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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Positive Psychology: Character, Grit and Research Methods by University of Pennsylvania

1,135 ratings

About the Course

Learners discover how apply to research methods to their study of Positive Psychology. In this course, we study with Dr. Angela Duckworth and Dr. Claire Robertson-Kraft. Through an exploration their work "True Grit" and interviews with researchers and practitioners, you develop a research hypothesis and learn how to understand the difference between internal and external validity. You also begin to understand and apply the strengths and weaknesses associated with different types of measurements and evaluation designs. You then interpret the results in an empirical study. Suggested prerequisites: Positive Psychology: Martin E. P. Seligman’s Visionary Science and Positive Psychology: Applications and Interventions....

Top reviews


Oct 21, 2022

An extremely well developed course about not such a simple topic ir research methods. The instructors broke the topics down into easy to learn bytes such that an interested learner can complete easily


Dec 27, 2019

Though i have nightmares of research design from my undergraduate career, this puts a neat spin on it and reminds the sheer importance of it. Thanks for the reminder of what is important UPENN!

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1 - 25 of 332 Reviews for Positive Psychology: Character, Grit and Research Methods

By Allison E

Jul 10, 2017

I've never given a poor review to a Coursera class before, but I feel compelled to do so now. This class is confusing and needs to decide exactly what it's trying to teach. Grit or research? If I had realized this certification required me to learn so much about research methodology and practice, I would not have paid money to take it. I'm learning about Positive Psychology for my own personal benefit, not because I want to do it for a living. A precursory overview of research (one day or week of class) would have been more than sufficient and wouldn't have left me wishing I hadn't registered for this class/certification. As for the videos about grit... this is really what I'd like to learn about, but the audio is terrible and the presentation aren't organized at all - it seems more like a randomly selected set of video segments pulled from the middle of unrelated lectures. They don't improve my understanding of grit or research at all. I won't be recommending this class or certification to anyone.

By Lisa A K

Jun 28, 2017

This course is laid out poorly. It skips around too much. I would prefer a more concise approach: e.g. present Angela Duckworth's work in week one, then present research methods in weeks 2, how to read research reports in week 3, then offer the applications to research in Positive Psychology in week 4. The course loses the thread of Positive Psychology that is common to all the other courses in this specialization because of this scatter-shot approach to presenting the concepts. The order of course content and the readings (which are often too technical for the course objectives and redundant to the lectures) bog the student down. This course does have irony: It certainly takes grit to complete it.

By M D

Jul 6, 2017

It says that the course is for beginners, but the content is useful only for those doing research work in this field. It should not be mandatory for someone interested in learning practical skills in well being and the basics of positive psychology. While the technical content is of no use to me, the non-technical portions on grit and self-control didn’t teach me anything new; I didn’t learn any new methods of approaching them, and the classroom videos do not really qualify as course content, at least not in this course. After James Pawelski’s delightful course on positive emotions and interventions, this was quite a damp squib. It took away all the joy of learning I was experiencing since the beginning of this five-course specialization. As someone has rightly mentioned here, it certainly took a whole lot of grit to complete this course.

By Betsy W M

Nov 27, 2017

My husband is a statistician as well as a scientist. This was not the best way to approach this course for those not in a classroom. I am in sales and get material fairly quickly. This was all over the map. The other courses were much more rythmic.

By Gesiel G

Dec 17, 2018

This course specifically was not very enjoyable. The subject is boring, and the videos, mainly from one of the professors is hard to follow as she does not says the words as they are on the slides. I suggest that when showing a slide if possible to read it as it is. I think it helps the learning process. Also the quality of the audio from the Angela Duckworth videos are not very good.

By Mark H

Sep 9, 2019

This course is less on Grit and more on research methods making it less applicable to the average person and geared more towards academics. While I found Angela interesting, I found the overall class to be tedious.

By Antoni S

Jun 30, 2018

I've just finished this course and I have to say that as a third year psychology student I didn't expect to learn much from it. As it turned out, it was a great way to suplement and structure my methodology knowledge. The course was demanding, but not too difficult. Angela Duckworth's lectures were excellent and provided some theory to keep things interesting. I've also learned about different proffessions which can benefit from the usage of positive psychology. Definitely recommend!

By Odalea n f

Jan 23, 2019

Angela's videos was difficult to hear. Information was broken because it was just a lecture in pieces. I think Angela should make more appropriate videos as the other participants. on the other hand, Claire's videos are very clear and well explained the content.

By Abena B

May 31, 2018

I cannot overstate how good this course is. Not only does it weave in explorations of grit, but carefully and successfully guides you through how to be an informed consumer of research, especially when interpreted by the mainstream media. I am enrolled on a doctoral program and was feeling a little nervous about the research methods, but this course has given me a great start and helped me to read my university-prescribed texts with more understanding. The practitioners are helpful in showing how the ideas apply in the real world and Dr Duckworth and Dr Robertson-Kraft have an amazing capacity for breaking down complex topics to digestible and (often) entertaining chunks. Thank you so much to the whole team!

By Şebnem G

Jun 7, 2020

I knew I really enjoyed studying Positive Psychology and learning the key concepts, but I have to admit I was a bit intimidated by learning about the research methods when I was starting this course. To my surprise, it turned out to be a course I enjoyed a lot and my fears of not understanding the course material fell short. On the contrary, I feel like I learned a lot in this course. I think it was due to the excellent structure of the course, the vibrant teaching styles of both Dr. Claire Robertson-Kraft and Dr. Angela Duckworth, and the practitioner interviews that helped us to have clear views of concepts applied in different fields. Thank you so much for this great course.

By Elena D

Jul 24, 2019

Angela Duckworth is simply incredible. All her video put a smile on my face. And Claire Robertson-Kraft is makes research very comprehensive! Thank you both for this amazing course!

By Andee G

Oct 27, 2019

I'm not sure why this course was offered as a part of the certificate program. It thought it would be about Grit and the tools and methods to develop grit and what was found in the research, much like the previous two courses. This course was in the specifics of how to create and run a research project and all the different elements of designing research and reading and interpreting research. It barely grazed on grit. While this may be important information for someone who is in the MAP program and going to do a capstone - it really seemed over the top for a certificate with only 5 courses. It took me months not weeks because I had a hard time sticking with it (and the irony of that is not lost on me).

By Heather W

Apr 22, 2020

I did not find any information previous to starting the course that I would be required to pay to even finish week 1 assignments. Secondly, this should be marketed as a research methods class that uses the book Grit as the conversation vehicle.

By Abigail A

Apr 10, 2020

Truly, "Professors are so amazing, woman and men together make serious sense!!!!"

Through their guidance and care I am able to understand challenges associated Character and Grit in our American Justice System resolve. Moreover, I was able to discover discrimination is still very present in Civil Courts. Moreso, American Bar Association held their membership as a more important than American Psychological Association, whereas men were given power to engage in favoritism, through discrimination. Whereas Grit progression for American Psychological Association was shunned and rejected in favor use and substance abuse. Showing, American Psychological Association Methods in Civil Matters still face serious neglect and no progression, which is a serious problem for our field. Meaning, "Civil Proceedings male dominated through substance abuse, and misjudge...."

Greatness, "So far Psychological Practice is found again presiding justice in Criminal Courts, where I found woman in leadership prove to care more about substance abuse and American Bar Association sides American Psychological Associations progress through working together to control criminality. Grit and Character hold true and prove a positive intervention as an end result. Therefore, I am thrilled I had an opportunity to attend University of Pennsylvania and undergo such an amazing humanitarian effort to make change!

By Daniel B

Oct 5, 2020

Though this may be one of the more difficult courses of the Positive Psychology Specialization, I actually enjoyed it. Learning how to write your own hypothesis, design and implement your research, and to report your findings, was actually pretty cool. It helped me to understand the process fairly well, which resulted in me changing my original hypothesis statement and research design to better capture what I was trying to study. Learning the best way to review the research papers of others was very helpful. Great job by Angela Duckworth and Claire Robertson-Kraft in making this course enjoyable. Their enthusiasm for the research process as well as the way they utilized their own research study on the affect of "grit" was fantastic. It opened my eyes to what goes in to papers of that type.

By Jaymes P R

Aug 25, 2018

Have always been a fan and supporter for the research on Grit and I highly enjoyed the modules with snippets of lectures from Duckworth herself! I think this course deepened my understanding of Grit and also the weaknesses and limitations to utilizing the Grit scale (which I have never thought of before).

Also, for the other half of the course (Research Methods), I enjoyed the lectures on how to approach and understand research articles by Robertson-Kraft. I have taken many research methods and design courses in my undergraduate career, and this course was a great refresher! I also feel like an even more educated and critical consumer of research papers and especially of media representation (or misrepresentation) of research studies.

By LaCre' H

May 21, 2021

This challenging course taught me about my fear and perseverance and that I received my highest grade through pushing myself in something I knew nothing about before taking it. I procrastinated and did mental gymnastics to discover my strengths and overcome my fear of not being smart enough to finish this module; but I DID IT! Thank you Dr. Angela Duckworth and Dr.Claire Robertson for introducing me to the concepts of statistics and research methods.

The foundations of this course required me to reach beyond my fear and complete this class and gain more confidence than I ever expected of myself!

Thank You~

By Hiltrud K S

Jul 3, 2018

I have to admit that I had been slightly puzzled in the beginning - I am not a full-time student, in fact I haven't been for almost 30 years, and research methodology appeared a bit too far away from my own reality. But the more I learned the more I understood how relevant the thorough and critical glance at what we sometimes believe to be impacts and results of interventions can be. That this is exactly what differentiates successful from fruitless change initiatives. The course wasn't easy, quite the contrary. But it was worth the effort and really has helped me a lot in my HR endeavors.

By Kathleen B

Apr 1, 2020

Wonderful course. Very well done. The only suggestion I have, from an instructional design standpoint, Dr. Duckworth should do her videos in the studio and not in the classroom. When done in the classroom, the virtual student feels left out, we can not see the slides, and we can not hear the questions students are asking. Therefore, the students in the class become a distraction to the virtual student.

Thank you very much for the course I learned a great deal and will be working on ways to bring that knowledge to the instructional design process for online learning in higher education.

By Malva D R

Oct 19, 2020

This class was extremely beneficial. I have been away for the research domain for awhile and it was nice to read and catch up on what I learned many years ago. The instructors were very informative and explained the information in terms that made it easy to understand. The assignments, practitioner interviews, and examples were a complement to the lectures. I have actually talked to colleagues about what I have learned in the class and they wanted me to share the information with them on how to review a research article. Thank you. Malva

By Franco A B S

Jul 13, 2020

Excelente para aprender cómo observar un estudio científico con sus diferentes procesos y etapas. Además, sirve como curso de introducción para diseñar estudios.

Mi única recomendación que lo haría en dos meses y no sólo en uno, ya que es mucha información que necesita ser comprendida y aplicada. Eso mejoraría muchísimo este curso.

Sobre la Teoría de Grit, los conceptos son claros y precisos, por lo que uno sale comprendiendo 100% sobre este tema.


By iresha c

Apr 29, 2020

I am honoured to be taught by Prof Duckworth and Dr Robertson-Kraft. I have been extremely interested in the concept of GRIT and SELF - CONTROL; this course has been extremely helpful.

By Ellen F

Jul 27, 2020

This course is poorly organized. Lots of repetition and minimal information. It's the same info over and over again. Completely different than first two isn this series. If I wasn't going for the full certificate I would not have been able to make myself finish. Suggestions: Make the slides match the lectures, reorganize the program, and either teach more information or combine it with something else.

By Harbir S

Jul 27, 2020

I've read grit and I love dr Duckworth but this course was not like the others on positive psychology, this has a heavy research focus which was not relevant for me. I appreciate the need to understand literature but I'm not a fan of being forced to learn different methods which seems counter productive for most interested in learning about ways to thrive as opposed to ways to research.

By Mayra R

May 26, 2020

It would be helpful if the course name is more accurate to the content. The course is not about Grit or Character, not even the exams are related to this. This is about Research Methods and how they were implemented for Grit. Angela Duckworth's videos are not audible, professional or with rich content. My expectations were to learn more about Grit and this is not what I received.