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Psychology Research Methods 1

  • Module code: PS4001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: N/A
  • Co-requisites: N/A


This module is a core requirement for students taking psychology in level 4. The module will introduce students to key strategies which are used in psychological research, including designing an experiment, hypothesis testing, and statistical analysis. The main features of the module will involve the acquisition of practical skills in psychological research, learning how to apply and carry out statistical tests using SPSS, and how to report research findings.

Throughout the module students will design a research project, write a report of the research project. Students will also analyse and report a psychological experiment.


  • To present and discuss research design in psychology
  • To provide an overview of data analysis including statistics and SPSS
  • To provide the opportunity to learn practical skills needed to design, analyse and write up psychological research

Learning outcomes

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

  • Recognise basic issues involved in research design and statistics
  • Demonstrate an ability to use basic functions on SPSS
  • Produce a psychological research report

Curriculum content

  • Designing research: Conducting literature reviews and developing hypotheses; types of experimental, survey, and qualitative designs; issues of reliability and validity
  • Ethics: Ethical issues surrounding research design, informed consent, conducting research with vulnerable groups, the use of placebo control groups, and participant confidentiality
  • Data characteristics and Inferential Statistics: Measures of central tendency; measures of dispersion; the normal distribution; z scores; standard errors and confidence intervals; type I and type II errors
  • Relationships between variables: Parametric and non-parametric correlation tests; chi-square tests; how to use SPSS to conduct correlations and chi-square; how to interpret and report statistical findings
  • Comparing two means: Within-subjects and between-subjects t-tests; non-parametric alternatives; how to use SPSS to conduct t-tests and non-parametric alternatives; how to interpret and report statistical findings
  • Qualitative methods: Different types of qualitative data analyses; strengths and limitations of qualitative approaches; how to analyze and report qualitative data
  • Disseminating research: How to report quantitative and qualitative research in a variety of formats (poster presentation, oral presentation, and lab report); APA guidelines for reporting results; how to use SPSS, Word and Excel to create tables and graphs

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be delivered through a series of one hour lectures  and two-hour workshops. Lectures are designed to introduce students to the key features of research design and quantitative data analyses. Students will apply the knowledge gained from the lecture to practical examples and group activities during the workshop sessions. Students will also be guided in designing and developing  a small group  research proposal which address the different types of research methods introduced in the lectures and will present the results of this group project via a group presentation. The teaching and learning strategy is designed to enable students to learn key skills in research design, data analyses , team work, report writing, and presentations. 

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures 21
Scheduled learning and teaching Workshops 32
Guided independent study Independent study 247
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Learning will be assessed summatively via coursework comprising a 600 word individual research proposal (20%)  a group power point presentation (20%)  and a 1,000-word individual research report (60%). This will enable students to demonstrate the practical skills they have learnt with respect to designing, analysing and writing up psychological research. Explicit formative feedback will be given during the workshop sessions to enable students to practice, revise, and improve their work before the summative assessment is completed.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Recognise basic issues involved in research design and statistics Formatively through workshop activities and summatively through individual research project proposal and report and group presentation
Demonstrate an ability to use basic functions on SPSS Formatively through workshop activities and summatively through individual research report
Produce quantitative and/or qualitative psychological research report Formatively through workshop activities and summatively through individual research report

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Individual research proposal 20
PRC Group presentation 20
CWK Individual research report 60
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

Dancey, C.P., & Reidy, J.G. (2014). Statistics without maths for psychology (6th ed.). London: Prentice Hall.

Howitt, D, & Cramer, D. (2014). Introduction to research methods in psychology. (4th ed.) London: Pearson.

Bibliography recommended reading

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th ed.). London: Sage.

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

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