module specification

PC5001 - Research Design and Data Analysis in Psychology (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Research Design and Data Analysis in Psychology
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 308
145 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
163 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Unseen Examination 25% 40 Multiple choice examination
Coursework 20% 40 Practical report 1 (max 2000 words)
Coursework 20% 40 Practical report 2 (max 2000 words)
Unseen Examination 25% 40 90-minute, unseen examination
Coursework 10% 40 Draft Project Proposal (max 1500 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

PC5001 Research Design and Data Analysis in Psychology is a level 5 module designed to build on the work in psychological research methods students will have done at level 4.  It covers a range of quantitative and qualitative methods in psychology.  Assessment is by two practical reports, two unseen examinations and a draft project proposal.  Students work together in small groups to design and carry out practical work, but submit individual reports on each piece of work. 

Prior learning requirements

PC4008 Experimental Psychology and Research Methods

Module aims

The aim of this module is introduce students to methods of psychological investigation and to develop their ability to design such investigations, to understand the ethical implications of the methods used, and to assess the data collected. 
The module aims to develop the student’s competence in
1. working in a small group
2. designing psychological research
3. the implementation of agreed ethical standards
4. liaising with external parties, i.e. participants in the study
5. managing and analysing both quantitative and qualitative data and
6. reporting on the outcome of the studies to a standard determined by the relevant professional body.

Each of these aims is associated with general competencies that are highly valued in employment settings (e.g., communication, negotiation, numeracy, teamwork). The module also aims to provide students with the platform from which then can extend their knowledge, for example in conducting project work at level 6 and in the broader context after graduation.


Contrasting epistemological approaches in psychology. The design of psychological investigations.  Ethical implications of studies.
Quantitative data and analysis: The function of significance tests; the normal distribution; Testing hypotheses about a population mean and deriving confidence intervals using large and small samples; parametric and non-parametric analyses for between and with participants research designs with two groups/conditions;  parametric and non-parametric analyses for between and with participants research designs with more than two groups/conditions; analysis of data using bi-variate correlation and regression; the analysis of data in simple contingency tables; analysis of data for multi-factor designs; multiple linear regression analysis; modern approaches to data analysis.
Qualitative data and analysis: gathering data by interview, questionnaires and focus groups; observational methods; basic text analysis; reporting and evaluating qualitative data.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered via lectures, workshops and practical supervision classes.  Lectures will be used to deliver material on research design, specific methods of data collection, and data analysis techniques.  Workshops will be used to develop students’ research design knowledge and skills, to carry out analyses (in a computer laboratory using suitable software where appropriate), and to discuss examples from the relevant literature.  Practical supervision classes will be used to introduce students to practical topics. The practical work will be planned and carried out by students in small groups under supervision, but the assessed item for submission will be an individually written report.  The practical work will build on the work undertaken at level 4, with students working in small groups to replicate or partially replicate a published study for the first piece of work and then progressing to design two more original studies within broad areas to which they will be introduced in lectures for the second and third practicals.
Students will be expected to write up the outcome of analyses carried out in workshops to publication standard.  They will also be expected to engage in a self-directed manner with key texts and published articles to extend their knowledge and skills.

The activities in this module will contribute to the following key personal development areas :
(a) the ability to work with quantitative information
(b) the ability to extract key information from specialised data analysis software and present it in a form suitable for a non-specialist audience
(c) the ability to work within a small group
(d) the ability to extend knowledge and skills to tackle new problems beyond the specific topics covered in formal teaching sessions  through self-directed, independent learning.



Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

  1. design and conduct  a range of valid psychological investigations under supervision;
  2. analyse both quantitative and qualitative data collected in the investigations using appropriate methods and tools, for example specialist statistical or qualitative analysis software;
  3. write research reports for dissemination to the wider academic community to the widely accepted international standard (American Psychological Association).
  4. explain general concepts and principles associated with the design of research studies in psychology;
  5. give an account of underlying statistical concepts appropriate for the statistical practitioner;
  6. interpret appropriately the outcomes from statistical analyses from standard software packages and present the outcomes in a format appropriate for publication;
  7. interpret appropriately the outcomes of analyses of qualitative data and present the outcomes in a format appropriate for publication


  1. extend their knowledge of quantitative and qualitative methods by working independently from standard  texts covering research methods and research publications employing such methods

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed by two individually written reports of practical work covering both quantitative and qualitative designs and methods, a project proposal for a piece of research that would be appropriate for a final year undergraduate project, and by two unseen examinations, the first of which will be a multiple choice exam.  Students will complete three group practical work projects, the first of which will be assessed within the multiple choice examination, and the second and third of which will be written up as full APA format reports.  The multiple choice exam will also include assessment of research design, data collection, data analysis and ethics topics covered in the first part of the module. The 90-minute unseen examination will cover topics addressed in the second part of the module.    

Component Percentage of Marks Learning outcomes
 Multiple Choice Examination 25 2, 3, 4 and 5
Practical report 2 20 1, 2, 3
Practical report 3 20 1, 2, 3
90min unseen examination 25 2, 5 and 6
Draft Project Proposal 10 1, 4 and 6



American Psychological Association (2010). Concise Rules of APA Style. (6ed|) Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. [core]
Aron, A. Aron, E. and Coups, E. (2008) Statistics for Psychology (5th ed).  Pearson Education Limited
Breakwell, G. M., Hammond, S., Fife-Schaw, C. and Smith J. A.  (eds). (2006). Research methods in psychology. (3rd ed) London: Sage
Field, A. (2009). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS (3rd ed). London: Sage. [core]
Flick, U. (2006). An Introduction to Qualitative Research (3rd ed). London: Sage.
Howell, D.C. (2009). Statistical Methods for Psychology (7th ed). Belmont, CA: Duxbury Press.
Howitt, D. & Cramer, D. (2011). Introduction to research methods in psychology (3rd ed). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Kinnear, P. R. and Gray, C. D. (2011) IBM SPSS Statistics 19 Made Simple.  Psychology Press.
Smith, J. A. (2006). Qualitative Psychology. A Practical Guide to Research Methods. London: Sage.
Willig, C. (2008). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology. Adventures in theory and method. (2nd ed). Maidenhead: Open University Press.