Social Research Methods in Psychology

Module code: C8300
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Laboratory
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

This module complements the term 1 module 'Discovering Statistics'. It has three components:
(a) statistical analysis for questionnaire construction and interpretation;
(b) observational methods;
(c) qualitative data-gathering and analysis.

There are two assessed empirical reports using some of these techniques, which will enable students to develop skills in research design, data-gathering and analysis and which will therefore prepare students for their final-year empirical research project. The statistical analysis parts of the module build upon existing knowledge of statistical theory (in both Year 1 and the term 1 module of year 2). Practical workshops complement the lectures by providing hands-on experience and guidance in using the methods, both with SPSS, and through small group work on relevant tasks. This module builds on knowledge gained in the core psychology modules C8511: Research Skills in Psychology 1 and C8891: Research Skills in Psychology 2. Students who are not enrolled on the BSc Psychology course at Sussex are expected to be familiar with the material covered in these modules.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theory and use of questionnaire design and scale construction, factor analysis, reliability analysis, moderation and mediation analysis. Conduct these analyses using SPSS.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practice of observational methods, including sampling issues, coding and inter-rater reliability estimates.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for, uses of and limitations of the following qualitative methods of data-gathering and analysis: interviewing, thematic analysis and discourse analysis.
  • Carry out independent research to address a psychological question using some of these methods and present their research in a written report following the conventions of the discipline (i.e. APA format).