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Conducting Research in Psychology

Conducting Research in Psychology
Measuring the Weight of Smoke

Fifth Edition
Additional resources:

October 2018 | 624 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Conducting Research in Psychology: Measuring the Weight of Smoke provides students an engaging introduction to psychological research by employing humor, stories, and hands-on activities. Through its methodology exercises, learners are encouraged to use their intuition to understand research methods and apply basic research principles to novel problems. Authors Brett W. Pelham and Hart Blanton integrate cutting-edge topics, including implicit biases, measurement controversies, online data collection, and new tools for determining the replicability of a set of research findings. The Fifth Edition broadens its coverage of methodologies to reflect the types of research now conducted by psychologists. Two new chapters accommodate the needs of instructors who incorporate student research projects into their courses.

About the Authors
CHAPTER 1. How Do We Know?
Introduction: What This Text Is About  
A Few Quick Tips for Using This Text  
Preamble for Chapter 1  
A Brief History of Human Knowledge  
The Four Canons of Science  
Four Ways of Knowing About the World  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 2. How Do We Find Out? The Logic, Art, and Ethics of Scientific Discovery
The Logic of Scientific Discovery  
The Art of Scientific Discovery  
The Ethics of Scientific Discovery  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 3. In a Nutshell: An Overview of Psychological Research Methods
A Tale of Two Validities  
Three Requirements for Establishing Causality  
Experiments: Fulfilling Mill’s Requirements  
Passive Observational (Nonexperimental) Research Methods  
Trade-Offs Between Internal and External Validity  
GAGES: The “Big Five” of Worrisome Confounds  
External Validity and the OOPS! Heuristic  
Oops! He Did It Again: Maximizing External Validity in the Lab  
Gauging GAGES in Archival Studies of Social Cognition  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 4. Making It Happen: A Hands-On Guide to a First Research Project
Everybody Dance Now  
Step 1: Hypothesis Generation  
Step 2: Operationalization (Design)  
Step 3: Permission  
Step 4: Execution (Data Collection)  
Step 5: Calculation (Data Analysis)  
Step 6: Communication  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 5. Moving From Fact to Truth: Validity, Reliability, and Measurement
Three Strange Stories  
Reliability, Validity, and the “More Is Better” Rule  
Measurement Scales  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 6. Moving From Notions to Numbers: Psychological Measurement
Converting Notions to Numbers: The Two Major Challenges  
The Response Translation Phase  
Putting It All Together: The EGWA Scale  
From Writing Questions to Creating Scales  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 7. How Do We Misinterpret? Common Threats to Validity
One Strange and Lucrative Story  
People Are Different  
People Change  
The Process of Studying People Changes People  
Moving From Three Threats to Two: Confounds and Artifacts  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 8. Nonexperimental Research Designs
Describing the World of a Single Participant: Case Studies  
Describing the State of the World at Large: Single-Variable Research  
Describing Associations: Multiple-Variable Research  
Archival Research  
Observational Research  
Confounds Can Be Measured, Too!  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 9. Experience Carefully Planned: Experimental Research Designs
A Wonderful Method  
A Brief History of True Experiments  
Strengths of True Experiments  
Are True Experiments Realistic?  
Is There a Recipe for Experimental Realism?  
Trade-Offs Between Internal and External Validity  
The “How-Tos” of Laboratory Studies  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 10. Experience Carefully Exploited: Quasi-Experimental Research Designs
One Very Old Story  
Why Quasi-Experiments?  
Kinds of Quasi-Experiments  
Patched-Up Designs  
When True Experiments and Quasi-Experiments Collide  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 11. Choosing the Right Research Design
One Obscure Movie  
One-Way Designs  
Factorial Designs  
Within-Subjects Designs  
Mixed-Model Designs  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 12. A Brief Course in Statistics
How Numbers and Language Revolutionized Human History  
Descriptive Statistics  
Inferential Statistics  
Things That Go Bump in the Light: Factors That Influence the Results of Significance Tests  
The Changing State of the Art: Alternate Perspectives on Statistical Hypothesis Testing  
Study Questions  
CHAPTER 13. Telling the World About It
The Hourglass Approach to Empirical Research Papers  
Some Rules to Writing Research Papers  
How to Give a Good Talk in Psychology (by Daniel T. Gilbert)  
Have a Plan  
Tell the Plan  
Start at the Beginning  
Be Painfully Clear  
Talk About One Interesting Thing  
Take Charge of the Interaction  
End at the End  
Study Questions  
Appendix 1: Hands-On Activities
Hands-On Activity 1: Galileo’s Dice  
Hands-On Activity 2: Regression Toward the Mean  
Hands-On Activity 3: A Double-Blind Taste Test With Popular Colas  
Hands-On Activity 4: The Stroop Interference Effect  
Appendix 2: Methodology Exercises
Methodology Exercise 1: Partial Correlation  
Methodology Exercise 2: Random Assignment  
Methodology Exercise 3: Interactions  
Methodology Exercise 4: Repeated Measures Designs  
Appendix 3: Putting Your Knowledge to Work: 25 Methodology Problems
1. In Search of a Delicious, Low-Fat TV Show  
2. Let’s Get Supernatural  
3. Fly Away Home  
4. Impressive Pickup Lines  
5. Clever Who?  
6. Life Sucks and So You Die  
7. On the Drawbacks of Liking Yourself  
8. The Early Bird Gets the Win?  
9. Testosterone Makes Better Dive-Bombers  
10. Working Your Fingers to the Dean’s List  
11. To Thine Own Selves Be True  
12. A Rosy Mood by Any Other Name?  
13. EPSCOR: Do Fractions Have Denominators?  
14. Sampling Student Opinion  
15. Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?  
16. He May Be Small but He’s Slow  
17. Everyone’s a Winner  
18. Can a Couple of Beers Really Go Straight to Your Belly?  
19. What’s in a Name?  
20. Are You Threatening Me?  
21.Genes, Schmenes  
22. Do Car Thieves Really Love Old Hondas?  
23. An Unbiased Assessment?  
24. Mary, Mary, Quite the Centenarian?  
25. Register on Time (The 11:59 Initiative)  
Appendix 4: An Example of an APA-Style Research Paper: Ethnicity and the Risk of Unwarranted Cesarean Birth in the United States
Name Index
Subject Index


Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes author-created, mobile-friendly web quizzes that allow students to independently assess their progress in learning course material.

Instructor Resource Site

The password-protected Instructor Resource Site offers an author-created Instructor’s Manual that includes the following for each chapter in the book.

  • An introductory Preface with teaching tips from the authors
  • Multiple choice test questions with pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Chapter summaries to help prepare for lectures and class discussions
  • Suggested answers to Study Questions that appear at the end of each chapter in the textbook
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses
  • Appendices:
    • Answers to the Hands-On Activities from Appendix 1 of the textbook
    • Answers to Methodology Exercises in Appendix 2 of the textbook
    • Answers to Methodology Problems in Appendix 3 of the textbook

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

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ISBN: 9781544333342