Module PPC-4001:
Research Skills

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Fay Short

Overall aims and purpose

This module provides the student with an opportunity to critically evaluate research influences on the practice of therapy. The student will gain a practical understanding of how to find and use research literature and begin to gain an insight into methods of gaining qualitative and quantitative data in original research work. They will consider the benefits and limitations of a range of methods, including consideration of empirical analysis and the role of the self in research.

Lecturers: Jacquie Don, Fay Short, Thandi Gilder

Course content

Topics covered in this module include: • Research and Therapy (Self-Assessment) • Finding Research Literature (Literature Reviews) • Accrediting Sources (Citations and References) • Dissecting Research Articles (Purpose and Structure) • Measuring the Mind (Research Measures) • Investigating the Individual (Samples and Populations) • Primary and Secondary (Systematic Reviews) • Individuals and Extremes (Systematic Case Studies) • Questions and Answers (Questionnaire, Interview, Focus Group Studies) • Recording and Reporting (Observational Studies) • Skills for Placement • Numbers and Stories (Validity and Reliability) • Ethical Research (Ethics Applications)

Assessment Criteria


• Good use of research skills to address a problem • Strong knowledge of research skills in counselling and psychotherapy • Clear understanding and mostly free of factual errors • Some analysis showing critical evaluation and links between ideas • Some originality in approach, interpretation, and/or voice • Some independent research • Coherent arguments with evidence for most claims • Focused and well structured • Good presentation with accurate and appropriate expression • Mostly correct format in appropriate referencing style


• Some use of research skills to address a problem • Some knowledge of research skills in counselling and psychotherapy • Understanding of the main concepts, but with factual errors in non-core concepts • Limited analysis showing only obvious points of evaluation and links between ideas • Highly limited originality in approach, interpretation, and/or voice • Highly limited evidence of independent research • Arguments presented but lack coherence with evidence for only some claims • Focused but with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure • Acceptable presentation with appropriate expression • Attempt at correct format in appropriate referencing style


• Excellent use of research skills to address a problem • Comprehensive knowledge of research skills in counselling and psychotherapy • Detailed understanding with no factual errors • Critical analysis showing evaluation and synthesis of ideas • Originality in approach, interpretation, and/or voice • Extensive independent research • Logically defended arguments with evidence for all claims • Highly focused and well structured • Excellent presentation with accurate and appropriate expression • Correct format in appropriate referencing style

Learning outcomes

  1. Review and evaluate research in therapy with a critical understanding of the value of empirical evidence for therapeutic interventions.

  2. Find, utilise, and critique appropriate therapeutic research literature.

  3. Understand different qualitative and quantitative approaches to research

  4. Critically evaluate the benefits and limitations of quantitative and qualitative research

  5. Critically appraise research risks within the bounds of appropriate ethical guidelines

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
CLASS TEST Classroom Exercises

Eight exercises across the semester, with the mean of the five highest grades forming the assessment grade. 50min per exercise Scheduled for weeks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 – must complete at least five by end of semester

ESSAY Literature Review

Literature review of 1500wds critically exploring published research and theory into a key issue in counselling or psychotherapy.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Your lecture will explore key issues relating to quantitative and qualitative research in counselling and psychotherapy.

Practical classes and workshops

Your computer lab will give you an opportunity to apply your understanding of research skills in practice.

Private study 58

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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Talis Reading list

Reading list

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. (2016). Ethical framework for the counselling professions. Leicestershire, UK: BACP. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. (2012). Anthology of research information sheets. Leicestershire, UK: BACP. British Psychological Society. (2014). Code of human research ethics. Leicester, UK: BPS. McLeod, J. (2015). Doing research in counselling and psychotherapy. London, UK: Sage. Vossler, A., & Moller, N. (2015). The counselling and psychotherapy research handbook. London, UK: Sage.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: