Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Psychology Critical Review
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Other Students will be allocated a project supervisor and receive a one to one supervision sessions (approximately 4 throughout the project process).
Workload Breakdown No. of hours spent researching the literature, writing proposal and writing final report = 200 hours
Lecture 2 x 2 hour lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment proposal (500 words)  10%
Semester Assessment written report (4000 words)  90%
Supplementary Assessment proposal (500 words)  Students may be allowed to re-submit the research report (capped mark 40%) or as determined by the examination board.  If students fail the module overall, any failed component must be re-sat or determined as the Examination Board sees fit.  10%
Supplementary Assessment Written Report (4000 words)  90%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Demonstrate an ability to identify a research question in an area of psychology not taught elsewhere on the degree scheme.

2. Identify an appropriate strategy to identify sources of information for the literature review.

3. Critically assess the literature in the area and explore the implications of that literature for their research question/area of investigation.

4. Demonstrate their ability to identify and select sources of information and materials providing a meaningful contribution to the development of their arguments.

5. Critically evaluate their findings in relation to existing research.

6. Communicate their findings in a written report.


Although the coverage of the core areas of psychology is comprehensive and a number of option modules are available to students for some students writing a dissertation provides the opportunity to investigate an area of psychology which is not taught elsewhere in the scheme. The dissertation is an extended literature review that allows students to thoroughly examine the empirical evidence in a particular area of their choice under the supervision of an appropriate member of staff.

Brief description

Students are expected to undertake the work necessary to identify a research question/subject not taught elsewhere on the scheme and to critically evaluate the literature in that area with the help of a supervisor. The supervisor's role is to provide guidance to the student throughout the dissertation, but students are encouraged to work as independently as possible. The amount of time spent on the dissertation may vary however students should expect to spend at least 200 hours working on their report.


Content will vary with the area of psychology being investigated. Students will work with the module co-ordinator to identify an area for investigation and develop an appropriate plan of work. There are no explicit taught elements to this module.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Although students will not be conducting statistical analyses as part of this module their ability to understand the significance of empirical findings will be an important part of the investigative process.
Communication Students will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching. Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management as the dissertation is the opportunity to demonstrate the students skills in managing their time within a specified number of weeks. Students will receive support from their supervisor but will be encouraged to work autonomously. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance during the research process and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reference lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their dissertation. The need to meet a project deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science, PsychInfo and PsychLit). Students will use a number of software packages during the course of the module. Students ability to use IT as a skill integral to the presentation of the dissertation report will be assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning The entire module has direct relevance to personal development and career planning as there are number of key and transferable skills integral to the process of producing a dissertation. These include: project development; time management; communication skills; numerical and literacy skills; presentation skills. Students will be encouraged to further develop their APPR profiles throughout the research process drawing on their experience of conducting the project.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the identification of a research topic with associated research questions will require the student to develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: consider differing points of view; organize literature and associated data; consider case studies; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final research report/thesis will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of a report/thesis will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. A final research report/thesis will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken
Subject Specific Skills The dissertation draws on a number of skills related to student learning about psychology developed throughout the degree scheme. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding of key aspects and concepts of psychology. The subject specific skills will be developed throughout the module include: • Assessment of scientific methods in psychology. • Differentiation between quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry and their appropriate use. • Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. • Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences. • Conceptual understanding of the applied aspects of psychology.
Team work Not applicable as this is an individual piece of work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6