Next meeting:

  • We have regular class meetings coming up on November 22 and then after Thanksgiving.

Things to worry about now:


Fall 2021 Syllabus

Please do not come to class if you are not feeling well. I will make an audio recording of each class session in which I cover unique material and post it here. Those recordings are linked below, in the schedule (you will probably need to download and save them, before you can play them). 

In this course students write individual research papers in which they present a question, review other scientific studies of the question, develop a research design, and test a hypothesis by making structured observations.

We complete these research papers in lots of little steps. To succeed in this course you need to:

  • Keep up with the smaller assignments earlier in the semester, as they are due. They may seem small, but they add up, and they are all components of the final paper.
  • Meet with me regularly to work through your ideas and to check on your progress.

There is no required textbook.

The meeting times for the class are Mondays and Thursdays 2:00 to 3:15.

Most meetings will be full meetings. These meetings will be held on campus, face-to-face. They will be held at the scheduled class time.

Some meetings will be one-on-one meetings. During weeks when the class session is replaced with one-on-one meetings, everyone in the class must meet with me individually at least once. For those meetings you may use my appointment calendar (cal.chadrector.net) to reserve a time; note that some times are for in-person meetings and some times are for meeting by videoconference. These one-on-one meetings will usually be about 30 minutes long. The meeting does not necessarily need to be on the same day or time the class meets regularly, but should be within a week.

In addition to the required one-on-one meetings, I am also happy to meet with students at other times as well, at their convenience. I have lots of times to meet with students in the class, individually and in groups.

Students should meet with me, individually, regularly throughout the semester as they prepare assignments and the term paper. I have regular in-person meeting times set aside for students on Monday and Thursday mornings, as well as every other Friday, in my office on Main Campus, Rowley 1015. I also have meeting times by videoconference available every Tuesday during the day and evening. Students may sign up for any available time on my appointment calendar (if you are using your gmail account instead of your Marymount account, please check your time zone).

Any student who turns in an assignment on time may revise that assignment later for up to full credit, until the end of the semester. This applies to all assignments except for the draft, final, and presentations.


Schedule of class meetings

August 30
Full class meeting

September 2  –  Overview and discussion (class recording)
Full class meeting
Reading: How politics makes us stupid and The fact/value distinction

Types of analysis assignment due September 8

September 9  –  Reading journal articles (class recording)
Full class meeting
Reading: Life, liberty…

September 13  –  Reading journal articles (class recording)
Full class meeting
Reading: Fake news…

Topic paragraph due September 15

September 16  –  Topic presentations and discussion (class recording)
Full class meeting

September 20  –  Journal articles on your topic
One-on-one meetings
Reading: my tutorial on finding articles

Article summary #1 due September 22

September 23 and 27  –  Article summary presentations (Sept 23 class recording)
Full class meetings

Article summary #2 due September 29

September 30 and October 4  –  Article summary presentations (Sept 30 class recording)
Full class meetings

Article summary #3 due October 6

October 7, 11, and 14  –  Paper organization and literature review (October 7 class recording)
Full class meetings

October 18
No class meeting – I will be available by appointment on campus to help with literature reviews

Literature review due October 15 October 18

October 21
No class meeting – I will be available by appointment on campus to help with literature review presentations

October 25  –  Literature review presentations and research design discussion (class recording)
Full class meeting

October 28  –  Literature review presentations and research design discussion
Full class meeting

Research design due October 31

November 1 and 4  –  Research design peer review (in class)
Full class meetings

November 8  – Research design and observation review
One-on-one meetings

Single observation due November 13

November 15, 16, 18, and 22  –  Draft discussion
Full class meetings

Draft due November 28

November 29  – Peer review discussion
Full class meeting

Most peer reviews due sometime in the next week or so

December 2, 6, and 9  –  Draft presentations
Full class meetings

Sometime during exam week, December 13-17
One-on-one meetings

Term paper due December 18