Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.


Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Ivan Chow


Office: PC 235

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 21443

Office Hours: Tuesdays 13:30-14:30 or by appointment

Course Objectives:

The course introduces the participants to the main issues in empirical research of language behaviour. Both experimental and non-experimental methodology will be covered. The course prepares participants for future lab courses and provides a basis for critical reading of scientific reports. Although a selection of statistical methods will be discussed, the course is not a statistics course.

Upon completion of the course the students should be aware of fundamental aspects of scientific research, including tenets, objectives and ethics of the scientific method. They will learn how to formulate and test a scientific hypothesis using several methodologies of experimental design, data collection, and statistical analysis common for studies of language. They will also gain experience in searching for scientific literature, as well as preparing own research reports.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Annabel Ness Evans & Bryan J. Rooney (2008). Methods in Psychological Research. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. Second Edition (2013).

Method of Assessment:

The class meets every week for two sessions. These will be used for lectures at the beginning of the term and tests, tutorials and class-room presentations later on in the term.


Evaluation Criteria:

Students will be required to complete 6-10 quizzes and exercises during the term. Quizzes will test the theoretical knowledge gained by students, while exercises will test their technical skills. There will be one mid-term (Oct 25) exam and one final (date TBA by Registrar) exam, both of the multiple-choice and short-answer formats. Students will be required to submit a short one-page paper (due Oct 11) that will describe a linguistic topic of their interest, as well as state a testable hypothesis that addresses this topic, propose a research design, and identify three papers of relevance in scientific journals. In addition, participants will prepare classroom presentations in small groups. These will describe proposals of potential research projects. A final research proposal based on the group present project is due Nov 25. Clear outlines and marking schemes will be provided for the one-page paper, group presentation and final proposal.


Contributions to the final grade:

Quizzes and exercises 20%

Short paper 15%

Mid-term exam 20%

Final exam 30%

Classroom presentation 15% (graded for each presenting group)


In addition, students are encouraged to complete the “research participation” requirement. The requirement can be met by committing two hours to (a) participating in an experiment conducted at the Department of Linguistics and Languages, (b) “walking-through” such an experiment, i.e. participating in the experiment without actual data being collected; or (c) attending a two-hour lecture with demonstration of experimental techniques (two such lectures will be arranged during the term; their timing will not overlap with the class time). Students will need to register in the departmental experimental pool software at (instructions on the system use will be provided in class). For each hour of research participation completed, students will receive a 1% bonus towards their final grades for the course. Failure to present on an agreed date will result in loss of 20% of mark.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments submitted within 48 hours of the due date are subject to a 25% penalty. Assignments submitted 2 to 7 days after the due date are subject to a 50% penalty. Assignments are not accepted more than 7 days after the due date. Exceptions to due dates and exam dates can be made only if the Office of the Dean of your Faculty grants you a relief for the respective time. To discuss your absence, please contact the Dean`s Office at

Please note that the instructor will not make a judgment whether the reasons for your absence are justifiable or not.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:




Quiz + exercises (available on the course website)

Other assignments

1. Sept 6





2. Sept 10, 13

Scientific method

Chapter 1



3. Sept 17, 20

Research literature

Chapter 2

#1 (due Sept 20)


4. Sept 24, 27

Ethics of research

Chapter 3

#2 (due Sept 27)


5. Oct 1, 4

Statistical hypothesis testing

Chapter 4

#3 (due Oct 4)


6. Oct 8, 11

Measuring variables

Chapter 5

#4 (due Oct 11)

Short paper (Oct 11)

7. Oct 15, 18

Selecting participants

Chapter 6

#5 (due Oct 18)


8. Oct 22, 25

Independent and dependent groups design

Chapter 7 ,8

#6 (due Oct 25)

Mid-term : Oct 25 (in class)

9. Oct 29





Mid-Term Recess Thursday October 31 - Saturday, November 2

10. Nov 5, 8

Non-experimental research

Chapter 10

#7 (due Nov 8)


11. Nov 12, 15

Data collection methods

Chapter 11

#8 (due Nov 15)

Final Proposal (Nov 15)


12. Nov 19, 22

Data analysis and interpretation

Chapter 13

#9 (due Nov 22)


13. Nov 26, Nov 29

Communicating your research

Chapter 14

#10 (due Nov 29)

Group presentations -1 (in class)

14. Dec 3




Group presentations - 2 (in class)

Final Exam Period: Friday December 6 – Friday December 20

Other Course Information:

In this course we will be using the Avenue to Learn communication system. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.