module specification

PC4106 - Introduction to Psychological Research Methods (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Introduction to Psychological Research Methods
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 10
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 100
70 hours Guided independent study
30 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Report practical 1 (Method and Results sections only)
Coursework 50%   Report of practical 2 (complete report)
Running in 2020/21

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module aims to provide an introduction to the methods of psychological investigation, specifically:
• To develop students’ understanding of the link between psychological research questions and psychological investigation methods;
• To introduce students to some simple research designs and appropriate methods for assessing the data collected
• To develop students’ ability to write research reports in the format adopted by psychological journals.


Topics will include

• Basic issues in the design of psychological investigations
• Approaches to gathering data in psychology: experiments, quasi-experiments, observation, survey, interview, case-study, etc.
• The logic of experimental method; basic issues in the design of experiments
• Ethical issues in psychological investigations
• The structure and purpose of reports of psychological investigations
• Arithmetic summaries of data: summary tables, frequency tables, summary charts, frequency graphs
• Elementary probability and introduction to statistical hypothesis testing
• Statistical hypothesis tests for research designs involving (a) two independent groups of participants and (b) one group providing repeated measures in each of two conditions. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module provides an introduction to basic principles of research in psychology, including some basic experimental designs and methods of summarising and analysing quantitative data. The module is made up of lectures (screencasts and slides), data analysis tutorials (screencasts and supporting documents), self-test material, and practical work. The assessment for the module consists of two practical reports written in APA style and format. Students engage as researchers collecting small amounts of data for two simple experiments which are made available on-line. Upon submission of completed consent forms and data, students are provided with larger data sets to be used for the reports.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

1. Explain the link between the theoretical and conceptual context of an investigation and describe the methodological issues that it raises;
2. Write a report of an investigation in the format employed in psychological journals;
3. Use and comment upon a number of exploratory data analysis techniques with a simple data set;
4. Use and comment upon statistical methods to carry out simple hypothesis tests on experimental data;
5. Conduct some basic procedures in the SPSS statistical package in order to achieve outcomes 3 and 4.

Assessment strategy

Achievement of the learning outcomes is assessed by two equally weighed reports, one for each of two research studies in which the student collects some data and for which additional data is provided. Reports conform to American Psychological Association structure and style.


Core reading
American Psychological Association (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Field, A. (2017). Discovering statistics using SPSS (5th ed.). London: Sage.
Howitt, D., & Cramer, D. (2017). Research methods in psychology (5th ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited. [This book is available online via the library’s electronic catalogue]
Martin, G. N., Carlson, M. R., & Buskist, W. (2013). Psychology (5th ed.). London: Pearson. [This book is available online via the library’s electronic catalogue]

Additional reading
Banyard, P., & Grayson, A. (2007). Introducing psychological research (3rd ed.). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.
Howell, D. C. (2012). Statistical methods for psychology (8th ed.). London: Duxbury.
Greer, B., & Mulhern, G. (2011). Making sense of data and statistics in psychology (2nd ed.). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.