Final Grades: Grades are based on all weighted evaluation categories (participation activities, graded assignments, and exams) total points. Letter grades will be assigned using the following percentages (rounded to the second decimal point):

Grading Criteria

A = 93 - 100

\(A^-\)= 90-93

\(B^+\) = 87-90

B = 83-87

\(B^-\) = 80-83

C = 73-77

\(C^-\) = 70-73

D = 63-67

\(D^-\) = 60 - 63

Expectations and Policies

Communication skills: You are expected to exercise strong academic verbal and writing skills for expressing yourself to complete class assignments. Failing to clearly communicate your ideas on class assignments may result in you losing points on that assignment. You also need strong analytical and critical thinking skills for completing weekly tasks. I will do my best to respond to emails within 1 - 2 business days (Monday through Friday). If you do not hear back from me within this time interval, send me a follow-up email that includes your original email message. Please keep in mind that if your email question is sent at the last minute it may not be possible to send you a response right before the submission of an assignment or exam. Before emailing me, please see if the answer to your question can be found on the course syllabus, schedule, or Canvas webpage.

Attendance: If you want a good grade in this class, you need to keep up with the online course material. However, given the format of this course attendance is not contemplated in the final grade.

Diversity: I will always embrace diversity as the most important human value. It is expected that students understand the importance of creating diverse and safe places free of discrimination by gender, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. I am an ally to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) community, and I am available to listen and support you in an affirming manner. I can assist in connecting you with resources on campus to address problems you may face pertaining to sexual orientation and/or gender identity that could interfere with your success at Stan State.

Academic misconduct: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Instances of academic misconduct (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) will result in a grade of zero on the exam/assignment in question. Additionally, you may also receive a lower letter grade or “F” in the class, be reported to Judicial Affairs for academic misconduct activity tracking or disciplinary action, suspended or expelled from the university. It is your responsibility to know the rules. Always paraphrase and cite the source properly according to APA style, avoid copying sentences unless they are necessary, and you cite the author in APA style. Always cite your source! In detail, pay attention to the California Code of Regulations:


“Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 41301 notes that students may be”expelled, suspended, placed on probation, or given a lesser sanction for one or more of the following causes which must be campus related: 1. Cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus. . . .” (see “Student Rights & Responsibilities” section of the current Stanislaus State catalog).”

APA Style: Unfortunately, I have to enforce the use of APA style, this is important to generate clean and tidy documentation while you follow scientific formatting. You have to follow the APA style 7th edition, I would recommend to buy the manual or just use this website, it has plenty of information about it, it also provides tools to generate references and citations:

Students with disabilities: If you are a student with a documented disability at Stan State, please see me immediately to discuss appropriate accommodations. You must email me your letter of accommodation from Stan State’s DRS department as soon as possible. For exam accommodations, you must email me your accommodation letter at least seven days (7) before a scheduled exam to receive your accommodation (see schedule for exam dates). Contact me via email if you wish to discuss your accommodation or if you are in the process of registering for DRS services. Note, that accommodations are not provided retroactively.

Student Resources

Here are some of the resources available to you here at Stan State. All these services are available to you, as a Stan State student, free of charge (except certain medical appointments and procedures). Please visit their web pages to learn more about the services they provide.

Basic Need Support: 209-667-3108. Resources are available to help with securing food and emergency finances.

Student Health Center: 209-667-3396. Medical care, health education, disease prevention, laboratory testing, physicals, women’s and reproductive health, flu shots, immunizations.

Disability Resource Services: 209-667-3159. Supports students and arranges accommodations for students with disabilities, including disabilities related to learning, vision, mobility, hearing, autism, or chronic or temporary health factors.

Psychological Counseling Services: 209-667-3381. Confidential individual personal counseling and group/wellness workshops to help students deal with stress, anxiety, depression, grief, relationships.

Diversity Resources: Workshops, student space, reading nook, complimentary coffee and tea, social justice library, conference room space.

Undocumented Student Services: 209-667-3519. Walk-in advising, workshops, legal services, DACA renewal, scholarships, peer support, family and community engagement.

Academic Success Center: 209-667-3700. Drop-in advising for general education, university requirements, undeclared majors, academic probation, and California Promise.

Learning Commons: 209-667-3642, Tutoring (walk-in and regular appointments), supplemental instruction, WPST, writing center.

Career and Professional Development: 209-667-3661. Career coaching, workshops, resume building, business attire.

Warrior Food Pantry: 209-667-3561. Non-perishable food items and toiletries, at no cost. Collect up to 10 items per week.

Student Affairs: 209-667-3177. General hub for all student academic and support services on campus.

Class Schedule

The following class schedule is always under construction, which might change every week. You will receive a notification if there are changes. If not, you will not be penalized because of any unannounced change.


You should always check Canvas, I might add additional readings such as scientific articles, press articles or videos.

Schedule Fall 2023
This schedule may change during the semester
Date Topic Assignment
08/21-08/25 Course introduction. Complete survey 1. Survey
08/28-09/01 Conducting a literature search. 2. Research Study Ideas
09/04-09/08 Complete basic research study idea assignment for approval. 3. Article Summary I
09/11-09/15 Review ethics, avoiding plagiarism Read Galvan Chapters 7, 13.
09/18-09/22 Peer grade avoiding plagiarism assignment IRB application Introduction Outline
09/25-09/29 Review article summary II and study proposal assignments References Section
10/02-10/06 Plan research study and work on study proposal Read Galvan Chapter 8 Article Summary II
10/09-10/13 Recruiting participants- access Sona Study Proposal
10/16-10/20 Review paper 1 assignment, Qualtrics, IRB application. PIRB Application
10/23-10/27 Review editing papers, ANOVA and regression Review Paper #1
10/30-11/03 Discussion section. TBD, Check Canvas
11/06-11/10 Data analysis in R and/or Jamovi
11/13-11/17 Data analysis in R and/or Jamovi
11/20-11/24 Data analysis in R and/or Jamovi
11/27-12/01 Data analysis in R and/or Jamovi
12/04-12/08 Group presentations Group Presentation Due to Canvas