Psychology (PSYC) 304

Research Methods in Psychology (Revision 4)

PSYC 304 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science. Course can also be used to fulfill Science area of study (credential students only).

Prerequisite: It is recommended that students have received credit for Athabasca University's PSYC 289 and PSYC 290 (or an equivalent) before taking this course. A course in research methods is required for all undergraduate psychology majors in Canadian universities. To ensure transferability of credits, the content of Psychology 304 is very similar to that of other university courses in research methods in psychology.

Precluded Course: Credit cannot be granted for Psychology 304 if credit has already been granted for Athabasca University’s Psychology 404 or Social Science 366. Considerable overlap exists between this course and Social Science 366: Research Methods in the Social Sciences. The emphasis of Psychology 304, however, is on discussing research methods in the context of psychology. Program students are advised to take MATH 215 concurrently with, before, or soon after taking this course.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Psychology home page

PSYC 304 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Psychology 304: Research Methods in Psychology is to introduce you to the principles of the scientific method and the research designs and techniques used in psychology. The course should help you become a more critical research consumer, increase the knowledge of those of you working in research-related occupations, and provide you with the background necessary for further undergraduate and graduate studies in psychology.


  • Unit 1: Introduction: Psychology and Science
  • Unit 2: Principles of the Scientific Method: Theory and Measurement
  • Unit 3: Principles of the Scientific Method: Validity and Control
  • Unit 4: Ethical Issues in Psychological Research
  • Unit 5: Non-Experimental Research: Observational, Archival, and Case-Study Research
  • Unit 6: Non-Experimental Research: Survey Research
  • Unit 7: Single-Subject Experimental Research
  • Unit 8: Group Experimental Research: Single-Factor Designs
  • Unit 9: Group Experimental Research: Factorial Designs
  • Unit 10: Quasi Experimentation
  • Unit 11: Reporting Research Results
  • Unit 12: Conclusions: Bias and Limitations of Experimental Psychology (Epilogue)


To receive credit for PSYC 304, you must pass the final exam and achieve an overall course grade of D (50 percent) or better. If you receive less than D (50 percent) on your exam, your exam mark will become your overall course grade. The course assignments and their weightings are as follows:

Assignments Weight
Quizzes (three quizzes) 15%
Assignment 1 8%
Assignment 2 7%
Assignment 3 10%
Assignment 4 10%
Assignment 5 15%
Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

White, T. L. & McBurney, D. H. (2013). Research methods (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

The course is delivered entirely online using a Student Manual, Course Information, Assignment Manual, and Study Guide.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PSYC 304 challenge registration, you must score at least 50 percent on the exam and obtain a composite mark of at least D (50 percent) to pass. If you fail the exam, your exam mark will become the final grade for the challenge.

Activity Weighting
Questionnaire items development 20%
Media report critique 15%
Research Report 25%
Exam 40%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, September 11, 2014.

View previous syllabus