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Research Methods in Psychology - 4th American Edition

(21 reviews)

Carrie Cuttler, Washington State University

Rajiv S. Jhangiani, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Dana C. Leighton, Texas A&M University, Texarkana

Pub Date: 2019

Publisher: Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Language: English

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Reviewed by Robert Michael, Assistant Professor, University of Louisiana at Lafayette on 10/14/19

Successfully spans the gamut of topics expected in a Research Methods textbook. Some topics are covered in-depth, while others are addressed only at a surface level. Instructors may therefore need to carefully arrange class material for topics in... read more


Reviewed by Matthew DeCarlo, Assistant Professor, Radford University on 6/26/19

The authors do a great job of simplifying the concepts of research methods and presenting them in a way that is understandable. There is a tradeoff between brevity and depth here. Faculty who adopt this textbook may need to spend more time in... read more


Reviewed by Christopher Garris, Associate Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 5/24/19

Most content areas in this textbook were covered appropriately extensively. Notably, this textbook included some content that is commonly missing in other textbooks (e.g. presenting your research). There were some areas where more elaboration... read more


Reviewed by Chris Koch, Professor of Psychology, George Fox University on 3/27/18

All appropriate areas and topics are covered in the text. In that sense, this book is equivalent to other top texts dealing with research methods in psychology. The appeal of this book is the brevity and clarity. Therefore, some may find that,... read more


Reviewed by Michel Heijnen, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Wilmington on 3/27/18

The book covers all areas related to research methods, not only for the field of psychology, but also to other related fields like exercise science. Topics include ethics, developing a research questions, experimental designs, non-experimental... read more


Reviewed by Eric Lindsey, Professor, Penn State University Berks Campus on 2/1/18

The content of the Research Methods in Psychology textbook was very thorough and covered what I would consider to be the important concepts and issues pertaining to research methods. I would judge that the textbook has a comparable coverage of... read more


Reviewed by zehra peynircioglu, Professor, American University on 2/1/18

Short and sweet in most areas. Covers the basic concepts, not very comprehensively but definitely adequately so for a general beginning-level research methods course. For instance, I would liked to have seen a "separate" chapter on correlational... read more


Reviewed by Elizabeth Do, Instructor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 2/1/18

Although this textbook does provide good information regarding introductory concepts necessary for the understanding of correlational designs, and is presented in a logical order. It does not, however, cover qualitative methodologies, or research... read more


Reviewed by Kevin White, Assistant Professor, East Carolina University on 2/1/18

This book covers all relevant topics for an introduction to research methods course in the social sciences, including measurement, sampling, basic research design, and ethics. The chapters were long enough to be somewhat comprehensive, but short... read more


Reviewed by George Woodbury, Graduate Student, Miami University, Ohio on 6/20/17

This text covers the typical areas for an undergraduate psychology course in research design. There is no table of contents included with the downloadable version, although there is a table of contents on the website (which excludes sub-sections... read more


Reviewed by Angela Curl, Assistant Professor, Miami University (Ohio) on 6/20/17

"Research Methods in Psychology" covers most research method topics comprehensively. The author does an excellent job explaining main concepts. The chapter on causation is very detailed and well-written as well as the chapter on research ethics.... read more


Reviewed by Shannon Layman, Lecturer, University of Texas at Arlington on 4/11/17

The sections in this textbook are overall more brief than in previous Methods texts that I have used. Sometimes this brevity is helpful in terms of getting to the point of the text and moving on. In other cases, some topics could use a bit more... read more


Reviewed by Meghan Babcock, Instructor, University of Texas at Arlington on 4/11/17

This text includes all important areas that are featured in other Research Methods textbooks and are presented in a logical order. The text includes great examples and provides the references which can be assigned as supplemental readings. In... read more


Reviewed by Pramit Nadpara, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 4/11/17

The text book provides good information in certain areas, while not comprehensive information in other areas. The text provides practical information, especially the section on survey development was good. Additional information on sampling... read more


Reviewed by Sarah Allred, Associate Professor, Rutgers University, Camden on 2/8/17

Mixed. For some topics, there is more (and more practical) information than in most textbooks. I appreciated the very practical advice to students about how to plot data (in statistics chapters). Similarly, there is practical advice about how... read more


Reviewed by Abbey Dvorak, Assistant Professor, University of Kansas on 8/21/16

The text includes basic, essential information needed for students in an introductory research methods course. In addition, the text includes three chapters (i.e., research ethics, theory, and APA style) that are typically absent from or... read more


Reviewed by Joel Malin, Assistant Professor, Miami University on 8/21/16

This textbook covers all or nearly all of what I believe are important topics to provide an introduction to research methods in psychology. One minor issue is that the pdf version, which I reviewed, does not include an index or a glossary. As... read more


Reviewed by Alyssa Gibbons, Instructor, Colorado State University on 1/7/16

This text covers everything I would consider essential for a first course in research methods, including some areas that are not consistently found in introductory texts (e.g., qualitative research, criticisms of null hypothesis significance... read more


Reviewed by Karen Pikula, Psychology Instructor PhD, Central Lakes College on 1/7/16

The text covers all the areas and ideas of the subject of research methods in psychology for the learner that is just entering the field. The authors cover all of the content of an introductory research methods textbook and use exemplary examples... read more


Reviewed by Moin Syed, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota on 6/10/15

The text is thorough in terms of covering introductory concepts that are central to experimental and correlational/association designs. I find the general exclusion of qualitative and mixed methods designs hard to defend (despite some researchers’... read more


Reviewed by Rajiv Jhangiani, Instructor, Capilano University on 10/9/13

The text is well organized and written, integrates excellent pedagogical features, and covers all of the traditional areas of the topic admirably. The final two chapters provide a good bridge between the research methods course and the... read more


Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: The Science of Psychology
  • Chapter 2: Overview of the Scientific Method
  • Chapter 3: Research Ethics
  • Chapter 4: Psychological Measurement
  • Chapter 5: Experimental Research
  • Chapter 6: Nonexperimental Research
  • Chapter 7: Survey Research
  • Chapter 8: Quasi-Experimental Research
  • Chapter 9: Factorial Designs
  • Chapter 10: Single-Subject Research
  • Chapter 11: Presenting Your Research
  • Chapter 12: Descriptive Statistics
  • Chapter 13: Inferential Statistics

About the Book

This fourth edition (published in 2019) was co-authored by Rajiv S. Jhangiani (Kwantlen Polytechnic University), Carrie Cuttler (Washington State University), and Dana C. Leighton (Texas A&M University—Texarkana) and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Revisions throughout the current edition include changing the chapter and section numbering system to better accommodate adaptions that remove or reorder chapters; continued reversion from the Canadian edition; general grammatical edits; replacement of “he/she” to “they” and “his/her” to “their”; removal or update of dead links; embedded videos that were not embedded; moved key takeaways and exercises from the end of each chapter section to the end of each chapter; a new cover design. In addition, the following revisions were made to specific chapters:

  • Chapter 1:
    • Updated list of empirically supported therapies.
  • Chapter 2:
    • Added description of follow-up research by Drews, Pasupathi, and Strayer (2004) demonstrating that cell phone conversations while driving carry a greater risk than conversations with a passenger
    • Added the term meta-analysis along with a definition of this term
    • Replaced terms men and women with males and females
    • Updated the description of the number of records returned with different search terms to a broader description of the relative number of records (that will not change as more articles are added to PsychINFO)
    • Replaced the term “operationally define” variables with a more general statement about measuring variables since the term operational definition is not formally defined until later in the text
    • Added a citation for Zajonc’s (1965) research
    • Added a brief description of factors (i.e., small sample size, stringent alpha level) that increase the likelihood of a Type II error.
  • Chapter 3:
    • Removed titles of tables in references to tables
    • Added statement that many people, including children, have died as a result of people avoiding the MMR vaccine
    • Added a statement about self-plagiarizing being unethical and provided an example of submitting the same assignment in multiple classes
    • Explained the respect for persons principle
    • Revised the levels of IRB review to match terminology used in federal regulations
    • Footnotes for references were made actual footnotes in Pressbooks
  • Chapter 4:
    • Removed potentially offensive or stigmatizing examples
    • Clarified definition of levels of measurement
    • Added citations for the various scales described
    • Added further description of why IQ is measured on an interval scale
    • Added descriptions of the indicators of central tendency that are appropriate to compute and report for each of the scales of measure (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio)
    • Added a paragraph on operationally defining the construct that reviews the process of transferring a conceptual definition to something that can be directly observed and measured
    • Added brief description of PsycTESTS and link to these tests
    • Removed the statement that family and friends can serve as good pilot subjects
  • Chapter 5:
    • Clarified the distinction between independent and dependent variables
    • Moved up the discussion of a control condition
    • Briefly discussed research ethics within the description of the study by Guéguen & de Gail (2003)
    • More clearly defined a power analysis and emphasized the importance of conducting one
    • Referenced confounds within the discussion of internal validity
    • Noted that within-subjects experiments require fewer participants
    • Removed duplicate reference
    • Added citations
    • Updated language
  • Chapter 6:
    • Clarified when non-experimental approaches are appropriate
    • Added information about Milgram’s non-experimental study of obedience to authority
    • Added a discussion of cross-sectional, longitudinal, and cross-sequential studies
    • Revised organization of non-experimental approaches
    • Removed description of experimenter-selected independent variable
    • Specified types of variables that may be measured in correlational research
    • Added an example of a correlational study that uses categorical variables
    • Added a factor analysis table
    • Listed more examples of nonstatistical data analysis techniques
    • Added a table to summarize some differences between quantitative and qualitative research
    • Described some group dynamics and personality characteristics that might influence participation in focus groups
    • Discussed Festinger’s research on cognitive dissonance that used disguised participant observation
    • Described the Hawthorne effect
    • Added an example of a study that used structured observation within a laboratory environment
  • Chapter 7:
    • Clarified language concerning data collection methods vs. research designs
    • Mentioned randomizing the order of presentation of questions as another way of reducing response order effects
    • Explained reverse coding
    • Described additional types of non-probability sampling
    • Reiterated the importance of conducting a power analysis
    • Added common online data collection sites
  • Chapter 8:
    • Discussed how the inclusion of a control group rules out threats to internal validity within a one-group design study
  • Chapter 9:
    • Clarified discussion of non-experimental factorial designs.
  • Chapter 10: No substantive changes
  • Chapter 11:
    • Added regional psychology association conferences to list of conferences
    • Condensed and clarified discussion of final manuscripts
    • Updated discussion of open sharing of results to acknowledge some journals that require open data
    • Added explanation of person-first language
  • Chapter 12:
    • Corrected erroneous APA style recommendations and added references to specific Publication Manual sections
    • Standardized the use of the terms “figure” and “chart” to better correspond with APA style
    • Minor changes to discussion of poster formatting
    • Moved list of conferences to end of discussion to not break up the material
  • Chapter 13:
    • Defined p-hacking and clarified discussion of p-hacking
    • Made definition of p-value more technically correct

Resources for instructors are included.

About the Contributors


Dr. Carrie Cuttler received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. She has been teaching research methods and statistics for over a decade. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University, where she primarily studies the acute and chronic effects of cannabis on cognition, mental health, and physical health. Dr. Cuttler was also an OER Research Fellow with the Center for Open Education and she conducts research on open educational resources. She has over 50 publications including the following two published books: A Student Guide for SPSS (1st and 2nd edition) and Research Methods in Psychology: Student Lab Guide. Finally, she edited another OER entitled Essentials of Abnormal Psychology. In her spare time, she likes to travel, hike, bike, run, and watch movies with her husband and son. You can find her online at @carriecuttler or

Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani is the Associate Vice Provost, Open Education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia. He is an internationally known advocate for open education whose research and practice focuses on open educational resources, student-centered pedagogies, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Rajiv is a co-founder of the Open Pedagogy Notebook, an Ambassador for the Center for Open Science, and serves on the BC Open Education Advisory Committee. He formerly served as an Open Education Advisor and Senior Open Education Research & Advocacy Fellow with BCcampus, an OER Research Fellow with the Open Education Group, a Faculty Workshop Facilitator with the Open Textbook Network, and a Faculty Fellow with the BC Open Textbook Project. A co-author of three open textbooks in Psychology, his most recent book is Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science (2017). You can find him online at @thatpsychprof or

Dr. Dana C. Leighton is Assistant Professor of Psychology in the College of Arts, Science, and Education at Texas A&M University—Texarkana. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, and has 15 years experience teaching across the psychology curriculum at community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and research universities. Dr. Leighton’s social psychology research lab studies intergroup relations, and routinely includes undergraduate students as researchers. He is also Chair of the university’s Institutional Review Board. Recently he has been researching and writing about the use of open science research practices by undergraduate researchers to increase diversity, justice, and sustainability in psychological science. He has published on his teaching methods in eBooks from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, presented his methods at regional and national conferences, and received grants to develop new teaching methods. His teaching interests are in undergraduate research, writing skills, and online student engagement. For more about Dr. Leighton see and