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Master in Science Psychological Research Methods

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  • Objectives
    Through a combination of subject-specific and broadly-based modules students are trained in research methodologies and in transferable employment-related skills. The course aims are: • To equip students to formulate and conduct psychological research projects. • To develop students’ knowledge of different theoretical perspectives, philosophical traditions and methodological approaches to psychology, and to place these in the wider context of the social sciences. • To enable students to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods and different forms of data, and to evaluate their appropriateness for different research problems. • To enable students to define and formulate research questions and testable hypotheses, and to design appropriate research to answer these questions using relevant methods of data collection, consistent with British Psychological Society principles of ethics and research governance. • To provide students with knowledge of quantitative and qualitative approaches to research and data analysis techniques. • To provide students with a range of opportunities to engage with advanced research in substantive areas relevant to their own research topic and to the discipline of psychology. • To provide students with opportunities to enhance and develop their written and communication skills, independent learning skills, and critical reflection and evaluation skills.
  • Entry requirements
    This course is open to graduates with a first or second class degree (or overseas equivalent) in psychology.
  • Academic Title
    Master in Science Psychological Research Methods
  • Course description
    Full-Time study


    The School of Psychology at Keele is strong in research, rated 4 in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. The principal areas of research strength in the school are:

    • Cognitive and Neuropsychology
    • Social Psychology
    • Applied Psychology

    This course aims to build on our research expertise by providing structured research training in psychological research methods so that
    those successfully completing the course can proceed to undertake psychological research. This may be in the form of a PhD, or may form
    a first stage of graduate training for those wishing to proceed to a professional career in psychology. The course has ESRC recognition as a research training programme for Psychology PhD students (1+3 awards).

    Course Structure and Content

    In order to obtain a Masters degree, students are required to obtain 180 credits, including a 60-credit dissertation. The course modules are set out below. Credit value for each module is given in brackets.

    Course Modules

    Core Modules (total 90 level 4 credits)

    • Theory and Methodology in Psychology (20)
    • Research Design and Process (20)
    • Quantitative Data Analysis II (advanced) (20)
    • Qualitative Data Analysis (20)
    • Research Apprenticeship in Psychology (10)

    Special Option Modules (30 level 3 credits)

    Special option topics in Psychology: students must select two modules from the range of level 3 (UG) modules available

    Project and Dissertation (60 level 4 credits)

    Students may select any appropriate topic in psychology providing that specialist supervision is available from the School of Psychology. It is normally expected that psychology students will undertake an empirical dissertation, designing, conducting, and reporting on an original piece of psychological research using appropriate design, methods, and data analysis strategies.


    The course is assessed through coursework, verbal presentation of research, unseen examination and independent research written up as a final dissertation (15,000-20,000 words). The pass mark in each module is 50% (40% for level 3 modules), and all modules must be passed to obtain the MSc.

    A distinction will be awarded for exceptional performance (broadly an overall average of 70% or more including 70% in the dissertation).

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