Fall 2020 - PSYC 391 D300

Selected Topics in Psychology (3)

Wellbeing Measures/Models

Class Number: 3206

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201. Other prerequisites vary by topic offering.



Course can be repeated for credit. Students may not take this course for further credit if similar topics are covered. See Psychology department website for course description.


Questionnaires are used throughout society and psychology.

Pre-requisites: Psyc 201
Co or prerequisite: Psyc 210 or equivalent
CGPA of 3.0

The course uses the topic of well-being to advance student knowledge/skills for the construction and evaluation of survey scales/questionnaires of the types which are widely in society as well as in basic and applied psychological research. As there are multiple ways to conceptualize well-being, there are many measurement strategies to match. This course will explore different conceptual constructions of well-being as well as its subdomains (such as psychological well-being and physical well-being). This course will investigate a variety of survey scales/questionnaires designed to evaluate well-being, and then critically evaluate the quality and utility of these tools.

Remote attendance is required.

There is no final exam in this section of PSYC 391.

This course will be taught remotely due to COVID-19 primarily using SYNCHRONOUS teaching strategies during scheduled class time; Lecture/seminar/group discussions and group office hours will be recorded and available on Canvas. Some lectures will involve ASYNCHRONOUS components with selected podcast episodes and/or PPT lectures.

Throughout this course, students will be
(a) discussing and defining well-being;
(b) considering existing scales for measuring well-being;
(c) learning the processes of developing and evaluating survey scales/questionnaires.
Note, however, students are not expected to develop their own scale.


Our seminar class meets on Wednesdays 2:30-5:30. We will meet synchronously using BB Collaborate and/or Zoom in all weeks for the full class time for a combination of lecture/seminar/open discussion from 2:30-5:20, except for the week of October 12; there will be no classes on October 14, 2020.


This course will help students (a) broaden research/writing skills including use of online research databases, literature review, and synthesis; (b) deepen understanding of essential principles for the conduct of empirical research using questionnaires

In this course, students will be introduced to diverse well-being measurement and psychometric research literature, gain knowledge on survey scale design and evaluation with respect to quality and utility. After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
(a) describe and explain the role of theoretical frameworks in measuring and modeling well-being
(b) describe strategies to increase relevance of questionnaires to a diversity of individuals/groups (e.g., cultural, linguistic)
(d) detail strategies for quality questionnaire design and systematic critique/evaluation
(e) provide a systematic review/critique of existing questionnaires


  • Attendance/participation: 20%
  • Assignments: 20%
  • Quizzes: 40%
  • Paper/Project: 20%
  • This is a tentative breakdown and may change


Note: This course has been previously offered under the title: "Psyc 391: Wellbeing: Issues in Measurement and Modeling"; students who have "Wellbeing: Issues in Measurement and Modeling" cannot register in this section of Psyc 391 for credit.



Required Technology: To participate in this class you MUST have reliable internet and a computing device with audio-capacity (to speak/to listen) with the ability to access Canvas BB Collaborate and Zoom. Having ability to have audio on during class discussions is required; having video on is optional. We will be using a combination of Canvas tools, BB Collaborate and Zoom, and google tools (e.g., docs/slides/forms) as necessary.

Other Required Material:
Hand or on-line calculator


textbook: Johnson, Robert L., & Morgan, Grant B. (2016). Survey scales: A guide to development, analysis, and reporting. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

(available as e-book as well as paperback):

ISBN-13: 978-1462526963
ISBN-10: 1462526969



Assigned readings: (journal articles, book chapters) - Students will need to access the internet for online research using the University Library system as well as other open-access resources to retrieve, download, and print journal articles and chapters, in accordance with fair use copyright regulations

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).