Psychology 401

Syllabus for Psychology 401: Dr. John A. Johnson
Advanced Research Methods in Psychology Office 188 Smeal
Fall Semester, 1998 Hours MWF 10-10:50
Tuesday, 4:30-5:00 and by appointment Email:


Required Readings:

Required readings for the course are listed below in the order in which they are covered. These readings are available from the instructor. Shortened titles for each reading are used when referring to reading assignments in the course outline at the end of this syllabus.

     Johnson, J. A. (1997). Units of analysis for the description and explanation of personality. In R. Hogan, J. Johnson, & S. Briggs (Eds.) Handbook of personality psychology. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

     Cronbach, L. J. (1957). The two disciplines of scientific psychology. American Psychologist, 12, 671-684.

     Cronbach, L. J. (1975). Beyond the two disciplines of scientific psychology. American Psychologist, 30, 116-127.

     Block, J. (1978). The Q-sort method in personality assessment and psychiatric research. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. (Original work published 1961)

     Bowers, K. S. (1976). There's more to Iago than meets the eye: A clinical account of personal consistency. In D. Magnusson & N. S. Endler (Eds.), Personality at the crossroads: Current issues in interactional psychology (pp. xx-xx). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

     Hofstee, W. K. B. (1994). Who should own the definition of personality? European Journal of Personality, 8, 149-162.

     Megargee, E. I. (1972). California Psychological Inventory handbook. Chapter 2: Philosophical basis of the CPI (pp. 9-20.) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

     Gough, H. G. (1989, April). The new California Psychological Inventory: Implications for research and practice. In P. McReynolds (Chair), Recent advances in psychological assessment. Invited symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Sparks, Nevada.

     Gough, H. G., & Bradley, P. (1996). CPI manual (3rd ed.). Chapter 1: Introduction (pp. 1-16). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

     Meehl, P. E. (1945). The dynamics of "structured" personality tests. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1, 296-303.

     Johnson, J. A. (1997). Seven social performance scales for the California Psychological Inventory. Human Performance, 10, 1-30.

     Wolfe, R. N. (1993). A commonsense approach to personality measurement. In K. H. Craik, R. Hogan, & R. N. Wolfe (Eds.), Fifty years of personality psychology (pp. 269-290). New York: Plenum.

     Briggs, S. R., & Cheek, J. M. (1986). The role of factor analysis in the development and evaluation of personality scales. Journal of Personality, 54, 106-148.

      Goldberg, L. R. (in press). The comparative validity of adult personality inventories: A first empirical application of a consumer-testing framework. Chapter to appear in S. R. Briggs, J. M. Cheek, & E. M. Donahue (Eds.), Handbook of adult personality inventories.

     Hogan, R., & Nicholson, R. A. (1988). The meaning of personality test scores. American Psychologist, 43, 621-626. The following articles are responses to the Hogan and Nicholson article.

     Edwards, A. L. (1990). Construct validity and social desirability. American Psychologist, 45, 287-289.

     Walsh, J. A. (1990). Comment on social desirability. American Psychologist, 45, 289-290.

     Nicholson, R. A., & Hogan, R. (1990). The construct validity of social desirability. American Psychologist, 45, 290-292.

     Howard, G. S. (1990). On the construct validity of self-reports: What do the data say? American Psychologist, 45, 292-294.

     Kagan, J. (1990). Validity is local. American Psychologist, 45, 294-295.

Instructional Goals for Course:

The objectives of this course are as follows:
  1. To allow students to understand personality research as a world view, complementary to experimental research.
  2. To allow students to understand how to conduct, quantify, analyze, and interpret structured observations of personality.
  3. To allow students to understand how to quantify, analyze, and interpret self-reports of personality.
  4. To allow students an opportunity to learn about hypothesis testing through the construction and preliminary validation of an original self-report personality scale.
These goals will be accomplished through a combination of assigned readings, discussion, in-class laboratory work, and independent research.


Grades will be based on performance on three take-home essay tests (100 points each), three labs begun in class and completed out of class (100 points each) and a final independent research project due at the end of the course (200 points). Attending class and reading the assigned writings are essential to successfully completing the tests, labs, and final project. Each assignment will be graded on how well you follow directions. The assignments are described in more detail in the additional documents that accompany this syllabus. Final letter grades will be assigned according to percentages of 800 possible points:

744-800 = A
720-743 = A-
704-719 = B+
656-703 = B
640-655 = B-
624-639 = C+
560-623 = C
480-559 = D
0-479 = F

Statement of Academic Integrity:

Violation of academic integrity includes all of the following:

Submitting the work of another person as your own
Tampering with the work of another student.

Students violating academic integrity in any way will receive an F for the course. Further information, including appeals processes, are described the current Policies and Rules for Students handbook.

Course Outline:

Please note that this course outline is tentative and subject to change. Any changes to the outline will be announced by email.
1 Tue 9/1 Why are we here? What will we be doing? Johnson, Units of Analysis
2 Tue 9/8 Issues in personality research Cronbach, Two Disciplines
3 Tue 9/15 Computers in personality research;
Library research;
Basic statistics
Cronbach, Beyond 2 Disciplines
4 Tue 9/22 Take-home essay test on Unit I
Lab 1: What gets published?
5 Tue 9/29 Unit I essay test and Lab 1 due
Q-sets and rating scales
Block, The Q-Sort Method
6 Tue 10/6 Assessment logic;
Objectifying personality
Bowers, More to Iago
Hofstee, Who should own?
7 Tue 10/13 Reliability and validity analyses  
8 Tue 10/20 Take-home essay test on Unit II
Lab 2: Constructing and evaluating a Q-set
9 Tue 10/27 Unit II essay test and Lab 2 due
Empirical scale construction
Megargee, Philosophy of CPI;
Gough, The New CPI
Gough & Bradley, CPI Manual
10 Tue 11/3 Personality dynamics in self-reports Meehl, Dynamics of Self-Report
11 Tue 11/10 Social dynamics in self-reports Johnson, Seven Social Performance Scales
12 Tue 11/17 Itemmetrics and psychometrics
Take-home essay test on Unit III
Lab 3: Generating potential items for an experimental scale
Wolfe, Common Sense
Briggs & Cheek, Factor Analysis
13 Tue 11/24 Unit III essay test and Lab 3 due
Final Project: Collaboratory-style personality research
Goldberg, Comparative Validity
14 Tue 12/1 Reliability and validity analyses for final project scale Hogan & Nicholson, Meaning of Personality Test Scores and responses to article
15 Tue 12/8 The science game; APA format;
Making a study publishable
 Finals Week Tue 12/15 * * * Final Project Due * * *