Module Information

Module Identifier
PS11300
Module Title
Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology
Academic Year
2018/2019
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)

Course Delivery

 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Report 1  1500 words  35%
Semester Assessment Report 2  1500 words  35%
Semester Assessment Group poster  500 word poster  30%
Supplementary Assessment Report 1  1500 words  35%
Supplementary Assessment Report 2  1500 words  35%
Supplementary Assessment Individual poster  500 word poster  30%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key principles of quantitative and qualitative research design.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of when to use and how to calculate a range of descriptive, and parametric and non-parametric tests.

3. Identify when to use different research methods appropriately.

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the need for and use of ethics in psychology.

Aims

This module provides an introduction to research methods in psychology, assumes no prior knowledge of psychology and provides students with a knowledge base for future study. It provides students with an overview of the basic terminology and concepts of both qualitative and quantitative research methods together with an introduction to research ethics and codes of practice.

Brief description

Psychology as a science; the use of qualitative and quantitative methods in psychology; principles of ethics in experimentation; codes of ethical practice. Experimental design and control.

Content

  • Quantitative research methods:
  • Experimental design and control; scales of data; distributions; measures of central tendency and dispersion; probability; levels of significance and hypothesis testing; one and two tailed tests; parametric and non-parametric statistics; Mann-Whitney U test; Wilcoxon signed ranks test. Related and independent t-tests. Frequency data. Kruskal-Wallis; Friedman. Introduction to ANOVA and correlation. Control of variables; counter-balancing.
  • Qualitative research methods:
  • Background to qualitative research; qualitative research design; introduction to thematic analysis.
  • Ethics:
  • Informed consent; deception; sensitive subjects; vulnerable participants; codes of practice.
  • Communication:
  • Literature searches; presenting findings; introduction to Excel; using tables and figures; developing arguments; referencing

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Application of number will be addressed throughout the module.
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 but within a context of assistance from both the facilitator and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their practical topics. The need to meet practical deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well. Students will be expected to reflect on their own learning processes which will be evidenced through the submission of a reflections sheet with all coursework assignments.
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 and PsychLit; PsychInfo). Students will be introduced to the use of Excel and Powerpoint. Students will be assessed on their ability to use Excel within the assessment criteria of the practical report.
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning projects, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of 3 practical reports will require that the student develops 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: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider case studies; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of four practical reports 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. Research preparation for a poster presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and choose appropriate research methods and statistical tests. These subject specific skills include: *Assessment of scientific methods in psychology. *Differentiation between quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry. *Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. *Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences.
Team work Practical classes will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to research topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 4