SHE Level 6
SCQF Credit Points 60.00
ECTS Credit Points 30.00
Module Code MDC824548
Module Leader Kerri McPherson
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Analytical Methods and Advanced Research in Applied Psychology 1 or equivalent.

Summary of Content

This module is designed to develop students' advanced research knowledge, understanding and skills. It builds on prior learning by providing students with the opportunity to gain a deeper and wider conceptualisation of research design, sampling, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, synthesis of evidence and the critical appraisal of the research process. The focus is on using research as the primary means of informing applied psychology practice. Accordingly, students will further develop their systematic reviewing skills and the ways in which they can apply findings from reviews to inform their own practice and the practice of applied psychology more broadly. In addition, students will be supported to develop competence as an independent researcher in applied psychology. Using learning from the module, they will conceive a major research project that is purposively designed to link the existing literature base with new knowledge generation. The research proposal will be submitted as a grant application using an application template.


The module will explore the following topics: -360b7 Systematic review protocol development b7 Co-creation in research b7 Patient/Public involvement in research b7 Communication across stakeholder groups b7 Research designs - experimental, quasi-experimental, non-experimental b7 Thematic analysis b7 Grounded theory b7 Quality indicators in applied psychology research b7 Psychometric and Qualitative research and IPA.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to:1. Conceptualise an area of applied psychology practice requiring synthesis/evaluation/consolidation by means of systematic review.2. Execute a systematic review of the literature within an area of applied psychology practice. 3. Present an authoritative written account of a systematic review and the implications of the findings for future practice. 4. Show detailed knowledge in their domain of applied psychology by conceiving a research study that will illuminate understanding of principle theories, methodologies and/or practice.5. Demonstrate originality and creativity in the development of a grant application/proposal for a major research study within their domain of applied psychology.6. Show responsibility in project planning and research governance.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module is comprised of intensive learning blocks, weekly sessions (modified lectures and practical classes), and supervised independent learning. The intensive learning blocks are designed to facilitate simultaneous bi-directional engagement with theoretical knowledge and skills building. While these will cover particular research approaches (e.g., Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) they are designed to demonstrate to students ways in which they can engage with new research methodologies/methods in their own independent learning. This will allow students to individually tailor their engagement with research methodologies/methods presented in the weekly sessions to meet their own professional needs. In addition, students will receive up to 15 hours of supervision. It is anticipated that this supervision will include 10 hours of one-to-one supervision tutorials and an additional 5 hours of feedback (i.e. comment on written work). Supervision tutorials will be tailored to meet with needs of the supervisory pairings and may include face-to-face meetings, telephone/electronic support and email communication. When developing their research proposal, students are strongly encouraged to choose a research topic that is aligned with GCU's research excellence. This will provide a more meaningful learning experience by ensuring that students have access to expert supervision in a specific field. Moreover, students will have access to the resources of research groups.

Indicative Reading

Barnes, M., Cotterell, P., (2012), Critical perspectives on user involvement, Policy, Bristol. Bettany-Saltikov, J. (2012). How to do a systematic literature review in nursing: A step-by-step guide. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press. Boland, A., Cherry, G.M., & Dickson, R. (2014). Doing a systematic review: A student's guide . London: Sage. Bronson, D.E. & Davis, T.S. (2011). Finding and evaluating evidence: Systematic reviews and evidence-based practice . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cottrell, S. (2011). Critical thinking skills: Developing effective analysis and argument . New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics: And sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll (4th ed.) London: SAGE. Forshaw, M. (2012). Critical thinking for psychology: A student guide . Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. Gough, D., Oliver, S., & Thomas, J. (2012). An introduction to systematic reviews . London: Sage. Greenhalgh, T. (2014). How to read a paper: The basics of evidence based medicine . London: Wiley-Blackwell. Holly, C., Salmond, S. W., Saimbert, M. K., & Dawsonera. (2012). Comprehensive systematic review for advanced nursing practice . New York: Springer Pub. Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (2015). Designing qualitative research (6th ed.). Los Angeles, California: SAGE. Pettigrew, M. & Roberts, H. (2006). Systematic reviews in the social sciences: A practical guide . Oxford: Blackwell. Silverman, D., & Askews. (2013). Doing qualitative research (Fourth ed.). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Smith, J. A., Flowers, P., & Larkin, M., 1971. (2009). Interpretative phenomenological analysis: Theory, method and research . London: SAGE. Wallace, M. (2016). Critical reading and writing for postgraduates (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage. Reading lists will be updated on an annual basis with reference to relevant peer reviewed journals.

Transferrable Skills

On successful completion of the module students should be able to demonstrate the following transferrable skills: project design and management; systematic literature searching; literature synthesis/analysis; problem solving; methodological decision making; ethical and safety decision making; advanced communication; creativity and innovation; critical thinking; time management; writing for publication, grant writing.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (PT) 480.00
Assessment (FT) 60.00
Tutorials (FT) 15.00
Lectures (PT) 20.00
Practicals (FT) 25.00
Tutorials (PT) 15.00
Assessment (PT) 60.00
Practicals (PT) 25.00
Lectures (FT) 20.00
Independent Learning (FT) 480.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 1.00 40.00 50% 5000 word research grant application
Coursework 1 1.00 60.00 50% 5000 word systematic review