Carnegie Mellon University

Research Methods

To build analytical thinking and practical research skills, Psychology majors are required to take two courses of Research Methods. In each course, students learn how to conduct psychological research by developing their own original study.  Students may choose from five separate sections of Research Methods, depending on their interests (see below), but in each course, students learn to:

  • Conduct a literature search in which they synthesize existing research
  • Generate a hypothesis
  • Design a study to test this hypothesis
  • Recruit and test subjects
  • Analyze data using state-of-the-art data analysis tools like IBM SPSS Statistics and BrainVoyager
  • Present their findings in an academic poster and an oral presentation
  • Write an APA-style research paper

Tailored Instruction

All sections teach research basics, but students may chose between five separate sections of Research Methods, each of which focuses on a different subdomain of Psychology.  This gives students a more in-depth understanding of research in that area and allows them to learn the tools and techniques specific to their area of interest.  Below are some of the unique features of each Research Methods section:


Recruit and test subjects from the university community and learn to use online data collection tools like Qualtrics and Mechanical Turk.


Observe and test 3 to 5-year-old children at the Carnegie Mellon University Children’s School, an NAEYC accredited laboratory preschool that is located on campus.


Recruit and test subjects from the University community and learn to use data collection software like Eprime, PsyScope, and Qualtrics.


Analyze real fMRI data using BrainVoyager, a leading brain mapping technology.


Learn to analyze and interpret large datasets collected from people behaving in naturalistic settings, such as CHILDES, a database of parent-child verbal interactions.

Undergraduate Poster Session

At the end of each semester, the students from each Research Methods section create high-quality academic posters that they present to department faculty, staff, and students at the Undergraduate Poster Session.  This event is an excellent way for students to practice explaining their work and fielding questions posed by other scientists.  All student posters are eligible to win the Psychology Department Poster Award, presented each semester to the most outstanding project given at the Research Methods Colloquium.