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

1,076 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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26 - 50 of 316 Reviews for Positive Psychology: Character, Grit and Research Methods

By Jigar V

Mar 7, 2021

One of the worst course structures I have come across. This was such a disappointment. The way the course is laid out is so confusing. The way Research as a subject has been spread out, it is in bits and pieces. Neither do I get a full idea of it nor in parts. I felt cheated that I am paying so much and I have not been able to take back anything worthwhile from this specialization.

Grit - is a good topic to understand. The idea of marrying Angela Duckworth's videos with the course was by far the biggest errors. The material kept shifting from Research to her classroom lectures. So many videos of her classes are so incomplete - hardly able to decipher what is being told and what are we to learn of the topic. Her sessions were inaudible too - very low on volume and a lot of things spoken of that didn't have a context to refer to. As suggested by others, this should have been a combination of all her videos in a single week for a far better understanding.

The other videos had the facilitator speaking so fast - as though she was reading the material out of her screen and everything was going on as a recording. Nothing was spoken with the view to teach but just to apprise people of the knowledge on Research. I took 3 months myself to finish this course because I lost interest in the first few videos. Spent time and money but the grit to finish this course was so poor. No passion and no pleasure even in perseverance.

My request to Coursera - please re-visit this part of the course. It has been very very poorly done and laid out. The first 3 modules speak of hypothesis, data collection, data analysis and suddenly the 4th module speaks of Research Design - which was so difficult to connect with all that was taught in the first 3 weeks. I had to google most of the topics to understand why Research Design came in last and none of the videos spoke of how to relate to what has been taught already.

In my opinion - very very disappointed. I really wish this was an optional subject I could drop off than to specialize in. Good luck to those who do not have an option to let go of this.

By Resha H

May 29, 2020

Either the class is on grit OR research. Not both. It felt like I was taking two classes. One that interested me, and one that didn't.

I was interested in the grit side, not the research side. There should be a class just on grit and then a class just on research, this way people who are interested in the subject they want to learn about can focus on just that topic. As an educator myself, having things so choppy was very disorientating to the learning process.

I feel like this class was not put together very well in any sense. All the quiz questions were about research and not about grit. All of the prompts were about research and not about grit. There were not enough videos on grit. If you want to study research, this is probably the class for you. The lecturer explained research very well. If you don't want to study research and you just wanted to learn about grit, this class is not for you.

Lastly, the certificate is not signed by the instructors. Literally "signature" in cursive is written where the signature is supposed to be, and where the instructors name is supposed to be it says "John Doe". The whole class is half baked in my professional and educational opinion.

I lost all motivation to finish the specialization and found myself not really investing in this MOOC. I just did as little as I possibly could to get the class over with to move on to the next course. By the time I started the next course, I had lost interest, thought I still plan to finish since I already invested so much time and some money. Ironically, I have to use grit and motivation to continue what I set out to do. I would only recommend this MOOC for those who want to study research. I would not recommend this course for anyone who wants to learn about Positive Psychology.

By Edith R

Mar 4, 2018

Lectures that were rushed and often left out adequate examples, incorrect information on an in-lecture slide, link to page with poorly written notes, discussion forums for "vetting" ideas where almost no discussion activity or learning occurred, rubric that did not fully match project instructions...

I love the idea of this class, but I think it could have been a much better experience. I had to spend a lot more time to do a lot more research online in order to try to understand the material. I got 100% on all my assignments but I never felt confident that I actually understood the material. I got the impression my peers were more confused than I was based on what I saw. I love the idea of including other researchers' experiences, but the interview snippets didn't align with the concepts enough and they ended up not feeling helpful.

By Gregg H

Aug 11, 2017

This is a poorly taught course by both instructors. Angela Duckworth needs to have a microphone that keeps on broadcasting while she turns her head. Each time she turns her head and walks around the room the sound varies too much for her to be heard. I thought the course would teach me how to be grittier and how to survive the rough parts of life. The other instructor, although she has great zeal for teaching, talks way too fast for me to take notes and actually absorb anything she says. This course is a total waste of time unless you love statistics, which I don't. I would love to drop the course if there were a way to do so. Avoid this course at all costs. Poorly executed and not user friendly at all.

By Justin P

Apr 13, 2018

The research work was incredibly dull. The main points could have been covered in two sessions, the Duckworth sessions were sometimes incongruous add-ons and the readings/linked websites were often poorly written. I can only hope this is the dud course we have to endure in the middle of four excellent modules ...

By Yashowardhan C

Sep 29, 2017

I had joined this course to learn more about Grit. Sadly, the course barely had anything on grit. Rather, the course appeared to have focused on Research Methods more.

Anyone looking for Grit, may not like to take this course.

By Ramon L

Jun 26, 2017

Angela should prepare her presentations not have somebody film her while she gives a class in the middle of a lecture. At the end some of her lectures and those of the practitioners did not have transcripts posted.

By Ana M M

Dec 17, 2017

very interesting theme, not much interest from the teacher in doing a personalized MOOC.

By Angie B

Nov 1, 2017

Too much investigation and just a litlle bit on grit


Nov 12, 2019

Such a tedious course.

By James K

Jul 14, 2022

I completed this course as part of the positive psychology specialisation. However, the biggest takeaway for me was a better understanding of when to trust information that is "scientific" and when to question it.

I am not a scientist but this course has helped me better structure research in the workplace and also better know when and how to question information that is presented in the media, business groups and professional organisations.

The way the course was presented challenged me to think and also really highlighted the relevance of the lessons whie also keeping the content interesting and enjoyable.

By H. B

Dec 29, 2020

I really liked this course. This class was very different than the other courses in the specialization. It was more scientific and research-based as expected but has a lot of important and applicable information, easy to follow while assessing and developing research studies. I felt the direct application with the coursework was useful and interesting to investigate a topic in our own area of research. Thank you!

By Benjamin S

Jul 12, 2017

Interlacing Grit and Research Methods was a very clever idea and resulted in much more palatable experience of the research methods content. Usually this aspect of science is very dry and this approach made it the best implementation of a Research Methods program I have seen to date. Angela is also very entertaining, practical and I could sit and listen to her wisdom for days at a time without getting bored.

By Sinead P

Sep 22, 2022

Although this was the most challenging out of the "Foundations of Positive Psychology Specialization", I really enjoyed this course. It is quite academic in terms of the research methods but it gave me a great insight into what statistical understanding one would need to have in order to study further. I also thoroughly enjoy Angela Duckworth as a lecturer who is very accessible and genuine.

By Marie G G

Sep 6, 2020

Many thanks to all of you. I was able to get financial assistance for this course. I am applying the concepts that I have learned both in teaching and in counseling. Thank you for supporting students coming from developing countries. Words cannot measure our deep appreciation for your kind gesture.

The course is indeed helpful as I can create programs based on research evidence.

By Derek T

Aug 14, 2017

Very useful course and excellent preparation for my 2nd year of the MAPP. As I do not have a background in research methods this was exactly what I needed and covered lots of new terminology and what it all actually means. I feel a lot more confident about reading and understanding journal articles and have a much better idea of how to begin planning my dissertation. Thank you.

By Dr. H J

May 21, 2021

What a fantastic course to understand how to carry out research with the use of different methods. Both the instructors have explained the concepts very well.

I am honored to Coursera and the University of Pennsylvania for giving me 100% financial aid so that I can fulfill my passion to spread awareness about Mental Health through the Thumbs Up Foundation.

By Sameer R

Mar 20, 2018

This course has helped me clarify a lot of things regarding how to be gritty and how to persevere through obstacles.I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn the same.The teachers are tremendous and explain the workings behind the topics in a simple and an easily understandable manner.The reference material is deep and diverse.

By Marc V H

May 21, 2019

Provides an easy to understand introduction to research methods in the social sciences. Knowing that this is a rather dry topic, the module includes a variety of teaching media to closely tie in the theory with real world practices. Possibly an underestimated module because of the subject matter, but highly valuable to any serious practitioner.

By Hanny F M

Nov 18, 2019

Claire is truly amazing, she could explain the research design and all related to research in a friendly way so I am able to get a better understanding of research. In addition, she had taught me how to read the research article. I really enjoy taking courses organized by Coursera and for sure this makes me want to visit UPenn as well soon!!

By Usha R

Nov 8, 2020

Teaching research and statistical analysis to a beginner is no easy task. Though initially the Course seemed difficult, being exposed to the same content of research often to learn of the various statistical terms and their significance only improved our understanding the subject. Thanks to Dr.Angela Duckworth who made the study so simple.

By Raihanah M M

Dec 1, 2018

This course really pushed me to develop something concrete that i could research into within the domain of positive psychology. I feel more confident going forward as a student of positive psychology, specifically reading and researching into my area of interest because of the tools and skill-sets introduced in this course. Thank you!

By Wayne B

Oct 11, 2021

For those of us that are not research professionals, the course lives up to its name and requires Grit to push through to the end. I noticed a split between the students. Some minimalists writing barely enough in their assignments to be coherent, while others provided meaningful responses and created interest for the evaluator.

By Ben

Dec 10, 2018

This was one of the best courses I have attended. The theory is very well organised and there is a focus on applied positive psychology with many real-life examples to illustrate the theory. This could have been a very dry statistics course, but Claire, Angela & colleague researchers made the course material very engaging.

By Luiza W A

Aug 8, 2020

If you are looking for a course for methodology 101, that is your course! Very well explained and if examples. There is not as much about positive psychology as in the others courses of this series, although, it is really good if you want to understand methodology or you intend to become a researcher in this field.