Course Outlines

Winter 2013


Applied Social Psychology

*Course Outline Index
* Timetable        

Instructor: Kieran O'Doherty
Office: 3014 MacKinnon Extension (3rd floor), 519-824-4120 x58919
Office Hours: Tuesday, 2:30-4:30pm
Class Time: T,R; 1:00-2:20, MACK 031
Teaching Assistants: Jennifer Dobson:

Course Objectives and Content:
Course Overview and Objectives:

The purpose of this course is to provide you with an introduction to the field of applied social psychology. The content matter of the course is intentionally broad and will illustrate the applications of psychological theories and methods to such topics as media; sports; health; education; race and diversity; and community. At the end of the course you should be able to be able to conceptualise an intervention to a social problem, understand methods of evaluation for an intervention, and discuss the empirical basis of programs addressing social issues.

There are two main dimensions on which I will be assessing you in this course. The first is whether you have read and engaged with all the course content. I will be assessing this in the two exams (mid-term and final). To do well in these exams you will need to put in the time and effort to know the materials well. The second dimension I will be assessing is how well you are able to apply knowledge gained in the course. This will be assessed in the course practical assignment. In addition, there will be an opportunity for bonus grades. The weighted breakdown of assessment for the course will be:
1) Practical Assignment – 40% The largest single component for assessment in this course will come from a practical assignment. The due date for this practical assignment is 20 March 2012 (1:00 pm).
2) Mid-term Exam – 25% There will be a mid-term exam on Tuesday 14 February, 2012. The exam will take place instead of the scheduled lecture – same time and place as the usual lecture would have taken place. The exam will cover materials from the textbook and all lectures and readings up to that point.
3) Final Exam – 35% The final exam will cover all materials (textbook, lectures, additional readings) since the mid-term exam.
4) Bonus – up to 3% added to final grade There will be an opportunity to gain bonus marks. More details about this below.
Practical Assignment Guidelines

The practical assignment component of this course is the single highest weighted item on which you will be assessed. This means that you should spend a significant amount of time and effort on the assignment – I would recommend at least several weeks or even a couple of months. My suggestion would be for you begin to work on the assignment mid February (or earlier). Try to have a complete draft by the second week of March, and use the remaining time before the deadline to do any last refinements on the paper before submitting.
Practical Assignment Topics:

Choose one of the following three issues on which to focus:
1. Environmental issues (e.g., behaviours contributing to climate change)
2. Immigration
3. Academic performance

Once you have chosen your topic, choose one of the two options for your practical assignment:3

1. Develop a hypothetical intervention to change people’s behavior in the context of your chosen topic. Your intervention could be targeted to a local community, provincial, or other level. Make sure to also include an evaluation of your intervention. For example, if you chose to focus on climate change, you might design an intervention based on reducing people’s use of energy.
2. Conduct a rhetorical/discursive analysis of the media coverage on your chosen topic. For example, if you chose to focus on environmental issues you might analyse arguments for or against the oil sands project in Alberta as they are presented in the media. Choose between 5 and 10 recent news articles to analyse how facts are presented and certain positions warranted. If choosing this assignment, make sure to base your analysis on qualitative methods from the academic literature.
Practical Assignment Requirements:

-The purpose of the assignment is for you to develop skills in using academic knowledge to address real world problems or phenomena. Therefore: o Choose a specific problem to work on o Make sure that you know what has been said in the academic literature about this or similar issues (i.e., begin with a review of the relevant academic literature) o Make sure that your methods used in the assignment are based on acceptable scientific or social scientific methodology -Choose a suitable title for your assignment that reflects the issues you are addressing and is within the scope of the topic -The paper must include a meaningful engagement with relevant literature on the subject (don’t rely on Wikipedia – you need to read and use peer reviewed publications); ensure that you provide a solid overview of relevant studies and/or theory on your chosen topic -The assignment should be between 2500 and 3000 words in length -Please use 1.5 or double spacing and 12-point font -Use page numbers, reasonable margins, and don’t forget to include your name and student number -Citations and references should follow the APA guidelines (note: different disciplines use different reference styles; make sure you use the right one) -The assignment must be original – it must be your own work (and yours alone), and not have been submitted or used for any purpose other than this course -AVOID PLAGIARISM – this means that all ideas you use in your paper that come from your readings need to be cited; where quotes are used, make sure you give page numbers; distinguish clearly between your own thinking and arguments, and what you have read somewhere else and are using for your paper; READ the university guidelines regarding academic integrity here: -Please submit a hard-copy and an electronic version of the assignment no later than 1:00 pm on the due date. Both are required.

-Penalties: o Marks will be subtracted for assignments significantly outside of the word length margins (see above) o Marks will be subtracted for late assignments at a rate of 10% per day to a maximum of 30%. Any assignment that is more than 3 days late automatically receives 0%.

-Extensions will generally not be granted. Because you are expected to be working on the assignment over several weeks, excuses based on unforeseen events occurring close to the deadline are not accepted.

Bonus Grades

Each week there will be assigned readings, and most lectures will require preparatory reading of at least one journal article. To earn bonus grades at the end of the course, you may choose to hand in short discussion notes on required readings.
The format of discussion notes should be one paragraph in length (maximum half a page), in which you write down your thoughts on the article. You can focus on such things as the implications of the article for practice or policy; you could come up with a few discussion questions that are raised by the article and elaborate on why you think they are relevant; or you could come up with your own ideas here. IMPORTANT: do not simply present a summary of the article.
To qualify for the bonus grades you will need to submit discussion notes on at least 8 of the required readings. They need to be submitted electronically via CourseLink before the lecture in which the article is discussed.

Please note that in general, there will be readings for every week of lectures (up to two chapters from the textbook and two journal articles). It is expected that you have read this material prior to the relevant lecture and are prepared to discuss it in class. Required readings will be posted on Courselink.
Class Attendance

To do well in this course you need to attend lectures regularly and take good notes. Although lecture slides may be posted online, they are not sufficient by themselves for you to gain a good understanding of the material. Please also check CourseLink regularly for updates and announcements.

Please familiarize yourself with the student responsibilities for the Department of Psychology. You can read them here:

Required Text:

Frank W. Schneider, Larry M. Coutts, Jamie A. Gruman.(2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. (2nd Ed.) Sage Publications. Paperback ISBN: 9781412976381


Dates to Note:
Class Period: Jan 7th - Apr. 5th
Winter Break: Feb. 18th - 22th
Add Period: Dec 10th - Jan 11th
Drop Date: Mar. 08th (40th day)
Examination Period: Apr8th - 19th

Reading Assignments and Class Topics:
It is difficult to know how long each topic will take because this varies between classes. These are rough estimates.

Course Evaluation / Assessment:     Undergraduate Calendar - Section:VIII--Undergraduate Degree Regulations and ProceduresAcademic Misconduct Undergraduate Calendar - Section:VIII--Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures

Student Responsibilities:

NOTE: This is a preliminary web course description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.

The final binding course outline will be distributed during the first class of the semester.

Students currently enrolled in this course are required to access the designated printer icon above, for supplementary documents if listed below.

Statement Of Student Responsibilities
Students in all Psychology courses are required to read and adhere to the statements listed via the above link or via the
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES link on the Department of Psychology home page.

Questions regarding those responsibilities should be directed to the course instructor.