Module PRP-4018:
Dissertation MSci

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

40 Credits or 20 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Thandi Gilder

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to provide students with first-hand experience of conducting psychological research. This module will build on their previous experience in PPP3001/PCC3001/PCC3000/PPP3000 to further develop their skills in collating and reviewing literature, experimental design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation. This module will also provide an opportunity to develop planning, organizational, and team-working abilities.

Course content

Students in this module will conduct a research study with the aim of further developing the theories explored in PPP3001/PCC3001/PCC3000/PPP3000 . Students will carry out a substantial piece of empirical research developing knowledge and skill in the following areas: defining a research problem with a testable hypothesis/research question; learning appropriate methodologies; planning and carrying out a study efficiently; demonstrating awareness of ethical issues and current codes of ethics and conduct; demonstrating the ability to reason about data and present findings effectively; discussing findings in terms of previous research; evaluating methodologies and analyses employed and implications for ethics; and collaborating effectively with colleagues, participants, and/or outside agencies.

Assessment Criteria


• Full engagement with the research process, including literature review, data collection and analysis, and report writing. • Comprehensive and detailed knowledge of key concepts with excellent understanding and original interpretation of theoretical issues and no factual errors. • Clear evidence of critical analysis and insightful evaluation of hypothesis and theory. • Depth of insight and clear understanding of research methods and clear appreciation of ethical issues, with no errors in statistical analysis. • Well-structured written presentations showing focus and clarity of argument and expression.


• Full engagement with the research process, including literature review, data collection and analysis, and report writing. • Adequate knowledge of key concepts with some understanding of theoretical issues but some factual errors. • Limited evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of hypothesis and theory. • Some understanding of research methods and appreciation of ethical issues, but some errors in statistical analysis. • Weak written presentation, but some evidence of coherent expression.


• Full engagement with the research process, including literature review, data collection and analysis, and report writing. • Strong knowledge of key concepts with solid understanding of theoretical issues and few factual errors. • Some evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of hypothesis and theory. • Some insight and understanding of research methods and clear appreciation of ethical issues, with only minor errors in statistical analysis. • Well-structured written presentation showing focus of argument and expression.

Learning outcomes

  1. Design and conduct a research study testing a psychological hypothesis

  2. Collect and analyse data gathered during research and draw appropriate conclusions on the basis of this analysis

  3. Present the research findings in a formal thesis

  4. Present research findings in a short oral presentation.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

The body of the dissertation should be between 6000 and 8000 words and no more than 8000 words. The end product should be similar to a scientific journal article.

ORAL Conference Presentation

Conference presentations will take place on 28th and 29th May 2019. You will be presenting to a small group of MSci students plus two markers. The exact date and time of your presentation will be published closer to the time. You will have 10 minutes to present on your dissertation topic with 3-5minutes for questions.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Laboratory 24
Private study 376

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • 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
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • 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.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • 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.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • 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.
  • Understand and investigate the role of brain function in all human behaviour and experience.
  • Carry out empirical studies by operationalizing research questions, generating hypotheses, collecting data using a variety of methods, analysing data using quantitative and/or qualitative methods, and present and evaluate research findings (under appropriate supervision).
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Use a range of statistical methods with confidence.
  • 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.
  • Use a variety of psychological tools, including specialist software, laboratory equipment and psychometric instruments.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: