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Psychology Dissertation

  • Module code: PS7000
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 60
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

The dissertation project will be based on a critical literature review addressing complex and contradictory evidence and will usually require carrying out an empirical study using one or more methodologies of data collection such as experiments, observation, psychometric testing, surveys and questionnaires, interviews and field studies. In all cases, the dissertation will involve the analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data, as well as the presentation and critical evaluation of research findings. Through independent study and meetings with a project supervisor, the dissertation project will allow students to better understand the role of research methodologies, theoretical considerations and ethical issues in psychological research.

Aims

  • To provide students with an in-depth knowledge of a specific and detailed area of psychology;
  • To develop students' ability to critically review and analyse theoretical claims and empirical evidence;
  • To provide students with the key skills and knowledge required for designing and carrying out an empirical piece of research in psychology.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate knowledge of empirical and theoretical evidence, lacunae and contradictions in a complex and specialised area of psychology;
  • Account for the different stages involved in conducting an empirical piece of psychological research;
  • Conduct a competent analysis of their results and report their findings in appropriate details;
  • Discuss the theoretical and practical implications of their findings with respect to their original research question and existing evidence.

Curriculum content

  • Empirical research in psychology
  • Doing a literature review
  • Designing, planning, and carrying out an empirical piece of psychological research (protocol and ethics)
  • Writing up the dissertation

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be delivered through 5 two-hour weekly interactive lectures, which will introduce students to key skills required to conduct an advanced piece of psychological research and allow them to practice those skills with in-class and guided independent exercises. At the start of week 7, students will be allocated to a project supervisor. Students will then be given 8 hours of scheduled supervisory meetings over the course of the module to support them in the planning and implementation of their research project, monitor progress, and provide formative feedback on their practical research skills.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures 10
Scheduled learning and teaching Supervision 8
Guided independent study Independent study 582
Total (number of credits x 10) 600

Assessment strategy

Learning will be assessed via a pdf of a research poster worth 10% of the final mark and a 12,000-word dissertation worth 90% of the final mark. The poster  will be expected to includethe rationale for their study, its general aim and specific objectives and the methodology to be employed, research findings and a short summary and discussion of the findings. The dissertation will consist of distinct sections that reflect the stages in the research process: a literature review introducing the problem under investigation, including its historical antecedents and a statement of the purpose of the study, a method section describing the procedures used to collect data, a results section reporting findings and analyses, and a discussion section presenting a summary, interpretation, and implications of the results. In addition, learning will be assessed formatively through blended learning activities and an interim report approximately half-way through the module.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate knowledge of empirical and theoretical evidence, lacunae and contradictions in a complex and specialised area of psychology; Formatively through the lectures, supervision meetings, and the interim report; and summatively through poster and the dissertation.
Account for the different stages involved in conducting an empirical piece of psychological research; Formatively through the lectures, supervision meetings, and the interim report; and summatively through poster and the dissertation.
Conduct a competent analysis of their results and report their findings in appropriate details; Formatively through the lectures, supervision meetings, and the interim report; and summatively through poster and the dissertation.
Discuss the theoretical and practical implications of their findings with respect to their original research question and existing evidence. Summatively through the dissertation and poster

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework Poster 10
Coursework Dissertation 12000 words 90
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

Cone, J. D. & Foster, S. L. (2006) Dissertations and theses from start to finish: psychology and related fields (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Bibliography recommended reading

Hart, C. (2005). Doing your masters dissertation: realizing your potential as a social scientist.  London: Sage.

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