Module Information

Module Identifier
PSM0220
Module Title
Behaviour Change at the Tails of the Bell Curve: At-Risk, Challenging, Hard-to-Reach, and Diverse Po
Academic Year
2022/2023
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2

Course Delivery

 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Oral presentation (individual)  20 minutes & Q&A. Armed with a rationale for the why and what from coursework one, the student’s attention will switch to the “how.” Specifically, students will harness what they learned in component #1 to design a psychologically and behaviourally-informed solution to the “real-World” challenge at hand. Students will present their solution in a mini conference to an audience comprising their fellow students, staff, and interested parties from outside the module (wider AU and external).  40%
Semester Assessment Written report  As in semester one’s Transdisciplinary Dialogue module, our external stakeholders will provide example challenges that they face in engaging with this module’s sub-populations (i.e., “hard-to-reach”). Students will be tasked with selecting one of the options – or devising a hypothetical scenario that fits the related challenges faced by some other local organisation – and writing a scientific report which (a) critically reviews literature on the psychology of said population vis-à-vis the module’s behaviour change agenda/aims, (b) theoretically critiques organisational practices that are in the public domain to inform their own ideas, and (c) provides a critical recognition that tension that often exists between the behaviour change needs of a public-facing organisation and the realities of the target population. 3000 Words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Written report  As in semester one’s Transdisciplinary Dialogue module, our external stakeholders will provide example challenges that they face in engaging with this module’s sub-populations (i.e., “hard-to-reach”). Students will be tasked with selecting one of the options – or devising a hypothetical scenario that fits the related challenges faced by some other local organisation – and writing a scientific report which (a) critically reviews literature on the psychology of said population vis-à-vis the module’s behaviour change agenda/aims, (b) theoretically critiques organisational practices that are in the public domain to inform their own ideas, and (c) provides a critical recognition that tension that often exists between the behaviour change needs of a public-facing organisation and the realities of the target population. 3000 Words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Oral presentation  In the case of a failed module, students will resit the failed component(s). If they fail the essay, students will write a new essay based on a different stakeholder-identified challenge, as above; if they fail only the presentation component (#2), they will have to create a new piece of work – i.e., they will base it on an alternative stakeholder-identified challenge without having the essay to base it on; if they fail both components then they will resit both components and can link them together appropriately. ​  40%

Learning Outcomes

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

​​1. Apply a critical review of psychological literature to the design of behaviour change interventions with hard-to-reach populations.

2. Theoretically critique existing organisational practices in the pursuit of optimal behaviour change solutions.

3. Recognise the tension that often exists between the behaviour change needs of a public-facing organisation and the realities of the target population.

4. Communicate an application of theory and research to an academic and non-academic audience.

Brief description

Populations traditionally seen as at-risk, challenging, hard-to-reach, and diverse are of particular interest to behaviour change practitioners. It is not the case that strategies aimed at helping people make behavioural changes should be for “the mainstream” of society only. Indeed, large organisations such as Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda Health Board, Natural Resources Wales, and Dwr Cymru all have a responsibility to reach and understand people and communities too long considered “on the margins.” Behaviour Change at the Tails… will explore the individual differences and social psychology of those who self-identify or are deemed by social institutions to occupy such niche positions (or indeed, are “voluntarily marginal”); their perceived self-determination, the behavioural implications of such categorization (e.g., unequal access to basic goods and services), the outcomes associated with membership – e.g., health, economic, education – and their psychological impact. Moreover, in light of the topics covered the module will critically examine the specific mechanisms whereby different institutions and organisations – such as those mentioned above – currently seek to target their “hard to reach groups,” and offer novel psychologically-informed solutions. In its explicit focus on hard-to-reach or even neglected subpopulations of society this module will build on the core module foundations (Psychology of Behaviour Change; Risk, Resilience and Behaviour in a Changing Environment; Transdisciplinary Dialogue; Research with People) and be complemented by the psychology pathway option module (Implementation Science).

Content

Within the context of Behaviour Change at the Tails of the Bell Curve: At-Risk, Challenging, Hard-to-Reach, and Diverse Populations, module content will be theoretical, contextual, and applied. For example:

Historical, ideological, and evolutionary perspectives on marginalisation.

Personality and individual differences of sub-populations “outside the mainstream.”

Rural and community psychology.

The psychology of gender and gender identity.

Cyberpsychology in the digital age.

Trust in institutions.

Research with hard-to-reach populations.

How do different public-facing institutions and organisations currently seek to engage their “hard-to-reach groups”? (Knowledge and policy co-production).

Practices underpinning successful vs. unsuccessful behaviour change interventions in hard-to-reach populations.

Staff delivering these sessions tend to be Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE) and have postgraduate qualifications in teaching in Higher Education, meaning that they employ a variety of innovative teaching and learning techniques to deliver the content. The common factor in these techniques is their goal of helping students achieve Master’s level characteristics (in-depth and advanced knowledge, academic skills, applying research and critical perspectives to professional situations, etc.), as reflected in the overall scheme learning outcomes as well as this module’s.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
“Low-stakes” formative work will be completed throughout the semester to build students’ self-efficacy up ready for the summative assessments; feedback will be geared towards engendering adaptability and resilience, not just enhanced academic skills.
The realities of the context in question and the individuals concerned will need to be weighed against what the literature suggests could work. Students will learn about different ways of understanding behaviour and correspondingly diverse ways of conceiving of behaviour change strategies. They will be encouraged to identify which approaches they share an affinity with, deepening their philosophical self-awareness.
The module is based on a collaborative philosophy and will model the importance and good practice of coordination. Students will be expected to contribute effectively to the planning of and play an active part in group activities. Numerous group-based activities will occur throughout the semester, and a collaborative OneNote Class Notebook will tie it all together. In the assessed presentations classmates will be audience members and should treat each other with respect and professional courtesy
Each week will bring the opportunity to engage in creative problem solving during seminars that correspond to lecture content. Solution design to match evidence-based practices to the behavioural challenges faced by a specific organization and sub-population. Hence, identification of problems, factors which might influence the effectiveness of potential solutions, evaluating the strength of evidence for solutions, etc.
Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module. For example: *Assessment of scientific methods in behaviour change; *Differentiation between research methodologies and when to use each one; *Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches; etc.
Students will engage with external stakeholders to understand their needs. Communicating scientific material orally to science and non-science audiences. Preparing a written report on the processes involved in a creating a scientific presentation.
Reflection on one’s personal opinions, biases, communication styles, and more, is characteristic of the module’s agenda and will be nurtured in this module through the weekly schedule of activities.
All seminar and coursework activities will help students develop empathy (taking the perspective of others and reconciling it with their own), and place their thinking in a wider context. Critically evaluating the feasibility of applying evidence-based practices to address “real” (verifiable) challenges.
Online literature search and synthesis of digitally available literature. Use of social media to draw a picture of the ways that the subject is discussed on public forums. Use of a collaborative cloud space to facilitate sharing of resources and work (OneNote Class Notebook / MS Teams / Blackboard). Coursework created using digital software and submitted electronically.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 7