RESEARCH METHODS 1A: PHILOSOPHY AND METHODS

SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1C825406
Module Leader Birgit Schroeter
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
Trimester
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

None

Summary of Content

The module will consider the following topic areas - The genesis of science: The historical origins of the scientific method - Doing science: key concepts and processes of the scientific method - Critiquing science: exploring critical approaches to the positivist world view

Syllabus

The syllabus of the module is delivered in three sections. The first section will cover the historical and philosophical origins of the scientific method, e.g. in the ancient world and the age of enlightenment. The second section will focus on how to do science. Content in this section will be drawn from an introduction to the hypothetico-deductive model; key concepts in hypothesis testing (e.g. falsification; type 1 and type 2 errors); basic experimental design (e.g. sampling; experimental conditions; variables and levels of measurement); and communicating science (e.g. presentations; posters; and essays). The third section will question the positivistic world view by considering a range of alternatives, for example relativism and critical realism and introduce associated research methodologies.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to : 1. to describe the origins of the scientific method (assessed through the group poster) 2. to design a basic research study using appropriate terminology (assessed through the group poster) 3. to distinguish between quantitative and qualitative approaches to science (assessed through the essay) 4. to apply knowledge of the scientific method to published psychological studies (assessed through the essay)

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will consist of 12 two-hour lectures, and 11 two-hour seminars. Lectures will combine traditional teaching style with interactive elements (e.g. brief videos, a clicker quiz) that allow students to engage with a range of learning experiences. Seminars will be based on reviewing lecture content and structured discussion activities. In the seminars, students will take part in group based activities, for example engaging in joined problem solving and designing a group presentation on a historical figure in Psychology. This will foster peer collaboration skills. Students will apply the knowledge gained through the lectures to practical contexts by designing a poster for an imaginary research study that they will present to their peers for feedback before final submission.

Indicative Reading

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2013) Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. London: SAGE Brysbaert, M., & Rastle, K. (2009). Historical and conceptual issues in psychology. Pearson Education. Davies, M. B. (2007). Doing a successful research project: Using qualitative or quantitative methods. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Day, R. A., & Gastel, B. (2011). How to write and publish a scientific paper (7th ed.). New York: Greenwood Press. Forrester, M. (2010). Doing qualitative research in psychology: A practical guide. London: Sage Johansson, L. G. (2015). Philosophy of Science for Scientists. Springer. Sternberg, R. J. & Sternberg, K. (2011). The psychologist's companion: A guide to scientific writing for students and researchers (5th Ed.). Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Transferrable Skills

Students will develop -360 1. Academic writing skills 2. critical thinking skills 3. group work skills 4. oral communication skills 5. visual design skills.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 114.00
Seminars (FT) 22.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 50.00 35% Group Poster
Coursework 3 n/a 50.00 35% Essay 1500 words