Research Skills in Psychology 1

Module code: C8511
Level 4
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Laboratory, Lecture
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

The aim of this module is to introduce students to some of the skills necessary for conducting psychological research. This module focuses on the skills required for analysing the data obtained from non-experimental studies in psychology, such as surveys, questionnaires and observational studies. It is therefore complementary to Research Skills 2, which focuses more on experimental methods in psychology.
(a) Students will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the methods that psychologists use in order to obtain data on behaviour (eg the advantages and disadvantages of techniques such as experiments, questionnaires and psychometric tests)
(b) Students will be taught how to analyse data quantitatively, using statistical techniques. This will include learning about the logic behind statistical methods (eg sampling theory and hypothesis testing), as well as learning under what circumstances various statistical tests are appropriate. Students will be taught how to use SPSS and Excel to produce descriptive and inferential statistics and graphs. Various statistical tests will be taught, such as Pearsons and Spearmans correlation tests, linear regresssion and Chi-Square
(c) Students will be shown how to produce written reports of their findings and conclusions, using the discipline's presentation conventions, as set out by the American Psychological Association
(d) Students will be taught various research-related IT skills, including how to make web searches, and how to use Excel and SPSS
(e) Students will be given some insight into the ethical issues that surround experimentation on human beings.

By the end of the module, students should be familiar with the techniques that most psychologists use in order to conduct research; be able to perform various statistical tests by hand and by the use of SPSS; be able to produce lab-reports that conform to the conventions for published psychology journal articles; and they should have started to be able to understand and critically evaluate the methodological aspects of published research.

Module learning outcomes

  • Analyse data using statistical techniques, both by hand and with SPSS.
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the methods used in psychological research.
  • Produce write-ups of research results, using APA conventions.
  • Use the Internet and library electronic resources to find relevant published research on which to base their lab reports.