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Methods and Statistics for MSc Psychology

  • Module code: PS7001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module is a core module in the MSc Child Psychology and MSc Psychology fields. The module introduces students to the essentials of psychological experimentation and to a range of analysis techniques making use of basic and more advanced (e.g. multivariate) methods. Both experimental and correlational methods are considered along with appropriate techniques of data analysis (e.g. analysis of variance and multiple regression). Both theoretical and practical aspects of experimentation are discussed. The laboratory workshops combine formal teaching with sessions involving hands-on activities. Core factual material is provided via StudySpace with workshops being used to explain key concepts and techniques. The module provides an essential introduction to practical work in psychology, in particular for the MSc dissertation project.

Aims

  • To provide advanced knowledge of some of the major quantitative and qualitative methods used in psychological enquiry.
  • To present the principal concepts of statistics and psychological method.
  • To offer a grounding in the selection and use of appropriate methodologies.
  • To develop advanced skills in using computer packages for statistics.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Design and evaluate experimental procedures;
  • Demonstrate practical experience of a range of research;
  • Identify the underlying principles of basic statistical procedures;
  • Use SPSS to compute basic and advanced descriptive and inferential statistics;
  • Present appropriately and critically evaluate research findings in a laboratory report.

Curriculum content

  • The nature of the experimental method
  • Statistical inference
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Basic and intermediate statistical procedures
  • Advanced statistical procedures
  • Qualitative methods
  • Designing psychological experiments
  • Running psychological experiments
  • Writing laboratory reports
  • Use of different methods of data collection
  • Use of specialist software

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be delivered through 22 one-hour keynote lectures followed by two-hour workshops. Lectures will provide students with instruction in psychological research methods, including the use of statistics. During the workshops, students will gain hands-on experience with statistical and research tools. Students will also gain practical experience in the design and running of psychological experiments.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures 22
Scheduled learning and teaching Workshops 44
Guided independent study Independent study 234
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Learning will be assessed via (1) two laboratory reports. Lab report 1 will be a 1,500-word individual report and worth 25% of the final mark, and lab report 2 will be a 2,500-word group project, and worth 40% of the final mark; (2) two 45-minute in-class tests at the end of each teaching block, worth 30% of the final mark; and (3) 2 hours of research participation (240 research participation credits) worth 5% of the final mark.

The in-class tests will be designed to ensure that students steadily build upon their knowledge and skills in a progressive manner which encourages them to reflect upon what they are learning and see the connections between their growing skills and knowledge. During weekly workshops students will be given opportunities to practice answering similar questions.

The laboratory reports will assess students' ability to conduct research and report experimental findings using standardised procedures. They will also encourage the students to use and consolidate the skills they have acquired in the module. Students will be given feed-forward information to assist them in writing lab reports in their weekly workshops. Students' experience of a wide range of research designs in practice will be assessed through their research participation.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Design and evaluate experimental procedures; Formatively during the workshops and summatively through the lab reports and the in-class tests
Identify the underlying principles of basic statistical procedures; Formatively during the workshops and summatively through the in-class tests
Use SPSS to compute basic and advanced descriptive and inferential statistics; Formatively during the workshops and summatively through the lab reports
Present appropriately and critically evaluate research findings in a laboratory report. Formatively during the workshops and summatively through the lab reports
Demonstrate practical experience of a range of research; Formatively during the workshops and summatively through the lab reports and the research participation credits

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework Portfolio of Laboratory Reports 65
PRC Portfolio of in-class tests 30
Coursework Research Participation 5
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Field, A. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS. (3rd ed.). London: Sage.

Bibliography recommended reading

Dancey, C.P. & Reidy, J.G. (2011). Statistics without maths for psychology (5th ed.). London: Prentice Hall.

Field, A., & Hole, G. (2003). How to design and report experiments. London: Sage.

Howell, D.C. (2007). Fundamental statistics for the behavioural sciences (6th ed.). London: Thomson-Brooks.

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