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Unit information: Psychological Research Methods in 2018/19

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Unit name Psychological Research Methods
Unit code PSYC10010
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Fielding
Open unit status Not open




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


In this unit, students will be introduced to experimental and qualitative approaches to conducting research in psychology, and the data collection and analysis techniques associated with each. Students will design and conduct psychological research studies, and present their findings in both oral and written formats.

The aims of this unit are to:

  1. Introduce students to experimental and qualitative approaches to conducting research in psychology, and data collection and analysis techniques associated with each.
  2. Provide students with opportunities to design and conduct psychological research, and interpret and report findings according to disciplinary conventions.
  3. Facilitate students’ development of a range of transferable research skills, including sourcing and critically reading original research papers; asking and answering specific and feasible research questions; the appropriate use of relevant IT resources; and written and oral communication.

Give students exposure to the diversity of research being conducted in the School via their participation in the experimental hours scheme.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Outline the defining characteristics of experimental and qualitative approaches to conducting research in psychology.
  2. Design and conduct experimental and qualitative studies to answer specific and feasible research questions.
  3. Apply data collection and analysis techniques associated with experimental and qualitative approaches to psychological research questions, and justify the selection and use of these techniques.
  4. Interpret and report experimental and qualitative research findings according to disciplinary conventions.
  5. Describe a range of studies carried out by the School

Teaching details

Students will attend weekly 2-hour lectures and 2-hour laboratory classes. Lectures will feature a blend of traditional didactic presentations and active learning exercises. Students’ performance on a proportion of these exercises will be aggregated, and will be worth 30% of the final grade for this unit. In laboratory classes, students will work in small groups to complete the tasks necessary for the successful execution of psychological research studies. Full attendance at both lectures and laboratory classes is expected, and is essential for success in this unit.

Assessment Details

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive regular formative feedback via their participation in learning activities dispersed throughout lectures and laboratory classes. Participation in these formative activities will assist students’ progression toward the unit’s ILOs.

Summative Assessment:

  1. Weekly In-Class Active Learning Exercises (30%)
  2. Poster Presentation (30%)
  3. 2000-Word Research Report (40%)

Other Pass Requirements:

In addition to earning the requisite number of marks, to pass this unit students must (a) participate in the development and delivery of a group presentation; and (b) participate in a number of studies as a member of the school’s experimental hours scheme (or complete an equivalent written activity).

Reading and References

Students will be directed to weekly readings via Blackboard. The majority of these readings will be drawn from the list of recommended texts below. Links to further readings (e.g., journal articles) will also be made available on Blackboard and lecture slides where applicable.


American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

British Psychological Society. (2014). Code of human research ethics (2nd ed.). Leicester, UK: Author. Retrieved from


Aron, A., Coups, E. J., & Aron, E. N. (2012). Statistics for psychology (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Bourne, V. (2017). Starting out in methods and statistics for psychology: A hands-on guide to doing research. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. London, UK: Sage.

Breakwell, G. M., Smith, J. A., & Wright, D. B. (Eds.). (2012). Research methods in psychology (4th ed.). London, UK: Sage.

Coolican, H., (2014). Research methods and statistics in psychology (6th ed.). London, UK: Psychology Press.

Crawley, M. J. (2015). Statistics: An introduction using R (2nd ed.). Chichester, UK: Wiley.

Cumming, G., & Calin-Jagerman, R. (2017). Introduction to the new statistics. New York, NY: Routledge.

Ellis, P. D. (2010). The essential guide to effect sizes: Statistical power, meta-analysis, and the interpretation of research results. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Field, A. (2016). An adventure in statistics: The reality enigma. London, UK: Sage.

Forrester, M. (Ed.). (2010). Doing qualitative research in psychology: A practical guide. London, UK: Sage.

Haslam, S. A., & McGarty, C. (2014). Research methods and statistics in psychology (2nd ed.). London, UK: Sage.

Howell, D. C. (2017). Fundamental statistics for the behavioral sciences (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.

Howell, D. C. (2013). Statistical methods for psychology (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Howitt, D., & Cramer, D. (2017). Research methods in psychology (5th ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson.

Nicol, A. A. M., & Pexman, P. M. (2010). Displaying your findings: A practical guide for creating figures, posters and presentations. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Rosnow, R. L., & Rosenthal, R. (2013). Beginning behavioral research: A conceptual primer (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Smith, J. A. (Ed.). (2015). Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods (3rd ed.). London, UK: Sage.

Stinerock, R. (2018). Statistics with R: A beginner’s guide. London, UK: Sage.

Walker, I. (2010). Research methods and statistics. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.