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Behavioral Science Program

Research Methodology Focus Area


Based within the Psychology Department at the University of Rhode Island, the Research Methodology Area has existed informally for the past 20 years as an area of specialization for doctoral study. We are listed as a training program in the APA Division 5 (Statistics) guide to Graduate Study. Our students and faculty have published in every major journal in the area, and research methodology has long been a nationally recognized area of strength for within the Psychology Department. This concentration is now more formally structured, and the current document describes our goals, some of our past accomplishments, and more detailed requirements.

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The major goal is to formalize a collective strength and emphasis on behavioral research methodology at the University of Rhode Island in order to provide quality doctoral training.

Specific objectives are to:

  • Form a multidisciplinary collaboration of behavioral research methodologists across campus,
  • Offer state of the art training in behavioral research methodology,
  • Continue to generate major grants, offering funded research methodology opportunities for students and faculty,
  • Generate Research Assistantships and consulting in behavioral research methodology,
  • Provide funded training grant opportunities in behavioral research methodology,
  • Encourage greater interest and expertise in research methodology among students and faculty,
  • Attract high quality incoming students, both undergraduate and graduate, interested in behavioral research methodology,
  • Facilitate mentoring opportunities in behavioral research methodology among undergraduates, graduates, and faculty, and
  • Recruit high quality faculty and postdoctoral fellows interested in behavioral research methodology.

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Research Methodology Course Content

Faculty and students interested in affiliating with the Research Methodology focus area will typically have an interest in one or more statistical methods, such as:

  • Analysis of variance
  • Power analysis
  • Evaluation research
  • Principle components analysis
  • Factor analysis
  • Qualitative methods
  • Logistic regression
  • Research design
  • Meta-analysis
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Multivariate statistics
  • Survey research, and/or
  • Population health methodology
  • Time series analysis
  • Along with one or more statistical method interests, affiliates of this focus area will also tend to conduct research within a major content area, such as:

  • Animal behavior
  • Body Image
  • Behavior change
  • Clinical psychology
  • Community psychology
  • Peace and non-violence
  • Cross-cultural psychology
  • Personality
  • Decision making
  • Poverty & malnutrition
  • Developmental psychology
  • Primary prevention
  • Education
  • Public health
  • Epidemiology
  • Quality of life
  • Friendly science teaching
  • Reading & literacy
  • Gender issues
  • Risk & resilience
  • Health promotion
  • School psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Human sexuality
  • Substance use
  • Multicultural psychology
  • Undergraduate studies, and
  • Neuropsychology
  • Women's health
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    Possible Research Methodology Career Tracks

    Graduates from this focus area in research methodology would be qualified to serve in numerous capacities, including:

    • Academics
    • Methodological Research (e.g. Research Centers)
    • Applied Statistical Research
    • Private Sector (e.g. Drug Companies, Pro Change)
    • Biostatistics
    • Statistical service (e.g. data analyst)
    • Evaluation Research
    • And many more...

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    Student Preparation

    The typical student who focuses on Research Methodology will be expected to have the following courses prior to graduate school: Introduction to Statistics, Psychological Testing, and Introductory Research Methods.

    It would also be helpful to have background in some or all of the following topics in previous or concurrent coursework: Matrix Algebra, Analysis of Variance, and Multiple Regression.

    Finally, students who focus on Research Methodology are expected to have several research experiences prior to and subsequent to enrolling in a graduate program. These could include:

  • Working with faculty on their research
  • Collaborating on a research publication
  • Presenting papers at a conference
  • Working on a research grant, and
  • Honors or other student-directed research
  • Other related research involvement
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    Course Requirements for a Research Methodology Focus

    All doctoral students would continue to be required to take the three-core methodology courses:

    PSY (STA) 532 Experimental Design
    PSY 533 Advanced Quantitative Methods (Multivariate Methods)
    PSY 611 Methods of Psychological Research

    Students who concentrate in research methodology would take 4 additional methodology courses, most likely drawing half from within psychology and half outside of psychology (see suggested options, below):

    Advanced psychology courses listed in the catalog:

    PSY (STA) 517Small N Designs (Time Series Analysis)
    PSY (STA) 610Parsimony Methods (Factor Analysis & Cluster Analysis)
    PSY (STA) 612Structural Equation Modeling
    PSY 613Qualitative Research and Analysis

    Courses taught regularly in psychology but not in catalogue with a separate title:

    PSY 690Power Analysis and Meta-analysis
    PSY 614Evaluation Research

    Courses taught by other departments

    APS 640Epidemiologic Methods (Logistic Regression & Survival Analysis)
    NUR 660Philosophical Foundations for Health Care Research
    STA 501Analysis of Variance and Variance Components
    STA 502Applied Regression Analysis
    STA 520Fundamentals of Sampling and Applications
    STA 541Multivariate Statistical Methods
    STA 542Categorical Data Analysis Methods

    In addition, students would be encouraged to take methodology Directed Readings and Research (PSY 692, 693) on topics such as: Matrix Algebra, Data Management, Computer Programming (could includes Data Base Programming), Applied Data Analysis.

    Finally, we would like to add other topics not currently covered anywhere on campus but needed: Exploratory Data Analysis, Test Theory (Item Response Theory), Growth Curve Analysis, Longitudinal Methods, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Biostatistics, Survey Research.

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    Suggested Plan of Study (90 credits total)

    Semester 1

    PSY (STA) 532Experimental Design
    PSY 614Evaluation Research
    PSY 692Independent Study
    PSY 600-609(1 of 4 Required Non-Methodolgy Core Content Courses)
    PSY 615Experimental Area Orientation (1 credit)

    Semester 2

    PSY 533Advanced Quantitative Methods
    PSY (STA) 517Small N Designs
    PSY 693Independent Study (e.g. Matrix Algebra)
    PSY 600-609(1 of 4 Required Non-Methodolgy Core Content Courses)

    Semester 3

    PSY 611Methods of Psychological Research
    PSY (STA) 612Structural Equation Modeling
    PSY 599Master's Thesis
    PSY 600-609(1 of 4 Required Non-Methodolgy Core Content Courses)

    Semester 4

    PSY 613Qualitative Research and Analysis
    PSY (STA) 610Parsimony Methodology
    PSY 599Master's Thesis
    PSY 600-609(1 of 4 Required Non-Methodolgy Core Content Courses)

    Semester 5

    PSY 000Power Analysis and Meta-analysis
    PSY 692(e.g. Applied Data Analysis) or another Methodology Course
    PSY 693Independent Study
    PSY 699Doctoral Dissertation Research (3 credits)

    Semester 6

    Methodology Elective

    (e.g. APS 640 Epidemiologic Methods)

    PSY 692 or 693or another Methodology Course
    Other Elective(e.g. Multicultural Competency)
    PSY 699Doctoral Dissertation Research (3 credits)

    Semester 7


    (e.g. STA 501 Analysis of Variance and Variance Components)

    PSY 699Doctoral Dissertation Research (6 credits)

    (Comprehensive Exams:

    Usually taken after completing all coursework)

    Semester 8

    Elective(e.g. STA 541 Multivariate Statistical Methods)
    PSY 699Doctoral Dissertation Research (6 credits)

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    Research Methodology Faculty in Psychology

    • Su Boatright (Undergraduate Research)
    • Jerry Cohen (Analysis of Variance, Social Psychology Research)
    • Charles Collyer (Analysis of Variance, Research Methods)
    • Lisa Harlow (Multivariate Methods, Structural Equation Modeling, Friendly Science Teaching)
    • Joe Fava (Principal Components Analysis, Survey Methods, Health Psychology Research)
    • Bob Laforge (Public Health Methods, Survey Research, Logistic Regression)
    • Nansook Park (Structural Equation Modeling, Quality of Life Research)
    • Colleen Redding (Health Psychology Research)
    • Joe Rossi (Power Analysis, Research Methods, Multivariate Methods, Health Psychology)
    • John Stevenson (Evaluation Research, Substance Use Research)
    • Wayne Velicer (Multivariate Methods, Population Health Methodology and Research)
    • Ted Walls (Longitudinal Modeling)
    • Mark Wood (Substance Use Research, Methodology)

    Other Possible Research Methodology Faculty:

    • John Boulmetis, Education, Director of Graduate Studies (Evaluation)
    • Patricia Burbank, Nursing, (Philosophy of Science, Theory and Foundations of Research)
    • Ginette Ferst, Nursing (Qualitative methods, women’s health)
    • Liliana Gonzalez, Statistics, (Statistics)
    • Choudary Hanumara, Computer Science & Statistics, (Statistics)
    • James Heltshe, Statistics, (Statistics)
    • Louis Heifetz, Education, URI Co-Director of the joint Ph.D. Program, (Evaluation Research)
    • Minsuk Shim, Education, (Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Methodology and Research)
    • Cynthia Willey Temkin, Pharmacy, (Epidemiology, Logistic Regression, Survival Analysis)

    Please contact Lisa Harlow or Wayne Velicer for more information.

    Research Methodology Focus Area Report 2011

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