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HDS 181 - Experimental Projects in Human Development Research

Course Overview

This laboratory course in human developmental sciences is designed around a variety of intensive experimental projects. With lectures providing background information on research methods and lifespan development, each assignment will include data collection and/or analysis, and a written laboratory report.

Enrollment Screening

Enrollment in HDS 181 is approved by individual seat, and is processed completely independent of the 1st/2nd pass enrollment system (so don't worry about anyone "grabbing" a seat before you--that's not how it works).  Enrollment approval is prioritized by closest to graduation.

Use 1st and 2nd pass to enroll-in/waitlist other courses you need.

nrollment Priority Breakdown:

In order to ensure timely graduation for our students, each request that meets the course prerequisite is screened for closest to graduation. Enrollment Priority for requests submitted by end of 1st pass goes as follows:

  1. Super Seniors
  2. 4th years/transfers in their 2nd year who have a confirmed placement for HDS 191, the subsequent course, in the following quarter
  3. 4th years/transfers in their 2nd year
  4. 3rd years that are graduating in 3 years who have a confirmed placement for HDS 191, the subsequent course, in the following quarter
  5. 3rd years that are going to do a term abroad, honors, etc.
  6. 3rd years that are just hoping for a leftover seat.
    (Note that Spring has the most space for 3rd year students)

How to Enroll into HDS 181

Please submit your request via the on-line Enrollment Authorization System (EASy) 
Remember: enrollment requests for HDS 181 are reviewed in first pass.
Authorization to enroll is not granted until AFTER second pass is complete!
If approved, you will receive an e-mail confirmation of your pre-authorization status at your UCSD email address.

More About HDS 181

As the beginning of the HDS methods sequence, HDS 181 emphasizes research, applied statistics, and APA format writing. HDS 181 is a prerequisite to HDS 191. With a weight of SIX (6) units, HDS 181 is a labor intensive class.  It is recommend that you take no more than two other courses (for a total of 14 units) when you take HDS 181.

Content Areas: Resources

Because HDS 181 emphasizes research, applied statistics, and APA format writing, students should revisit the following skill areas to be prepared to take HDS 181:

Computer literacy

This class will require proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel (Note: the full software versions, not Google products). Proficiency is defined as the following:
  • I have experience with the following aspects of Microsoft Word: Creating, editing, formatting, printing multi-page documents with different sections, layouts, track changes, inserting/formatting multiple kinds of objects.
  • I have experience in advanced functions of Microsoft Excel: Importing data into a database, basic stats, create figures.
If you are unfamiliar with some of the advanced features of Microsoft Word and Excel, please consult the following resources:
NOTE: Need your own copy of Word and Excel? UCSD students get them for free here:

Scientific Reading and Writing

This class expects proficiency with reading scientific articles, and college level expository writing.
Proficiency is defined as the following:

  • I have taken my college writing course and an upper-division class that requires reading, analyzing, and discussing scientific articles and now understand this style of writing (which is a very specific type of expository writing style). I am comfortable with this style of literature and writing.
  • Bonus Proficiency: If you have already taken a writing class that requires APA-style writing.  APA writing style will be taught in HDS 181, but if you already have experience with this style of writing (which is different from MLA and some college writing requirements), you will be well prepared.
If you have taken the writing course required by your college, but have not used APA style, sometimes struggle with writing, and/or don’t like to write, please consult the following resources:


This class will expect proficiency in Statistics for Social Sciences. Proficiency is defined as the following:
  • I know how to apply basic statistical tests in different research situations. I can define each of the terms listed in the below help guide and know how to apply them if posed a practical research issue.
  • I am proficient with a statistical program package such as Excel, SAS, SPSS, or JMP and can demonstrate that I can use sample data and run an analysis with at least one of these programs today.
  • I have taken Psych 60 or an equivalent social science statistics class and understood all of the material covered in the class. I still remember most of the material covered in the class as of today.

If you took statistics a long time ago, and/or remember less than 90% of the below statistical terms, and/or still don’t understand how to do applied statistics, please consult the following resources:

  • Refresh your statistics with Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics by Neil J. Salkind  ...or
  • Vassarstats textbook (
  • Statistics Concepts to review: refresh you stats knowledge by reviewing these common stats terms before proceeding to HDS 181 (Google is your friend! Consider Visiting Khan Academy for videos covering each of these terms!)

    Sample and sampling
    Probability sampling
    Random sample
    Published sources of data
    Experimental data
    Survey data
    Frame data
    Bar chart
    Box and whisker plot
    Time series plot
    Cross-sectional data
    Degree of freedom
    Student's t-distribution

    A pie chart
    Frequency table
    Scatter plot
    Expected mean
    Population variance
    Sample variance
    Sample standard deviation
    Sampling error
    Confidence interval
    Null hypothesis
    Alternative hypothesis
    Correlation coefficient
    Linear regression
    Regression residual



At UCSD, 1 unit = 3 hours of work, per week.  Since HDS 181 is a 6 unit class with a lab, this means it is a more time-intensive class that a traditional 4-unit lecture style course!

To do well in this class, you should be able to dedicate ~14 hrs per week OUTSIDE of class for HDS 181, working on the following:

  • time for reading the assigned text (per week): 4-6 hrs
  • for homework assignments (per week): 5-7 hrs
  • for review and test preparation (average per week): 3-5 hrs

Please also note: attendance is mandatory in HDS 181, and the class is not graded on a curve!


The minimum pre-reqs for HDS 181 are as follows:

  • Completion of HDS 1
  • Completion of Statistics
  • Upper division standing
  • Completion of a MINIMUM of 3 upper division courses in the major—at least one in each domain.

If you have completed an academic plan with a HDS advisor that places HDS 181 in a specific quarter, please note that when you submit your enrollment request (see below).