SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 40.00
ECTS Credit Points 20.00
Module Code MHC825420
Module Leader Karen Thomson
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Research Methods level 3 or equivalent

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 student conference takes place in Week 7 in the second trimester at which the student must present his or her work, engage in their peers' work and attend a keynote presentation. The final project is to be submitted in Week 11 of the second trimester.


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 in week 11 of the second trimester. Students are expected to submit the application for ethical approval, if appropriate, 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

On 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 at the presentation and 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 and summatively in the final presentation). 5. Prepare an application for ethical approval and obtain approval prior to data collection/analyses. 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 presentation and final project).7. Collect/prepare data for analysis. (This is assessed summatively in the final project and also formatively by supervisors).8. Analyse data. (This is assessed summatively in the final project, with ongoing formative assessment by supervisor)9. Deliver a presentation (This is summatively assessed by supervisor at the student conference).10. Critically engage with peers' work at student conference. (Summatively assessed through reflection through conference feedback document)11. Write up a full report of the study in an appropriate academic style. (This is assessed summatively in the final project).

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

Br yman, A. (2016). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Davies, M. B. (2014). Doing a successful research project: Using qualitative or quantitative methods. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Denscombe, M. (2014). The good research guide for small-scale research projects. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press. Field, A. (2017). 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. (2013). Conducting research literature reviews: From the internet to paper (3rd ed.). London: Sage. Howitt, D. (2016). 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. (2015). Academic writing and grammar for students. London: Sage. Pallant, J. (2016). The SPSS survival guide (5th ed.). Maidenhead, UK: McGraw Hill.

Transferrable Skills

-360 1. Literature review: Able to search, analyse and report on academic literature gleaned from journal articles, books, on-line material and other relevant sources. -360 2. Project management: Able to plan and conduct a project that involves negotiating with other people and accessing and working with research participants. 3. Presentation: Able to plan, develop and deliver a presentation to an audience of staff, students and externals. -360 4. Ethical thinking: Able to identify, consider and deal with a range of ethical issues for a project.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 8.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 172.00
Seminars (FT) 8.00
Assessment (FT) 200.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 25.00 35% Present work at the student conference (poster or oral presentation) to an audience of staff, students and externals guests. Engage with peers' work at conference. Submit poster or presentation slides and a 250 word reflective feedback document.
Coursework 2 n/a 75.00 35% Final Project (7,000 to 10,000 words)