Psychological research methods (2009/2010)

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Course code
Margherita Pasini
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
Lezione 6 Sem. 1B Margherita Pasini
Lezione 3 Sem. 2A Riccardo Sartori

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The course aims:
- to develop in students a body of knowledge and critical understanding of the research process in psychology, in particular with regard to research methodology and various quantitative and qualitative research methods;
- to equip students with a range of secondary research skills required to critically examine and appraise published research articles, especially concerning training processes;
- to enable students to plan, conduct, present and critically evaluate a Research Project meeting the standards of professional research.
- to study the historical-scientific debate on the concepts of “measurement in psychology” and “psychological testing”;
- to investigate the concept of such “psychological characteristics” (constructs) as intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes and personality traits in order to understand whether or not they can be measured;
- to deepen the concept of “validity” of the tools used in psychological research and practice for the measurement of psychological characteristics (constructs);
- to investigate the relations between “indicators” and “constructs”;
- to analyze the role of the so called “normal curve” in psychological research and practice;
- to deepen the concept of “assessment in psychology” through the methods and the tools which can be adopted.


From theories to hypotheses: the birth of a research; the experimental model; the experimental designs and the question of the control; alternative strategies to experimental methods; the validity of a psychological research; the data collection; the data analysis; from laboratory to field, from quantity to quality; the communication of the results; research in organizational psychology.
The module aims to specifically introduce students to the field of the measurement in psychology and psychological testing. Do such psychological characteristics as intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes or personality traits exist? Can they be measured? How is it possible to come to a quantification of non-observable constructs, as the psychological characteristics, through the observation of proper indicators? Which are the relations between indicators and constructs? The module aims to answer these and other questions in a probabilistic way.

Textbooks for the examination
1.Di Nuovo S., Hichy Z. (2007) Metodologia della ricerca psicosociale, Il Mulino, Bologna.
2.Sartori, R. (2009) Psicologia Psicometrica, LED, Milano.
3. Una delle seguenti proposte (per la parte orale):
Proposta 1. Possibili distorsioni nelle indagini a risposte aperte
Poncheri, R., Lindberg, J. T., Thompson, L. F., & Surface, E. A. (2008). A comment on employee surveys: Negativity bias in open-ended responses. Organizational Research Methods,11, 614-630.
Proposta 2. Benessere al lavoro
Di Nuovo, S., Zanchi, S. (2008). Benessere lavorativo: Una ricerca sulla soddisfazione e le emozioni positive nella mansione, Giornale di Psicologia, 2(1-2), 7-18.
Proposta 3. Lavori ad alta qualità e infortuni sul lavoro
Barling, J., Iverson, R.D., Kelloway, K. (2003), High-quality work, job satisfaction, and occupational injuries, Journal of Applied Psychology, 88 (2), 276-83.
Proposta 4. Un programma basato sul teatro per gli adolescenti immigrati.
Rousseau C; Benoit M; Gauthier M; Lacroix L; Alain N; Rojas MV; Moran A; Bourassa D. (2007), Classroom Drama Therapy Program for Immigrant and Refugee Adolescents: A Pilot Study, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 12, 451-465.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is in two stages. Part I is a written multiple choice examination, and Part II is an oral examination, only for the students who pass Part I.
Textbooks for Part I:
Di Nuovo S., Hichy Z. (2007) Metodologia della ricerca psicosociale, Il Mulino, Bologna.
Sartori, R. (in press) Psicologia Psicometrica, LED, Milano.
The oral part (Part II) will deal with the article chosen among the ones indicate .