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Research Methods in Practice

PSYC520 / PSYC720 : Research Skills in Practice 2

Module Outline

Credit Weighting: 20 Credits

Module Leader: Clare Walsh Teaching Staff: Chris Longmore, Julien Besle, Michael Verde, Clare Walsh.


The module aims to support students through a simple research cycle and deliver a basic understanding of the research process in psychology before engaging with an advanced-research cycle. Statistical analysis techniques are taught in workshops with the aim of providing the student with an understanding of the analysis procedures appropriate to a range of research designs for testing differences. In addition, the module aims to introduce students to issues in conducting psychological research such as research project management.

Expected Outcomes

  1. Develop a simple research question with a high level of guidance from a supervisor and translate it into a study.

  2. Develop a basic understanding of the importance of ethical issues in research.

  3. Understand the basic principles of research management.

  4. Run, analyse, evaluate, and report psychological research.

  5. Analyse the results of studies using multifactorial ANOVA, and relate them to the relevant literature that motivated the work.

  6. Execute the statistical methods taught and interpret the output.

  7. Communicate the outputs of research through written and oral presentation means.

Teaching Arrangements

Two two-hour workshops per week, for 12 weeks. Students work in small groups (about 7) within large workshops of about 100 students and smaller workshops of about 50 students. Each workshop is run sufficient times to accommodate the whole cohort. In each week, the first (large) workshop will be staffed by one lead teacher and four teaching assistants, and the second (small) workshop will be staffed by two teaching assistants. The same staff members are present every week. A brief summary of the provisional schedule for each week is below; a much more detailed guide may be found on the Research Methods in Practice website.


Element Description Weighting
Coursework Written report to format and length described here 80%
Practical Group oral presentation (10 mins) 20%
PsychEL activities Pass a minimum of 11 PsycEL activites Pass / Fail

For the assessment deadlines, please see the Deadlines document on the Programme page of the DLE.

Marking Criteria

There are detailed mark schemes for both the presentation and the report. The conditions for passing each PsycEL activities are specific to the activity, and are expressed within the activity itself.

Academic Dishonesty

University of Plymouth regulations and policies apply to this module. See also the section on Academic Dishonesty in the Stage Handbook.

Provisional teaching schedule

Week 1: Select topic and learn about statistical power

Week 2: Define question, outline design and learn about data preprocessing

Week 3: Finalise experimental design

Week 4: Build experiment

Week 5: Upload experiment and begin to learn about ANOVA

Week 6: Collect data and finish learning about ANOVA

Week 7: Finish data collection

Week 8: Analyse data

Week 9: Write a presentation

Week 10: Give presentation

Week 11: Planning a report

Week 12: Critique and support

Indicative Reading List

The reading materials have been developed in-house and released under a Creative Commons licence, see Research Methods in Practice and Research Methods in R. Primary sources (journal articles) will also form a major part of the reading, but will likely be different for each group. Only open-access journal articles will be used.