module specification

PY7P06 - Forensic Psychology Research Project (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Forensic Psychology Research Project
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 600
546 hours Guided independent study
54 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 0%   Assessment 1 Project proposal (including ethics form)
Coursework 20%   Critical Literature Review (4300 - 4700 words)
Coursework 80%   Empirical Project Report - for submission on University dissertation due date *FC*
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module supports students through the research process and assists them to produce a substantial piece of independent research for their final project. The module extends over the whole academic year. Teaching in the Autumn semester consists mainly of workshops where student participation is particularly important in order to gain more advanced skills necessary to proposal and project writing. Supervised research takes place in the second semester and over the summer period.

Module aims

The main aim of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to evidence their skills as critical researchers. In doing so they will become familiar with the entire research process from planning the research to writing up the final results. The overall aim is that students become competent, critical and ethical forensic psychology researchers and communicators. Specifically the aims of this module are to:

1. Make students aware of the whole research process and its single phases. This involves considering how to operationalise a conceptual question as a workable research project that addresses issues of ethics and appropriate data collection and analysis.
2. Support students in the ethical and professional conduct of a substantial piece of empirical research;
3. Enhance students' skills in the provision of a written account of this research towards a professional and where possible to a publishable standard.


The syllabus will include coverage of each of the following bulleted areas:
• Project proposal structure
• Create an effective research question
• Literature review writing
• Presenting your results
• Qualitative writing up

Learning and teaching

This module will mainly consist of practical workshops and seminars. For some sessions students will be asked to work actively in class to reflect how to translate theoretical knowledge about research methods and scientific writing into practice. Students will be asked to produce a poster to present early in the year their project research ideas and to share such ideas with colleagues and lecturers. This is a good opportunity to collect comments and to plan their work.
Students will be exposed to active and critical readings of several journal papers to capture structure of required structure and standard to get published. Also, they will be asked to critique such papers to enable them to identify gaps in literature and research design. Such activities should equip them to gradually prepare for their project. This module constitutes an important step for professional development. Students are asked to plan for their personal, education and career development. More specifically, they are required to complete a personal statement, the style of which would be appropriate to a job application and re-address questions that were asked during their application interview such as “where do you see your self in 5-years time” and “what are your goals”.
A good opportunity for pdp is also represented by the constant links that are made between research methods module and this module to prepare students to consider how research could be a useful tool to apply in their  training, necessary for their progress toward the chartership.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

1. Generate a theoretically and / or practically interesting research question in a forensic psychology context and present this in the form of a project proposal;
2. Critically review and synthesise literature to introduce and discuss a piece of research;
3. Design, conduct and analyse empirical psychological research aimed at addressing a specific set of research questions, paying particular attention to the ethical issues raised;
4. Provide a written account of the completed research in a format that meets appropriate standards of scientific writing at post-graduate level.
5. Be aware of different written format for quantitative and qualitative study designs.

Assessment strategy

Assessment strategy aims to evaluate and feedback students on key skills related to their final project writing. Therefore, they will be exposed to a proposal writing culminating in their preparation to go through the University ethics procedure. They are also asked to write a critical review of the literature, which should enable them to write their later introduction to their project. So the strategy implies the preparation of a piece of research (research proposal) by defining a feasible research question and study including the ability to foresee any major ethics issues. Secondly, it implies to enable students to organise relevant literature material in a consistent and effective manner that could be adequate for a published paper and for their project. Therefore, upon completion of this module, students should gain a greater awareness of required scientific standard for publication.


Hall, G. M. (Ed) (2008). How to write a paper.4th Edition. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell

Rosenfeld, B., &Penrod, S. D. (2011). Research methods in Forensic Psychology. Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell.

Indicative Bibliography 

1. The British Psychological Society (2000). Code of conduct, ethicalprinciples & guidelines. Leicester: The British Psychological Society.
2. Holstein, J. A. & Gubrium, J. F. (2003). Inside interviewing: new lenses, new concerns. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
3. Sternberg, R. J. (2003). The psychologist's companion: a guide to scientificwriting for students and researchers (4th edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.