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Module PMP-4004:

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Gemma Griffith

Overall aims and purpose

  1. Understand the place and importance of research, including research into mindfulness-based approaches, within psychology and health care.

  2. Appreciate and gain knowledge of different kinds of research, mainly those used in psychology and health care, including methodological issues and research terms.

  3. Understand the merits and appropriateness of different kinds of research for deriving inferences about mindfulness-based interventions, including practical issues and basic research terms.

  4. Understand the general body of research into mindfulness-based interventions.

  5. Understand ethical issues, both in health care and psychology generally and specific to mindfulness-based interventions, and the processes of getting ethical approval for research within the School of Psychology, and in health-care settings.

  6. Prepare for a Mindfulness-Based Approaches thesis by developing a research proposal, as follows.
    Students who decide during the Research module to submit an MSc thesis on mindfulness-based approaches, based on the collection of primary or secondary data and analysed either quantitatively or qualitatively, will develop an inferential research proposal in an area of the student’s choice within mindfulness-based approaches, including developing a rigorous yet pragmatic design for conducting the research.
    Students who decide during the module to write an MA thesis on mindfulness-based approaches will develop a descriptive research proposal in an area of the student’s choice, including developing effective and practical methods for conducting the research; these could be based on a review of the literature, and could include the student’s own experience.

Course content

This module is suitable for students with or without academic and/or practical research experience, who want to appraise existing research into mindfulness (both quantitative and qualitative) and to undertake research in this field for their MSc or MA thesis. Learning will centre on the evidence base for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy as published in the USA, UK and Europe. The emphasis will be on inferential research into mindfulness in health care, but the module is open to those working in other fields. Students will develop a range of research skills including rigorous literature review, research design, and the collection, management, analysis and synthesis, of data, as a basis for developing a research proposal for their MSc or MA Thesis in an area of their choice within the field of mindfulness. Experience of mindfulness practice is essential, and students will gain this by taking the module ‘Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Foundation’, either alongside or before this module.

Assessment Criteria



  • All parts of the assignment question are answered.
  • Entirely appropriate and accurate use of language.
  • Exceptionally clear line of argument and structure.
  • Each stage/section is explicitly and sensibly linked to the previous section and to the overall argument (i.e. clear progression and relevance)
  • Details integrated into a coherent whole with clear and well-argued conclusions.
  • Analytical in style and approach
  • Integrates a wide range of appropriate material and makes relevant connections between different parts of a given course or across different courses.
  • Critically evaluates the evidence in a logical manner.
  • Goes well beyond the information given in the lectures (and/or project meetings)
  • Shows clear evidence of extensive and relevant reading.
  • Has originality of exposition; the author’s own thinking is readily apparent.

Excellent understanding shown of the wider evidence base for mindfulness-based approaches, together with its context in health care and perhaps in other areas. In-depth analysis and insightful scientific appraisal of published research into mindfulness-based approaches are shown. Very comprehensive and accurate coverage, indicating that the student has gone beyond the core and recommended readings and understands the area in depth. Writes coherently with clarity of argument and expression. Originality of ideas and a clear understanding of practical research methodology are shown in research proposal for thesis.



  • All or most parts of the assignment question are answered.
  • Appropriate and accurate use of language, with very few errors.
  • Mostly clear line of argument and structure; so relationships between successive parts are generally easy to follow.
  • Integrates detail into a coherent whole and guides reader to a reasoned conclusion.
  • Good understanding of the material as demonstrated by a reasonably clear explanation of the issues in question.
  • Supports most assertions via theoretical justification and/or reference to relevant empirical research, showing evidence of some reading beyond the information given in lecture.
  • Fairly comprehensive in scope and largely relevant to the topic and issues.
  • Explanatory in style and approach, with some critical interpretation.
  • Good range of sources and data and careful use of evidence.

Comprehensive and accurate coverage, showing good use of lecture material and core readings, with evidence of some further reading, and demonstrating ability to appraise the evidence scientifically. Shows understanding of research methods applicable to, and the published evidence base for, mindfulness-based approaches. Research proposal for thesis shows some originality and detailed preparation.



  • Attempts to answer the question directly but lapses occasionally into irrelevancies.
  • Generally accurate but some omissions and errors.
  • Tends to make assertions without clear supporting evidence or reasoning.
  • Has a somewhat loose line of argument; gives information that is mostly relevant but often does not explain why it is relevant.
  • Often relies on the reader to form links between successive parts.
  • Answer based largely on lecture material or on one or two essential readings.
  • Descriptive in style and approach, more than analytic.

Reasonably comprehensive coverage, indicating generally accurate understanding, based on lecture material and core readings only. Limited critical appraisal. Straightforward research proposal for thesis.

Learning outcomes

  1. Assess which research methods and methodologies are appropriate to mindfulness-based interventions.

  2. Understand research methods and methodologies used within psychology and health care.

  3. Understand theoretical and practical issues in research, including ethical issues; this includes (for students writing an MSc thesis proposal) the processes of getting ethical approval.

  4. Develop an inferential research proposal, with appropriate design, and suitable research and analytical methods, for the Mindfulness-Based Approaches MSc thesis.


    Develop a descriptive research proposal, with appropriate design, and suitable research methods, for the Mindfulness-Based Approaches MA thesis.

  5. Critically appraise existing research into mindfulness-based interventions.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Assignment 1

. Conduct a literature review of research into mindfulness-based approaches in a specialist area of your choice. Critically appraise the research methods used in your chosen studies.
2,500 words

The review must include the following: a) A critical appraisal of the methods used including the research hypotheses, participant sampling and demographics, measures, procedures, statistical analyses and conclusions. b) At least six peer-reviewed studies must reviewed and critically appraised.

ESSAY Assignment 2

. Submit a research proposal for an MSc or MA thesis in mindfulness-based approaches. Max. 2,500 words

(Showing evidence of Learning Outcomes 3, 4, & 5)

The proposal must include the following: a) If you are doing an MSc empirical study, include at least six peer-reviewed article references b) If you are doing an MA, or a literature review (MSc) include at least ten peer-reviewed article references
c) Please note that the proposal subheadings differ according to whether you are doing an empirical MSc, a literature review, or an MA. Ensure you use the correct subheadings for your project – all of them can be found in this handbook.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Lectures, small group work, 5 8 hour days


Students get 3 x 30 minute tutorials to support their study

Private study

Research and assignments


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Reading list


Courses including this module