Saturday, February 6, 2010

Exciting Research Questions

I am teaching a class on how to write a psychology research paper. This week I had my students come up with a few research questions that they would be interested in writing about. Here are some examples (typos by the original author):

If one has a positive attitude, will good things happen?

Do chocolate serves as the top favored aphrodisiac food for women compared to other types of erotic food that arouses sexual desire?

Why do even people who have everything, want more?

How great, if at all, is the length of a student’s average amount of REM sleep versus their grades

Abortion in college students leads to a more satisfying state of mind.

What is the purpose of social conformity?

Are PC users more stressed out than Mac users?

how people react to using new technology

Does birth order determine homosexuality? I always heard that the 2nd son is “gayer” than the first.

I really wish that these were made up. These aren't even the worst of the bunch, I recieved a range of responses that were just strange existential statements or incredibly non PC statements about various minority groups/genders/social classes.

I've already talked to the class about what sort of questions can and can not be tested in an experimental study... looks like I'll need to cover that again.  Aside from that, I'm not looking forward to having to address the outright misogyny and homophobia evident in a lot of these questions (those that are questions and not just statements).

Should make for a fun semester.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Coup d'etat

Myself and some other students have been rather unimpressed with a class we are taking. Mostly, we're finding the material to be too much review and not challenging enough at the graduate level. Getting a ph.D comes with the assumption that you are an expert (or at least knowledgeable) in your field and this course will not be helping us to accomplish that.

It's gotten so bad that I've actively starting calling out the professor in regards to any oversights and overgeneralizations in the class presentations. I'm not trying to be pretentious, I just want to make sure that the information being presented is correct, even if it is just review. Also... the class is really boring so it gives me something to do besides tetris.

Well, I've had some discussions with some people who can do something about this, and it appears the class will be changed somewhat. I've probably talked myself into doing some additional presentations this semester, but its not like I need free-time anyways. In the meantime, myself and some of the other students are actively looking for materials that would allow us to teach ourselves the material.

Should make for a fun semester.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Losers

I'm less than confident that this will be good.  The comic that this is based on (which is pretty great, by the way) was incredibly cynical about the inner workings of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Based on the trailer, the film version of The Losers will ditch that in favor of a more macho version of The A-Team.  Still, I guess this could be fun. The gag at the end with the sniper rifle is pretty cool I suppose.