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MSc Research Methods in Psychology

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  • Objectives
    To provide advanced training in research methods as a suitable foundation for a PhD research degree. To meet the criteria of postgraduate research training specified by the Economic and Social Research Council. To develop a critical awareness of psychological science in relation to its philosophical context, and in relation to its social, computational and biological foundations, and in relation to research in the natural and social sciences. To provide an opportunity for advanced study in cognitive psychology that will extend theoretical knowledge in selected areas of specialisation. To provide knowledge and skills (critical evaluation and argument, quantitative and qualitative empirical methods, communication and presentation) that will prepare students for academic careers as well as a wide range of alternative careers, and will be widely sought by employers.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Qualifications 2(i) Honours degree in Psychology or a cognate discipline. Language requirement IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL 250 (600) or comparable
  • Academic Title
    MSc Research Methods in Psychology
  • Course description

    Course Description
    The MSc in Research Methods in Psychology provides research training for students who intend to pursue a career as research psychologists or wish to take a research degree. The course provides training in research management, quantitative and qualitative research methods.

    Modules and Options

    The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.

    Stage 1

        Compulsory: RESEARCH MANAGEMENT

    Teaching and Assessment Methods
    A: Knowledge and Understanding
        Learning Outcomes
        A1 : Acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of a broad range of quantitative and qualitative empirical methods to address psychological issues.
        A2 : Acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of fundamental theoretical issues in the natural, social and cognitive sciences, and the philosophy of mind.
        A3 : Acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of current theoretical developments and empirical evidence within selected fields of cognitive psychology.
        A4 : Acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of ethical, health and safety, and legal issues pertaining to research.

        Teaching Methods
        A1 is taught through lectures, seminars and workshops, including on-line data analysis in computer laboratories.

        A2-A4 are taught through lectures, seminars and workshops.

        A2 - A3 are taught through high level internal and external research seminars, and follow-up group discussions.

        A3-A4 are taught by individual supervision on the research project leading to the dissertation.

        Assessment Methods
        A1 Practical exercises and a 2-hr examination in univariate statistics.

        A2-A3 are assessed by coursework essays (usually 2 x 2500-word essays per module).
        A4 is assessed through a 5000-word written research proposal.

        A1, A3, A4 are assessed through the 10,000-word dissertation

    B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        B1 : Graduates will be able to select and apply as appropriate a range of quantitative and qualitative empirical methods to answer psychological questions.
        B2 : Graduates will be able to understand and apply ethical principles pertaining to psychological research.
        B3 : Graduates will be able to plan and design an empirical investigation.
        B4 : Graduates will be able to analyse and interpret empirical data, including those of the student's own investigation.
        B5 : Graduates will be able to critically evaluate a range of contemporary issues in psychology.
        B6 : Graduates will be able to assemble and integrate evidence from a variety of sources.
        B7 : Graduates will be able to report, interpret and discuss original research findings.

        Teaching Methods
        Lectures, seminars and practical workshops are used to teach research methods, theoretical ideas in psychology, and the ability to assemble evidence and report research findings (B1-B7).

        B5 is also taught by attendance at, and subsequent seminar discussion of, high-level research seminars.
        An original research project is carried out under supervision (B1-B7). Interactive seminars are used for which the students create their own presentations. Feedback is provided by students and staff (B7).

        Assessment Methods
        Theoretical knowledge, critical evaluation and the integration of evidence are assessed through coursework essays and the dissertation (B4-B6).

        Quantitative and qualitative research design and analysis are assessed by practical exercises in qualitative and quantitative research methods and the dissertation (B1, B3, B4).
        Knowledge of ethical issues, and the costs of research are assessed by the research proposal (B2).

        Reporting research findings is assessed by the dissertation and by a poster presentation (B7).

    C: Practical Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        C1 : Graduates will be able to deploy statistical skills, providing the ability to display and analyse empirical data, using appropriate software.
        C2 : Graduates will be able to deploy research skills, including use of scientific databases, referencing packages, and modelling packages.
        C3 : Graduates will be able to deploy writing skills, including use of academic conventions for publication, and presentation of a research proposal.
        C4 : Graduates will be able to deploy preliminary investigative procedures, enabling them to conduct pilot studies, and, where necessary, construct and validate new instruments.
        C5 : Graduates will be able to deploy data collection skills, including the recruitment, instruction and debriefing of participants.

        Teaching Methods
        Statistical skills are taught through lectures and practical classes, and also through the independent research project (C1).

        Lectures, seminars, practical classes and computer workshops are used to teach all other skills (C2-C5).

        Specific research skills are taught as part of the research project that is completed under individual supervision (C1-C5).

        Assessment Methods
        Production of the dissertation assesses proficiency in all these skills (C1-C5).

        Statistical skills are assessed by practical exercises and by a 2-hr statistical examination (C1).

        The research proposal addresses skills involved in planning and reporting research (C2 - C5).

        Research and writing skills are assessed through the coursework essays (C2, C3).

    D: Key Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        D1 : Communicate information, ideas and arguments effectively using a range of media, including written and poster communications.
        D2 : (i) Use IT resources for research and presentation, including databases, library catalogues, internet resources, wordprocessing and presentation packages. (ii) Use appropriate software to analyse quantitative and qualitative data.
        D3 : Describe and analyse univariate and multivariate quantitative data using appropriate methods.
        D4 : Apply theoretical knowledge, research design and practical techniques to investigate and solve empirical problems.
        D5 : Not applicable.
        D6 : (i) Produce work that is properly presented against strict deadlines. (ii) Reflect on their own performance and make constructive use of feedback. (iii) Work independently, and plan work effectively.

        Teaching Methods
        Oral and visual presentation skills are developed through seminars and practical exercises that address and monitor these skills directly (D1).

        Generic IT skills and statistical packages are taught in computer workshops (D2, D3).

        Numeracy is taught and encouraged by statistics and research methods lectures and workshops(D3).

        Problem solving is taught through individual supervision on the research project (D4).

        Assessment Methods
        These skills are assessed by coursework essays (D1, D2(i), D6), practical exercises (D2(ii)), the dissertation (D1, D2, D3, D4, D6) and the research proposal (D1, D4, D6).

        All assessed work is carried out with strict submission deadlines, and returned promptly with feedback (D6).

        Numeracy is also assessed through practical exercises in quantitative data analysis, and a statistical examination (D3).

        Communication skills are also assessed through the poster presentation (D1).

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