Skip to main content Skip to footer content

Behavioral Science - Introduction to Research

Kingsborough Community College
The City University of New York

BEH 70: Behavioral Science - Introduction to Research - 4 credits, 6 hours

Course Coordinators: Professor Joseph Verdino, Catherine Ma

Course Overview:
This course is designed to provide students with the necessary tools for the design and implementation of original research for the INTEL National Science Talent Search competition. Topics include theoretical issues in scientific research, research techniques, design and methodology, data analysis, and proper formatting of scientific reports. The specifics of the course content evolve in response to issues that emerge as students develop their projects. Thus, the scheduling of topics listed in this syllabus is subject to change as the semester progresses.

This course affords talented and hard-working High school students (you!) the opportunity to participate in scientific research and scholarship. As part of a college community, you will further your excellence in performance and achievement while developing skills as a researcher and scientist.

Students who participate to their fullest abilities will accomplish the following:

  • Develop the necessary tools for the design and implementation of original research for the INTEL National Science Talent Search competition.
  • Learn about theoretical issues in scientific research
    • Research techniques
    • Research Design and methodology
    • Data analysis
    • Correct formatting of scientific reports
  • Choose and explore a topic of interest related to psychology or sociology.
  • Find and study a variety of journal articles related to topics of interest.
  • Learn to write a research study, including:
    • Abstract
    • Introduction, ending with problem statement and hypothetical questions
    • Review of Literature
    • Methodology
    • Result (analysis of results)
    • Discussion/Conclusions
    • Reference section

Required Texts:

Russell K. Schutt, Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 1996)

Arthur Aron & Elaine K. Aron, Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences: A Brief Course. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997).

Course Assignments and Evaluation: Students will be evaluated primarily on the basis of their ability to develop a workable research project over the course of the semester. There will be short written assignments throughout the term, which are specified in the following pages. These written assignments, taken together, form the core of the student's research proposal that will be submitted to the college's Institutional Review Board for approval.

The course assignments and their grading weights are summarized as follows:

Class Performance and Assignments
a) Attendance & Class participation 20%
b) Homework assignments 20%
c) Research proposal 20%
d) Completed IRB w/Intrument 20%
e) Literature review & analysis 20%

All written assignments must be typed and submitted in duplicate. E-mailed documents must be either in Microsoft Word format or saved in Rich Text Format (the latter is an option under the "File Type" drop down menu in most word processing programs).

Students must do the reading in advance of the class meeting!

Important: Bring in a flash drive with you to class to save work done in computer lab.


Course Schedule

*HW is due via e mail every Tuesday before class that week on Thursday!

  • 2/28 - Class - Prepare a statement of what you intend to study based on your research and discussions with the Professors during the interviews. This statement should be objective and clear cut. This will be the future research questions.
    • Welcoming remarks & introductions
    • Overview of the course
    • ID pictures
    • What is Scientific Research? Processes of social research
    • Why social Science?
    • Lab: Introduction
  • By 3/4 - HW - Statement is due and objective title of the study (via e mail as they are all)
  • 3/6 - Class - Research statement will be reviewed in detail individually. Literature review will begin in lab when we will look for articles.
    • Lab: Library Orientation - Library and Web Resources
    • Lecture: Survey's and types of experiments ( reliability and validity), Classic experiments
  • By 3/11 - Find and list three journal articles related to your topic.
    • So far you WILL have your objective topic with title, three articles that relate that will help you and an understanding of the abstract.
  • 3/20 - Class
    • Lecture - Conceptualizations & Causation. Defining and operationalizing variables ( IV, DV, confounding variables) & good research questions. So far all of this is needed for the IRB packet.
    • Lab - We will look for survey's you will use. If you are making up a survey, we will define the rules needed for reliability and validity.
  • 3/27 - HW - e mail the survey you will use. Analyze the three articles you found (questions to be answered are below), and fine (list) three more.
    *Remeber the analysis of articles will include answering the questions below about each article.
  • 4/3 - Class - Understanding of the instruments chosen.
    • Lecture - The survey method, hypotheses testing, interobserver agreement
    • Lab - Research questions will be written along with hypotheses, look for more articles.
  • By 4/8 - HW - Present rough draft of Research questions and hypotheses. Analyze the last three articles for the Literature review and find (list three more).
  • 4/10 - Class - Research questions and hypotheses will be individually reviewed with instructors.
    • Lecture: Types of research studies
    • Lab - We will begin working on outline (rough draft) of the full IRB packet.
  • 4/12 - Class
    • Lecture: Sampling and populations
    • Lab: SPSS tutorial
  • By 4/15 - HW - List variables in study. Analyze the three last articles in your study and find (list) the three more.
  • 4/17 - NO CLASSES
  • 4/17 - HW - Outline/rough draft of Abstract. The abstract refers to the methods to be used (you should have an idea of this from the articles you read & summarized) ** If you are constructing your own survey a rough draft is due.
  • 4/19 - Abstracts/survey's will be reviewed in class individually with the instructors. IRB packets will begin to be put together.
    • Lecture: Ethics and IRB
    • Lab: On line IRB course will be taken. Refine IRB packets.
  • 4/24 - HW - Work on Literature review (submit updated version). Analyze the final articles you have found. Remove the most irrelevant and keep looking.
  • 4/26 - Class
    • Lab - IRB packets will be completed, perfected and reviewed!!!! We will plan for Mr. Biancoviso to help us on this day. On May 9th IRB packets are DUE!!
  • 5/1 - HW - Instruments/questionnaires due to be finalized.
    • Instruments related to statistics
    • Lab - Correlation & Prediction
  • 5/8 - HW - Full IRB final draft packets
  • 5/10 - Class - Final literature review corrections
  • 5/15 - HW - Draft of final Literature review
  • 5/17 - Class
    • Data analysis
    • Lab - Literature review, data analysis of classic articles
    • Lab - Review final outline of paper including:
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Literature Review
      • Method
      • Survey
    • Lecture - Techniques for survey administration
  • In the first semester students will have a rough draft of the abstract, Introduction, Literature review, Introduction and Methodology. The research questions and hypotheses will be clearly formed. The questionnaires/instruments used will be chosen.

  • All steps in the student's progress are carefully and systematically monitored to assure the students engage in each phase of the research and have met all goals and deadlines.

    Answer these questions for each of your ten articles:

  • What are the IV's?
  • What are the DV's?
  • What was the research questions?
  • What was the hypothesis?
  • Did the results support the hypothesis?
  • Complete reference for the Reference section