Main Lab

Theories
   Describing aspects of
    a good theory.

Phases of research
  Steps for conducting a
    research study.

Research methods
  Different types of 
   research methods.

Sources for Info
  Primary & Secondary
    sources of research.

Journal Articles
  Understanding a
    typical journal article.

On-line Searches
  How to use PsycInfo 
    and other search
    engines.  Includes info
    on full text articles.

APA Format
   Learn to write in APA 
      format.

Activities & Quizzes
   A variety of activities
    related to research. 
   To be used in classes.
 

Activity:  Group Presentation Project.

    This activity is designed for students in FSU's Psyc 210 Child Development class but can be adapted to fit any class at any university.

    The purpose of this activity is to utilize a step-by-step procedure leading to a presentation on a topic in psychology by several students.  The step-by-step approach breaks the task down into easier steps, spread across the semester, to help students learn about a particular topic more thoroughly than researching a topic the last 2 weeks of class.

   The following tutorials may be reviewed before starting this assignment:
        Phases of research
        Sources for Information
        Journal Articles
       and maybe:  On-line Searches

Step 1:  Assignment to groups.
    As a student, you will be assigned to a particular group based on topics in psychology. This assignment may be done by your professor or you may choose your own group.  (Students in Psyc 210 will be assigned to one of 8 group topics related to child development based on their interest in the topic.)

Step 2:  Group article.
    After you know your group topic, everyone in the group will read the same "starting journal article".  This article will either be provided for you (as is the case for Psyc 210) or you will have to find it for yourself.  At this step, each member of the group will read the same journal article on the group topic as an introduction to the topic.  By everyone reading the same first article, all members will be at the same starting point.

Step 3:  Outline the group article.
    After reading the starting journal article in step 2, each member of the group should outline that article using the outline below.  Students may or may not discuss the article together at this point - consult your professor (Psyc 210 students are allowed to consult for this step but do not have to.)  However, each student needs to complete their own outline of this first article.
 
 
Outline #1:

   I.  Research Question(s) / Purpose of the article
  II.  Hypothesis
 III.  Variables
       A.  Independent Variable
       B.  Dependent Variable
  IV.  Methodology
       A.  Who participated?
       B.  What did they do?
   V.  Major Findings

   Below is a brief explanation of each of these sections.  If you need more assistance, please review this activity.

   I.  Research Question(s) / Purpose of the article
           Every article has a purpose or a main research question to guide it.  Sometimes this is formally stated while other times the reader must glean this information.  You can find this information in the article's Introduction and, sometimes, the abstract. 

  II.  Hypothesis
            You can usually find the hypothesis (or hypotheses) in the introduction and, sometimes, the abstract.  Sometimes the hypothesis is formally stated; other times it is phrased as "We believe such and such will happen" or "We think this will happen".

  III.  Variables
            The answers to finding both the independent and dependent variables is usually found in the introduction and method sections (and sometimes the abstract).  You can also figure out these variables from the hypothesis.  It is usually best to first figure out the main variables or constructs of the study, and then choose which one is the IV and which one is the DV.  Remember:  The IV influences the DV.  (For more help, please review tutorials listed at the top of this page.)

   IV.  Method
           For this part of the outline, you want to read through the Method section to see who participated in the study and what did they have to do.  Under the who participated section, you'll want to briefly state who did the study.  Children?  Ages?  Gender?  Parents?  etc.  Under part (B) you want to describe what the participants were instructed to do.

   V.  Major Findings
         Did the results of the experiment support their hypothesis?  What were the major findings of the article?  What happened?  The research article is a story of sorts.  It starts by making a prediction and ends with telling us if they were right.  Usually, if it is a well written article, this answer is at the beginning of the Discussion section.  But you may have to look around the Discussion section for it.

Step 4:  Independent Article.
    For this step, each student in the group will read a second journal article related to the topic.  This article must be different from the other group member's second article and, of course, different from the first group article.  Make sure you are not reading the same article as another student in your group.  (Psyc 210 students:  several second articles have already been chosen for you and will be giving to you in class later in the semester.)

Step 5:  Outline the independent article.
    After reading the second independent article related to the group topic, outline it using the format below.  Group members should not consult with each other at this point since each one is doing a different article.  The only difference between the first outline and the second outline is part VI.
 
 
Outline #2:

   I.  Research Question(s) / Purpose of the article
  II.  Hypothesis
 III.  Variables
       A.  Independent Variable
       B.  Dependent Variable
  IV.  Methodology
       A.  Who participated?
       B.  What did they do?
   V.  Major Findings
  VI.  Relation to first article
       A.  Discuss how the two articles relate to each other 
                     (e.g., modifies or contradicts the findings, discusses a different aspect, etc.)
       B.  Discuss how the two articles relate to the overall topic for your group

Step 6:  Group meeting.
    It is now time to meet as a group to discuss the articles everyone has read.  (For Psy210, this will take place during class time as listed on your syllabus.)  When you meet, bring in both outlines.  Discuss both articles you have read and then have a discussion about the topic as a whole, integrating everyone's articles.  Then, discuss how you want to present the information to fellow classmates.

Step 7:  Group Presentation.
    As a group, present your findings to your fellow classmates.  Consult your professor for more information.