Testing a Brief Interactive Teaching Demonstration to Explain Experimentation in Psychology

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Having a firm grasp of psychological research methodology is a central goal for undergraduate training, yet effectively teaching methodology can be challenging in classes that are not primarily methodology classes. The present research describes a brief classroom demonstration—The Substitute Professor Opinion Survey (SPOS)—that serves as an interactive tool to explain the basics of experimentation. Across 2 studies, we provide evidence from 11 classroom samples collected in a variety of courses and institutions. Results show reliability and robustness of the SPOS teaching demonstration, replicating in all 11 samples. Additionally, students reported that the SPOS teaching demonstration enhanced their learning and was enjoyable (Study 1). Furthermore, Study 2 results indicated that students who experienced the SPOS demonstration as an integrated component of the class coverage of research methods performed significantly better on a posttest of their knowledge of experimentation than students who did not experience it. The present research offers psychology instructors a versatile tool to explain the basics of experimentation.

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