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Module PRP-1001:
Research Methods I

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Helen Morgan

Overall aims and purpose

This module introduces you to the research methods and statistics used to study psychological phenomena.

Course content

Students will cover topics including: The Scientific Method, Ethics, Research Design, Descriptive Statistics, Inferential Statistics, Visualising and Interpreting Findings, Reporting Results. There are two components to your module. Each week during the semester there will be an online lecture to introduce a topic. To support this lecture, there will be a practical session where you will gain hands-on experience of research in psychology. The sessions involve discussions about a range of issues in experimental methods and statistics along with the opportunity to collect and manipulate data. Some of the activities will include designing research, undertaking data collection and analyses, using computer software to describe and analyse data, and learning how to communicate the results of research in written reports. There will also be an optional weekly online drop-in session, which students can attend for additional help. Each student should expect to complete 200 hours of work for this module across the semester (including scheduled classes, independent research, and completing assignments).

Assessment Criteria


Adequate answer to the question, largely based on lecture material. No real development of arguments.


Reasonably comprehensive coverage. Well organised and structured. Good understanding of the material.


Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theoretical issues.

Learning outcomes

  1. Conduct a literature review

  2. Experience data collection with a variety of experimental techniques

  3. Calculate and interpret basic statistical analyses

  4. Produce a well written research report that follows the guidelines of the APA

  5. Differentiate between the different experimental designs available for empirical research in psychology

  6. Demonstrate a basic understanding of statistics as used in psychological research

  7. Relate theoretical understandings of research methodology and design to live experience in participation in live research within the School

  8. Participate in discussions of research issues and findings

  9. Demonstrate a basic understanding of measurement, observation and experimental design as methodological techniques in psychology

  10. Become proficient in using the statistical package SPSS: correctly inputting data, running the appropriate statistical analysis, and interpreting the output

  11. Demonstrate the ability to productively work as part of a team by contributing, in the role of research participant, to the research conducted within the School of Psychology

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Research Report 35
CLASS TEST Weekly Homework 20
EXAM Final Exam 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy


The lectures introduce the topics which will be practiced within each seminar

Private study 159

Students work in small groups in practical sessions


Participation in research studies via the SONA student participation panel


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
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • 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.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

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.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Resource implications for students

Talis Reading list

Reading list

Starting Out in Methods and Statistics for Psychology: A Hands-on Guide to Doing Research. Victoria Bourne. ISBN: 9780198753339

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: