This course will involve little lecturing and will focus instead on students’ development of their own theories, hypotheses, and research programs. By leveraging William J. McGuire’s philosophy of science and the perspectivist method of planning research in behavioral science, we will emphasize creative hypothesis generation and theory building.

Students will complete exercises designed to clarify the conceptual foundations of their own work and to help them develop multiple hypotheses concerning empirical relationships among independent, dependent, mediating, and moderating variables. We will develop useful manipulations and measurement strategies that overcome common methodological problems.

On several occasions, students will present their hypotheses, research designs, and experimental procedures to the rest of the class, and we will engage in group discussion and constructive evaluation. Students will incorporate this feedback to refine their plans, with the long-term goal of conducting sophisticated programs of research on interesting ideas of their own choosing.