07103 - Methodology of Psychological Research

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student a) has sufficient knowledge of the methodology and scientific research procedures; b) is able to project and realize a scientific research; c) knows and can critically use the psychological measure instruments.

Course contents

The course will take place during the second semester (from February to May) at the Cesena Campus of the School of Psychology and Education (address: piazza A. Moro, 90).

The contents will be:

1. Scientific methods and False Hypothesis Significance Testing

  • Science: between demonstrative and descriptive concept
  • The Popper’s critical rationalism

2. Measure in Psychology

  • From the constructs to the variables
  • Quantitative and qualitative measures
  • Scales of measurement

3. Measure evaluation

  • Validity of psychological measure
  • Reliability of psychological measure

4. Experimental, non experimental and quasi-experimental research design

  • Correlational relationship and a causal relationship
  • Experimental methods and descriptive methods

5. Research methods

  • Hypothesis of research
  • Experimental design
  • Data collection
  • Statistical analysis and results interpretation
  • Communication of results

6. Ethic in research

  • Ethic code and research implications

7. Sampling methods

  • Probability and nonprobability sampling
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Systematic sampling

8. Validity in research

  • Internal validity
  • External validity
  • Content validity
  • Construct validity
  • Statistical validity
  • Ecological validity

7. How to control the bias in psychological research

  • Bias in psychological research
  • Bias control strategies

8. Research designs

  • Independent sample design
  • Repeated measure design
  • Factorial design

9. Advanced statistical techniques

  • Factorial Analysis
  • Meta-analysis
  • Discriminant Analysis and ROC curve


Howitt D. Cramer D. (2016) Research Methods in Psychology, 5/E. Pearson Education INc.

Online materials that are available in the webpages iol.unibo.it

(Optional) Howitt D and Cramer D (2014) Introduction to Statistics in Psychology Pearson Education INc.


Teaching methods

Frontal lectures.

Assessment methods

The test exam is aimed to verify the achievement of the following learning objectives:

-Knowledge of the methodologies and the procedures of scientific research;

- Knowledge of the concepts of validity and reliability of measure and of research;

-The ability to design and to implement a scientific research;

-Critical knowledge and ability to use the psychological measured instruments.

The exam consists of an oral discussion (approximately 4/6 questions) that focuses on the verification of the acquisition of the course objectives. The exam is passed if the score acquired is at least 18 points.

During the oral exam, the acquisition of the course objectives and the contents learned will be verified. The final grade will be based on the following criteria: 1)completeness of responses; 2)ability of critical analysis on the contents; 3) ability to establish connections among the theoretical concepts 4) ability to apply theoretical concept to designing an experiment; 5) clarity of presentation and use of adequate terminology ; 6) the degree of involvement and active participation during classes. The maximum rating (30 cum laude) can be awarded in presence of a satisfactory evaluation of all the previous points and based on the subsequent criteria:

Evaluation criteria:

  • 30 points: complete answer and critical analysis on the contents
  • 26-29 points: correct answer, with incomplete or imprecise information. Moreover the student is not be able to critically analyze the different contents.
  • 21-25 points: sufficient answer, with significant contents missing, inaccuracies or incorrect
  • 18-20 points: incorrect or markedly incomplete answer
  • points below 18: missing or markedly inconsistent answer


All the topics of the course must be examined and all of them have the same weight.

During the exam it is forbidden to use books, notes and electronic devices.

During the exam, aids and supports are allowed for students with Specific Learning Disorder certification and for students with disabilities.

The student is required to complete the online registration within the terms in order to be admitted to the exam. Students who are unable to enroll within the due date must inform the secretarial office promptly. The teacher will consider the request and decide about the admission.

Teaching tools

Frontal lectures are supported by materials available online on the IT platform VIRTUALE: scientific articles and materials provided by the teacher.

Office hours

See the website of Sara Giovagnoli