module specification

PC5001 - Research Design and Data Analysis in Psychology (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25, but may be subject to modification
Module title Research Design and Data Analysis in Psychology
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
152 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
148 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Qualitative Research Report (2000 - 2500 words)
Open Book Examination 25%   Autumn Semester examination
Coursework 20%   Quantitative Research Report (1500 - 2000 words)
Open Book Examination 35%   Spring Semester examination
Running in 2024/25

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

Module summary

The aim of this module is to 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 (e.g. participants in the study)
5. managing and analysing both quantitative and qualitative data using statistical software
6. reporting on the outcomes 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, digital literacy, 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. LO 1

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. LO 2, 4

Qualitative data and analysis: gathering data by interview, questionnaires and focus groups; observational methods; basic text analysis; reporting and evaluating qualitative data. LO 2, 4

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. LO 2, 3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is delivered via lectures, workshops and practical supervision classes.  Lectures are used to deliver material on research design, specific methods of data collection, and data analysis techniques.  Workshops are used to develop students’ research design skills and to carry out analyses (in a computer laboratory using suitable software where appropriate). 

Practical supervision classes are used to introduce students to research topics which form the basis of summative research reports. The practical work is planned and carried out by students in small groups under supervision, but the assessed item for submission is an individually written research report. The practical work builds 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 psychological investigations under supervision
2. analyse and interpret both quantitative and qualitative data using appropriate methods and tools, including 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), including appropriate presentation of quantitative and qualitative analyses
4. explain general concepts and principles associated with the ethical design of, implementation of, and data analysis within, research studies in psychology.


American Psychological Association. (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington, DC. [CORE]
Dancey, C. & Reidy, J. (2017). Statistics without maths for psychology (7th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education. [CORE]
Smith, J. A. (2016). Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods (3rd ed.). London: Sage.