module specification

PY7163 - Research Design and Analysis for Psychology (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Research Design and Analysis for Psychology
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Qualitative assignment (1500 word assignment)
Unseen Examination 50%   Quantitative assignment MCQ Examination
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

The module is designed for inclusion in postgraduate psychology courses where students entering the course have some experience of psychology and research methods, but less than would normally be expected from a BPS accredited degree in psychology.  The aim of this module is to introduce students to general principles of research design and the epistemological issues associated with different approaches.  Student will be introduced to a range of methods for data collection and analysis including both quantitative and qualitative approaches.


Assumptions about the nature of knowledge; contrasting epistemological positions and implications for method and theory building.  Ethical issues. Researching psychological literature and developing a research question.  Carrying out a critical literature review.

Describing and summarising quantitative data.  Analysing data from simple designs to investigate mean differences, interactions effects, correlations, regression models and associations between categorical variables.
Questionnaire design; interviewing; basic observational methods; using secondary data sources; basic content analysis; introduction to IPA;  reporting and evaluating qualitative data.
Writing up a research report.

Learning Outcomes LO1 - 6

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will be delivered via lectures and workshops.  Lectures will be used to deliver general material and material on specific methods of data collection.  Workshops will be used to carry out analyses (in a computer laboratory using suitable software where appropriate) and discuss examples from the relevant literature. 
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 areas in personal development plans:
(a) the ability to work with quantitative information in general, not just the specific examples included in the module
(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 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. Demonstrate a high level of understanding of a range of approaches employed in psychological research and the epistemological issues associated with different approaches;
2. Employ a range of basic designs yielding quantitative data;
3. Make expert use of general purpose computer-based statistical packages, e.g. SPSS, to manipulate and explore data and conduct and interpret basic analyses.
4. Employ a range of qualitative methods for collecting and interpreting qualitative data
5. Report upon the outcome of qualitative studies to publication standard for academic journals and for professional reports and to demonstrate an understanding of quantitative research methods
6. Extend students’ knowledge of the range of approaches employed in psychological research and the epistemological issues associated with different approaches by working independently from authoritative texts and research publications.

Assessment strategy

There will be two equally-weighted items of coursework one based on quantitative approaches and methodology and the other based on qualitative approaches and methodology. In order to pass the module students must achieve at least 40% in each component of assessment and achieve an average of at least 50% for the module as a whole. The tasks given to students will be set in the context of the particular course they are taking.



British Psychological Society (2014). Code of Human Research Ethics.

Smith, J., (2015). Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods. 3rd ed. London, Sage Publications Ltd.
Dancey, C.P., & Reidy, J., (2014). Statistics without Maths for Psychology. 6th ed. Pearson Education Limited.


BPS (Aug, 2009) . Code of ethics and conduct. Core reading.

British Psychological Society (2013). Ethics Guidelines for Internet Mediated Research. Core reading.

Field, A. (2013). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS (3rd edition). Los Angeles, CA: Sage
Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. Guilford Press.

Howell, D.C. (2009). Statistical Methods for Psychology (7th edition). Belmont, CA: Duxbury Press.

Howitt, D. & Cramer, D. (2014). Introduction to research methods in psychology (4rd edition). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Howitt, D. & Cramer, D. (2014). Introduction to SPSS in Psychology. 6th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Preacher, K. J. (2015). Advances in mediation analysis: A survey and synthesis of new developments. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 825-852

Warner, R. M. (2012). Applied statistics: from bivariate through multivariate techniques: from bivariate through multivariate techniques. Sage.

Willig, C. (2008). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology. Adventures in theory and method (2nd edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press.