Research Skills in Psychology 2

Module code: C8891
Level 4
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Laboratory
Assessment modes: Coursework, Unseen examination

The aim of this module is to introduce you to some of the skills necessary for conducting psychological research. This module focuses on the skills required for analysing the data obtained from experimental and quasi-experimental studies in psychology. It is therefore complementary to Research Skills 1, which focuses more on observational methods in psychology.

  • You will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of experimental and quasi-experimental methods used by psychologists, and will learn how to design methodologically-sound experimental studies.
  • You will be taught how to analyse data quantitatively, using statistical techniques. This will include learning about the logic behind statistical methods (eg probability, sampling distributions, sampling theory and hypothesis testing), as well as learning under what circumstances various statistical tests are appropriate. Various statistical tests will be taught, such as z-score based hypothesis testing; single and two-sample t-tests including independent measures and repeated measures t-tests; independent and repeated measures analysis of variance, ANOVA. You will be taught how to use SPSS and Excel to produce descriptive statistics and graphs, and do inferential statistics.
  • You will be shown how to produce a graphic poster and written reports of their findings and conclusions, using the discipline's presentation conventions, as set out by the American Psychological Association.
  • You will be taught various research-related IT skills, including how to make web searches, and how to use Excel and SPSS to perform statistical tests and display data.
  • You will be given some insight into the ethical issues that surround experimentation on human beings.

By the end of the module, you 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 a poster and lab-reports that conform to the conventions for published psychology journal articles, and you 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, and be able to present research findings orally
  • Use the Internet and library electronic resources to find relevant published research on which to base their coursework