A solid understanding of statistics and research methods is essential for all psychologists, and these topics are core components of both Advanced Placement and undergraduate psychology curricula. Yet, these courses are often difficult for many students, some of whom may burn out and even give up on psychology altogether.

To address this problem, Stowell and Addison offer a comprehensive collection of original, pedagogically sound, classroom-tested activities that engage students, teach principles, and inspire teachers. Each chapter contains classroom exercises in a particular topic area that are practical and easily implemented and that help students learn core principles in ways that are fun and interesting.

Whether illustrating basic concepts like variance and standard deviation, correlation, p values and effect sizes, or teaching strategies for identifying confounding factors, recognizing bias, constructing surveys, and understanding the ethics of behavioral research, each chapter offers clear and compelling tools for engaging students on conceptual and practical levels.

A handy table organizes activities by topic area, class level, and length of time to complete, so instructors can quickly pinpoint the content they need.

Table of Contents



Jeffrey R. Stowell and William E. Addison

I. Statistics

  1. Reducing Anxiety in the Statistics Classroom
    Tamarah Smith
  2. How to Lie With the Y-Axis
    Thomas E. Heinzen
  3. Summarizing Data Using Measures of Central Tendency: A Group Activity
    Thomson J. Ling
  4. How Fast Is Your Internet? An Activity for Teaching Variance and Standard Deviation
    Bonnie A. Green and Jeffrey R. Stowell
  5. Getting Dicey: Thinking About Normal Distributions and Descriptive Statistics
    Robert McEntarffer and Maria Vita
  6. A Low-Anxiety Introduction to the Standard Normal Distribution and Measures of Relative Standing
    Laura Brandt and William E. Addison
  7. Using the Heat Hypothesis to Explore the Statistical Methods of Correlation and Regression
    George Y. Bizer
  8. Active Learning for Understanding Sampling Distributions
    David S. Kreiner
  9. Testing Students for ESP: Demonstrating the Role of Probability in Hypothesis Testing
    William E. Addison
  10. Using a TV Game Show Format to Demonstrate Confidence Intervals
    Alexis Grosofsky
  11. Real-Life Application of Type I and Type II Decision Errors
    Bernard C. Beins
  12. Factors That Influence Statistical Power
    Michael J. Tagler and Christopher L. Thomas
  13. An Interdisciplinary Activity for p Values, Effect Sizes, and the Law of Small Numbers
    Andrew N. Christopher

II. Research Methods

  1. An Activity for Teaching the Scientific Method
    R. Eric Landrum
  2. Linking Identification of Independent and Dependent Variables to the Goals of Science
    Mary E. Kite
  3. Everything Is Awesome: Building Operational Definitions With Play-Doh and LEGOs
    Stephanie E. Afful and Karen Wilson
  4. A Demonstration of Random Assignment That Is Guaranteed to Work (95% of the Time)
    Thomas P. Pusateri
  5. Identifying Confounding Factors in Psychology Research
    Chris Jones-Cage
  6. Demonstrating Experimenter and Participant Bias
    Caridad F. Brito
  7. The Most Unethical Researcher: An Activity for Demonstrating Research Ethics in Psychology
    Sue Frantz
  8. The Ethics of Behavioral Research Using Animals: A Classroom Exercise (PDF, 909KB)
    Harold Herzog
  9. Demonstrating Interobserver Reliability in Naturalistic Settings
    Janie H. Wilson and Shauna W. Joye
  10. Using a Classic Model of Stress to Teach Survey Construction and Analysis
    Joseph A. Wister
  11. Using Childhood Memories to Demonstrate Principles of Qualitative Research
    Steven A. Meyers
  12. Using a Peer-Writing Workshop to Help Students Learn American Psychological Association Style
    Dana S. Dunn


About the Editors

Editor Bios

Jeffrey R. Stowell, PhD, earned his doctoral degree in psychobiology from The Ohio State University. He is a professor and the assistant chair of the psychology department at Eastern Illinois University (EIU), where he teaches courses in biological psychology, sensation and perception, learning, and introductory psychology.

He has published articles in Teaching of Psychology, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, and other teaching-related journals on the use of technology in teaching.

He presents regularly at regional psychology conferences and mentors undergraduate and graduate student research. He participated in the 2008 National Conference on Undergraduate Education in Psychology: A Blueprint for the Future of the Discipline. He received the Society for Teaching of Psychology's Early Career Teaching Award and served as the society's Internet editor for 8 years.

At EIU, Dr. Stowell has earned the honors of Professor Laureate and Distinguished Honors Faculty Award; he is a three-time winner of the Psi Chi Chapter Faculty of the Year Award and has received the College of Sciences' highest awards in three different areas (teaching, research, and service).

William E. Addison, PhD, is a professor in the psychology department at EIU, where he has regularly taught courses in statistics and research methods. He is a Fellow and former president of APA Division 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology), and he is a charter Fellow of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

He has served as a consulting editor and reviewer for the journal Teaching of Psychology, as a member of the GRE Psychology Test Development Committee, and as a faculty consultant for the annual Advanced Placement Exam in Psychology.

He participated in the 1999 National Forum on Psychology Partnerships and the 2008 National Conference on Undergraduate Education in Psychology: A Blueprint for the Future of the Discipline.

Dr. Addison presents regularly at annual meetings of APA and the Midwestern Psychological Association and at the Midwest Institute for Students and Teachers of Psychology.

His publications include teaching-oriented articles in Teaching of Psychology and the College Student Journal.

He has received a number of awards for his teaching, including the EIU Distinguished Faculty Award and the EIU Distinguished Honors Faculty Award.

Reviews & Awards

This highly useful guide includes contributions from a talented roster of experienced teachers from both high school and college ranks. Anyone who teaches statistics or research methods will find something they can immediately put to use in their class. Introductory psychology instructors who are looking for effective ways to communicate these often-confusing concepts will find a wealth of ideas in this volume.
—Suzanne C. Baker, PhD
Department of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

You'll increase your active-learning repertoire with these engaging activities from an all-star group of statistics and research methods instructors. Each classroom-ready activity has step-by-step instructions and suggestions for assessment, too!
—Susan A. Nolan, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ