SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 40.00
ECTS Credit Points 20.00
Module Code MHC823131
Module Leader Mairi Fleming
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • B (January start)-C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Applying Research Methods in Psychology (M3C823088)

Summary of Content

The student is expected to carry out a substantial and independent empirical research project under the supervision of a member of academic staff. The student is required to develop a topic area, research questions and/or hypotheses, and an ethically acceptable method, in consultation with his or her supervisor. A poster session is held around Week 7 in the second trimester of study. The final project is to be submitted around Week 11 of the second trimester of study. .


Each student carries out a substantial piece of independent study and research under the supervision of a member of academic staff. Planning for this commences at the start of the first trimester (or earlier) and the final project report is due around Week 8 of the second trimester. Students are expected to submit the application for ethical approval within 12 weeks of the start of the first trimester of study. Group sessions will be held on planning the work; conducting a literature review; preparing an ethics application; data analysis; and preparing a poster. Students are expected to keep in contact with their supervisors throughout the two trimesters, with a meeting around every two weeks (by arrangement, and according to the individual circumstances). Students who fail to keep in contact will be classed as non-attenders and may be prevented from submitting the final project.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Conduct a competent literature search, showing understanding of the manner in which historical and philosophical issues relate to contemporary psychological theory and practice, and a critical understanding of contemporary debates around the scientific nature of psychology. This is assessed both formatively in the first trimester of study, and summatively in the final project.2. From the literature search, form a coherent rationale for research questions, aims and/or hypotheses. An awareness of current philosophical debates around the nature of knowledge in relation to knowledge acquisition and theory should be demonstrated. This is assessed both formatively in the first trimester of study, and summatively in the final project.3. Devise an appropriate research method to address a particular research question and/or hypotheses. This is assessed both formatively in the first trimester of study, and summatively in the final project.4. Plan and manage a research project within a limited period of time. Project management is assessed formatively by the supervisor. 5. Prepare an application for ethical approval and obtain approval prior to data collection. Throughout, evidence will be sought of an understanding of ethical issues in contemporary psychology. Ethical applications are formally approved, providing an indicator of assessment. 6. Source or prepare research materials. This is assessed summatively in the final project.7. Recruit participants (including negotiation with 'gatekeepers'). This is assessed summatively in the final project and also formatively by supervisors.8. Collect data and prepare data for analysis. This is assessed summatively in the final project and also formatively by supervisors.9. Analyse data. This is assessed summatively in the final project.10. Write up a full report of the study in an appropriate academic style. This is assessed summatively in the final project.11. Give a poster presentation of their work. This is assessed summatively.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Independent study is supported by group or individual supervision with a member of academic staff. Tutorials, seminars, presentations and clinics are offered on literature searching, ethics, poster preparation, and research methods and data analysis. Students are encouraged to begin planning their project and arrange supervision prior to the start of their first trimester. Students are required to get ethical approval before commencing data collection and failure to get approval may result in the student being unable to complete the module. Formative assessment is integral to the teaching and learning strategy; students are expected to provide supervisors with a short written proposal (up to two pages) during the first trimester of study, and a more detailed rationale for the proposed study prior to submission of the ethics application.

Indicative Reading

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Davies, M. B. (2007). Doing a successful research project: Using qualitative or quantitative methods. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Denscombe, M. (2010). The good research guide for small-scale research projects. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press. Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th ed.). London: Sage. Field, A. P. & Gillett, R. (2010). How to do a meta-analysis. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 63, 665-694. doi: 10.1348/000711010X502733/pdf Fink, A. G. (2010). Conducting research literature reviews: From the internet to paper (3rd ed.). London: Sage. Howitt, D. (2013). Introduction to qualitative methods in psychology (2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson. McQueen, R. A., & Knussen, C. (2013). Introduction to research methods and statistics in psychology: A practical guide for the undergraduate researcher (2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson. Osmond, A. (2013). Academic writing and grammar for students. London: Sage. Pallant, J. (2013). The SPSS survival guide (5th ed.). Maidenhead, UK: McGraw Hill.

Transferrable Skills

Literature review: Able to search, analyse and report on academic literature gleaned from journal articles, books, on-line material and other relevant sources. Project management: Able to plan and conduct a project that involves negotiating with other people and accessing and working with research participants. Presentation: Able to plan, develop and give a poster presentation to an audience of staff and students. Ethical thinking: Able to identify, consider and deal with a range of ethical issues for a project.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 172.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Seminars (FT) 16.00
Assessment (FT) 200.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 80.00 n/a Final Project (8,000-10,000 words for quantitative projects and 9,000-11,000 words for qualitative projects)
Coursework 2 n/a 20.00 n/a Poster Presentation