module specification

PC5001 - Research Design and Data Analysis in Psychology (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
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 Report 1
Coursework 20% 40 Report 2
Unseen Examination 25% 40 90-minute, unseen examination
Coursework 10% 40 Draft Project Proposal
Running in 2019/20
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

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 students’ 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 in a format proscribed 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.

Prior learning requirements

PC4009 Introduction to Research in Psychology


Contrasting epistemological approaches in psychology. The design of psychological investigations.  Ethical practice in psychology research. LO1

Quantitative data analysis: The function of significance tests; the normal distribution; Testing hypotheses about a population mean and deriving confidence intervals; parametric analyses for between- and within-participants research designs with two groups/conditions;  parametric analyses for between- and within-participants research designs with more than two groups/conditions; analysis of data using bivariate correlation and regression; the analysis of data in simple contingency tables; analysis of data for multi-factor designs; multiple linear regression analysis. LO2,LO4

Qualitative data and analysis: gathering data by interview, questionnaires and focus groups; observational methods; basic text analysis; reporting and evaluating qualitative data. LO2,LO4

The practical research components of this syllabus will provide students with the opportunity to work in groups to design conduct, analyse and report research using both quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques. LO2,LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

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 and to carry out analyses (in a computer laboratory using suitable software where appropriate). 

Practical supervision classes will be used to introduce students to research 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 design two original studies within the broad areas introduced in the practical supervision classes.

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 and interpret both quantitative and qualitative data using appropriate methods and tools, for example specialist statistical or qualitative analysis software;
3. write research reports in a format suitable for the dissemination to the wider academic community in the widely accepted international standard (American Psychological Association), including appropriate presentation of quantitative and qualitative analyses.
4. explain general concepts and principles associated with the design of, implementation of, and data analysis within research studies in psychology.

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. 

The multiple choice exam will include assessment of research design, data collection, data analysis and ethics topics covered in the first part of the module.  Students will complete two group practical work projects which will be written up as full APA-format reports.  The end-of-module 90-minute unseen examination will cover topics addressed in the second part of the module.


American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC.
Dancey, C. & Reidy, J. (2017). Statistics without maths for psychology (7th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education.

Breakwell, G. M., Smith, J. A., & Wright, D. B. (Eds.). (2011). Research methods in psychology (4th ed.). London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics. London; Sage.
Flick, U. (2014). An introduction to qualitative research (5th ed.). London: Sage
Haslam, S. A., and McGarty, C. (2014). Research methods and statistics in psychology (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Howell, D. C. (2013). Statistical methods for psychology (8th ed.). Cengage Publishing.
Howitt, D. & Cramer, D. (2016). Research methods in psychology (5th ed.). Pearson Higher Education.
Smith, J. A. (2016). Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods (3rd ed.). London: Sage.
Willig, C. (2012). Qualitative interpretation and analysis in psychology. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Willig, C. (2013). Introducing qualitative research in psychology. (3rd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.