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Unit information: Introduction to Psychological Experiments and Statistics in 2016/17

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Unit name Introduction to Psychological Experiments and Statistics
Unit code PSYC10002
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chris Kent
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit provides training in the range of theoretical and practical skills used in psychological research. In this unit students will be introduced to a particular design-analysis strategy, and a topic area, and develop a piece of empirical work that integrates the two. During the unit, four key studies will be conducted based on the psychology units running concurrently: cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology and biological psychology. Each study will be prefaced by an introduction to the analytic technique that includes (a) a conceptual understanding of the epistemology, content and analysis relating to the proposed empirical work, (b) the specification of the studies theoretical content and study design, (c) the conduct of the data collection phase, (d) the analysis of these data, (e) the write-up of the results of that study in the conventional APA format. The order of the psychological experiments to be conducted will mirror the organisation of the lecture based units on the BSc (Hons.) Psychology programme providing linkage between the theoretically based lecture material and the empirical foundation of this theoretical knowledge.

This unit aims to: 1. To initiate, extend and consolidate the student's interest and knowledge in the integration of experimental design and analysis in the pursuit of psychological knowledge. 2. Introduce students to basic and intermediate methodological approaches to psychological research, through the application of specific methodologies to the study of psychological phenomena. 3. Develop an understanding of the role of empirical evidence in the formation of theory and how theory guides the collection and interpretation of empirical data. 4. Help students to understand the conceptual basis for investigative quantitative techniques and their relation to progress in psychological science. 5. Facilitate students to acquire a wide range of transferable skills including literature search, the asking and answering of specific, measureable and realistic questions, the use of relevant IT resources, and written and oral communication skills.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, the student will have:

1. Acquired a conceptual understanding of the basic forms of study design and the knowledge of when to apply these.

2. Acquired the practical experience of conducting research studies that implement these designs within the context of a particular psychological question.

3. Gained an in-depth appreciation of how the implementation of research designs influence the nature of the psychological investigation to be conducted.

4. Undertaken investigations of psychological topics requiring a quantitative approach and to have understood the varying requirements of each kind of quantitative analysis.

5. Undertaken the full profile of undertaking research by asking questions, designing a specific study to address a specific question, conducting a study on that question, analysing the data appropriately, and providing a written communication of the outcome of that process.

6. Planned and contributed to small-group discussion on these topics.

Teaching details

The unit comprises 72 x 1 hour lectures/laboratory sessions. Each student attends all sessions, and will work in small groups (n=6) for the design and data collection phases of the unit. Four research reports on the rationale, methods, analysis, and conclusions of the four psychological studies conducted are submitted.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment of 4 x 2000-word written research reports (20% each) and 1 x 1-hour MCQ exam (20%).

A reasonable attempt of all assessment must be made for the award of credit

Reading and References


American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Ed.). American Psychological Association.

Coolican, H. (2009). Research methods and statistics in psychology. (5th Ed.). Hodder Education: London

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th Ed.). Sage: London.

Harris, P (2008). Designing and reporting experiments in psychology. (3rd Ed.). Open University Press.