SHE Level 6
SCQF Credit Points 60.00
ECTS Credit Points 30.00
Module Code MDC822197
Module Leader Barbara Duncan
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Research Enquiry in Counselling Psychology 1 Module MDC822205

Summary of Content

This module will provide doctoral trainees with an in-depth examination of the three main genres of Counselling Psychology research. The module is divided into two elements, a taught component (comprising of three short research schools) and an independent research element involving the initiation, development and formal design of a major study in Counselling Psychology. The taught component of the module is divided into three sections: Qualitative Research, Quantitative Measurement, and Quantitative Research Design. (a) The Qualitative Research section includes extended coverage of relevant philosophy of science issues, current issues in qualitative interviewing, qualitative observation alternative, and advanced qualitative data analysis. (b) The Quantitative Measurement section covers descriptive (as opposed to causal) quantitative research, including conceptual analysis, psychometric theory, measure construction and design strategies, and psychometric data analysis (reliability, factor analysis, Rasch analysis). (c) The Quantitative Research Design submodule offers an in-depth understanding of concepts of causality in Counselling Psychology and individual and group designs for assessing therapy outcome and process, and causal relationships between process and outcome; both randomized clinical trials and systematic single case study methods will be addressed. These three genres offer complementary approaches for answering the key research questions relevant to counselling psychology practice and offer different opportunities for research-practice integration. Students will then apply what they have learned in the taught element to their own research, in the independent element of the module.


Qualitative Research 1. General issues: science as a value/ethical system; research & practice; appropriate methods framework 2. Philosophy of science: epistemological perspectives: truth criteria; research paradigms; describing, understanding & explaining; foundations of qualitative measurement 3. Qualitative data collection: sampling; interviewing and focus groups; observation and text-based methods 4. Qualitative data analysis: generic approach; grounded theory; Nvivo; hermeneutical/interpretive methods 5. Standards for evaluating qualitative research; cross-cultural issues Quantitative Measurement 1. Conceptual analysis of psychological constructs 2. Psychometric theory: reliability, validity; generalisability theory 3. Quantitative scale construction strategies; factor analysis; item response theory 4. Strategies for observing/measuring behavior and interaction Quantitative Counselling Research Design: 1. Principles of causal inference: modes of explanation; design validity criteria 2. Group designs: correlational, causal modeling; experimental & quasi-experimental; control groups; EBP 3. Single case designs: experimental & systematic single case 4. Sampling strategies: traditional and alternative; sample size & power analysis 5. Quantitative data analysis: exploratory; evaluation of effects; clinical significance, equivalence analysis

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to: 1 Articulate a research question that is relevant and meaningful to the field of psychological therapies research2 Critically analyse the larger philosophical context and assumptions underlying different research paradigms3 Consider, and critically analyse, rigorous qualitative research methods4 Consider, and critically analyse, psychometric and quantitative measurement research methods5 Consider, and critically analyse, systematic single case study designs6 Consider, and critically analyse, controlled group studies of therapy/counselling outcome7 Demonstrate an in-depth capacity to design, and describe, a research study based on a chosen research method8 Demonstrate a critical understanding of ethical issues pertaining to a chosen research design

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This is principally an independent learning module, supported through individual supervision. In addition, there are three research methods workshops which employ a mixed teaching/learning strategy designed to help students bridge research and practice and to prepare them for carrying out their own supervised research project. At the commencement of the module, students will identify a research topic to carry forward through the module, as they apply each of the three genres of research covered to their topic. Teaching activities will include (a) readings; (b) in-class lectures; (c) research consultations on students' chosen topic; (d) research journal; and (e) research mini-proposals for each of the three areas of focus. They will then carry this work forward, using individual research supervision, in which support, consultations, and additional practical information will be offered as needed.

Indicative Reading

Barker, C., Pistrang, N., & Elliott, R. (2003). Research methods in clinical psychology: An introduction for students and practitioners , 2nd Edition (2nd ed). Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons. Cooper, M. (2008). Essential research findings in counselling and psychotherapy: The facts are friendly . London: Sage. Elliott, R., Fischer, C., & Rennie, D. (1999). Evolving guidelines for publication of qualitative research studies in psychology and related fields. British Journal of Clinical Psychology , 38, 215-229. Elliott, R., Slatick, E., & Urman, M. (2001). Qualitative change process research on psychotherapy: Alternative strategies. In: J. Frommer and D.L. Rennie (Eds.), Qualitative psychotherapy research: Methods and methodology (pp. 69-111). Lengerich, Germany: Pabst Science Publishers.] Elliott, R. (2002). Hermeneutic single case efficacy design. Psychotherapy Research , 12, 1-20. McLeod, J. (2005). Doing Counselling Research (London: Sage).

Transferrable Skills

The ability to use group and individual research supervision the capacity to critically review an existing body of literature and devise, from it, a proposal for original research the ability to evaluate the range of different ersearch methodologies and develop a rationale for selecting the most appropriate the ability to write an effective and comprehensive research proposal the ability to write a literature review to publishable standard and format

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 30.00
Tutorials (FT) 7.00
Assessment (FT) 100.00
Independent Learning (FT) 463.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 50% 10,000 word research proposal