Briercrest College and Seminary’s new statistics course will help students to better understand psychological research.
“As psychologists we try to base what we do on research findings and lean towards empirically supported methods, but if you don’t understand how studies are carried out it becomes very difficult to read the write-ups and understand what is being presented,” Charles Hackney, associate professor of psychology at Briercrest, explained.
“When you understand research and statistical methods you can go and look up studies by yourself and sift through the nonsense that the mainstream media sometimes hands you about the latest psychological research.”
Hackney explained there are a lot of pop-psychology and self-help books that will claim what they have to say is based on solid psychological research, but that is not always the case. The new statistics course will help students determine what is scientific and what is not.
“If the student intends to pursue a career involving research, then this course will serve as an introduction to the foundational principles and basic techniques that will be vital to his or her future studies,” he explained.
“If the student does not intend to pursue a career involving research, this course will provide a basic understanding of statistics that will enable him or her to comprehend and evaluate the research of others.”
The course is also a requirement for Briercrest’s stand-alone psychology degree, and for three of the partnership programs Briercrest has with Minot State University.
“So students will now have the option of either taking statistics here or down at Minot,” explained Hackney.
Statistics is a semester-long course that will be offered at the 300 level and can be taken in conjunction with Briercrest’s recently revamped research methods modular course.
“The new research method’s modular course is a modification of the methods course our marriage and family seminary students already take. It has been expanded and refined so that it is specifically about psychological research methods and cross-listed as an undergraduate course,” he explained.
“And in research methods, students will learn about the approaches and techniques involved in research within psychology, and will have an opportunity for firsthand experience in the use of these techniques through in-class data-collection projects. They will also address questions of connections between faith and science generally and Christianity and psychology specifically.”