Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Psychology PGT Dissertation (Behaviour Change)
Academic Year
Semester 3 (Dissertation)

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written report  15000 Words  100%
Supplementary Assessment Written report  Students may be allowed to re-submit the research report (capped mark 40%) as decided by the examination board. 15000 Words  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Critically review relevant behaviour change literature to inform the design of an original research study and formulate novel research hypotheses or questions.

2. Apply an awareness of relevant ethical principles and issues to ensure successful approval of a project proposal by the Department's/University's ethics committee, and in the conducting of the research, handling of data, and subsequent write-up and dissemination of results.

3. Identify, justify, and appropriately use and describe sophisticated methods for data collection and analysis, and so that the study can be fully replicated.

4. Accurately and appropriately present the results, and critically interpret the findings in relation to theoretical principles and empirical research.

5. Evidence criticality and awareness of the broader research landscape when considering any limitations, implications and applications of the research and its findings and how the study can be developed in future research.

6. Communicate the findings in a written report that maximises and capitalises on the amount of words available to MSc researchers.

7. Document, maintain and be able to evidence an appropriate and rigorous record of the research process, from initial idea to write-up of the research.

8. Utilise self-directed problem solving and analytical skills to demonstrate progress as a learner, autonomy, and independent learning abilities, as necessary for continued professional development.

Brief description

Students will design and conduct a substantial piece of independent research that is novel, ambitious, and advances scholarship in behaviour change – as required of students of higher degrees. As such, they are expected to undertake the work necessary to design, plan, and run a study based on suitable hypotheses or research questions with the help of a supervisor. The supervisor's role is to provide guidance to the student throughout the project, but students are encouraged to work as independently as possible. The amount of time spent on the project may vary according to the nature of the study, however students should expect to spend at least 600 hours working on their project.


The following content will be delivered in dedicated teaching sessions during the first four weeks of the summer semester:
· The supervisory process: What students and supervisors can expect from each other; how supervision is provided and what it entails.
· Research ethics: Relevant regulatory frameworks (e.g., the BPS Code of Human Research Ethics, 2014), writing an ethics application, the principle of informed consent, avoiding ethical perils and pitfalls, etc.
· Research design, methods, and analysis refresher: A brief summary of the core module Research with People, to remind students of the relevant principles vis-à-vis their evolving dissertation ideas and give them the opportunity to brush up on their practical analytical skills.
· Writing up your dissertation: Focusing on the structural and procedural conventions of writing an MSc dissertation document, and associated rules.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
The taught content, ethical application/review process, and supervision itself, while geared towards helping the student produce a successful dissertation report, have the secondary aim of engendering adaptability and resilience.
Students will develop critical and analytical skills they can apply to all stages of the research process, from study conception through to dissemination of results.
Students are expected to maintain a professional relationship with their supervisor and contribute to its effective operation.
Independent project work and creative problem solving is one of the central goals of the module; students will have relative autonomy – and will be encouraged to demonstrate creativity – to solve a research “problem” of their choosing. The identification of a research topic with associated research hypotheses/questions will require the student to develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills.
The project is the culmination of student learning about behaviour change, developed throughout the degree scheme. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding of key aspects and concepts of behaviour change. Subject specific skills to be developed throughout the module include: Assessment of scientific methods in behaviour change; Differentiation between quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry and their appropriate use; etc.
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 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.
Reflection is inherently important in this module, as a large research project of this nature represents a substantial undertaking that foregrounds the need for self-awareness and reflection.
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 project. These include: project development; team working; time management; communication skills; numerical and literacy skills; presentation skills.
Online literature search and synthesis of digitally available literature: the project requires learning how to use scientific search engines to access scientific papers relevant to the research. Students will apply prior learning on how to use statistical analysis software or qualitative data analysis software. the statistical software package SPSS to a relatively professional level of expertise. They will have to prepare, input, and store data.


This module is at CQFW Level 7