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PSY1010 : Research Methods and Skills 1

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Peter Gallagher
  • Lecturer: Dr Carla Chivers
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To teach, through practical experience, experimental design and statistical analysis techniques for experimental psychology. To enable students to evaluate the evidential status of scientific claims in psychology by direct consideration of primary data, and to acquire the ability to assess claims in other areas by a close and critical examination of the evidence. The module aims to develop both statistical literacy and numeracy. It will enable students to analyse experiments and interpret the reports of others.

Outline Of Syllabus

RESEARCH METHODS: The concept of an experiment and experimental design will be introduced; how experiments involve the manipulation of independent variables, record changes in the dependent variable, and control extraneous and nuisance variables. Students will have the opportunity to carry out experiments and gain knowledge of the basic principles of experimental design for measuring classical phenomena in psychology. Several practicals will require a written report in the format required by the American Psychological Association (APA). In this module, emphasis will be put on the graphing and tabulation of data.

STATISTICS: Students are introduced to the experimental and statistical basis of psychology including a general introduction to the importance of psychological statistics; the scientific method and hypothesis testing; measurement and data. The student will be introduced to the main descriptive and inferential statistical methods available to psychologists, including: central tendency and variability (mean, median, mode, variance, standard deviation); data visualisation and frequency distribution (normal distribution), hypothesis testing and probability (including z score and ttest); and measures of association (correlation and regression). The student will be introduced to data processing methods, both by hand and using computer packages such as Microsoft Excel and SPSS.

Research Methods

Topics :

Introduction to Research Designs and Reports

-       Data collection
-       Data analysis
-       Report writing
-       Feedback


Introduction to the role of statistics in Psychology

Coverage of:
-       Central Tendency
-       Variability
-       The Normal Distribution
- Introduction to inferential statistics
- Principles of hypothesis testing
-       Correlation and Regression

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Non-sync online stats ‘bitesize’ video lectures&activities (provides pre-learning for the workshops)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion381:0038:00Statistics component - assessment preparation
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials110:305:30Non-sync online research methods video lectures and activities (pre-learning material for workshops)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00Practicals component
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities110:305:30Non-synchronous online statistics components (formative practice, quizzes)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical111:0011:00Present in person Research practical sessions.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops111:0011:00PIP stats workshops, manual and e-calculations, SPSS and group discussion.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study331:0033:00Statistics component
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study441:0044:00Practicals component
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Synchronous online - Introduction to the module.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The practical sessions are used to teach experimental psychology through practical experience and experimental design.

The statistics component will run as a ‘flipped classroom, blended learning’ model. Concepts are introduced as ‘bite-size’ recordings, which are then consolidated in the workshop sessions through practical examples completed by hand and with statistics software. Sessions will also include data visualization and simulation to reinforce key concepts that also relate to the practical sessions. They include an introduction to each topic together with worked examples of each statistical procedure. Students work through examples and are encouraged to make use of the individual help and advice available from the lecturer and PG demonstrators. Students continue working on the problems set during the workshops, and supplement their lecture notes with background reading.

If the public health situation requires a pivot to remote learning, then teaching will be delivered remotely.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A50Timed exam. Statistics component. Candidates may use notes collated during module. Text books not allowed.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M501 Practical Report (2000 words) - See below for further details
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report1MDraft report to be submitted for formative feedback (1000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment Rationale Relationship

Knowledge and understanding of the statistics component is primarily assessed through the summative examination. The ability to analyse, present and interpret experimental data is assessed by the written reports which are also used to assess the students’ skills in written communication.

Assessment Information, Practical Component:

One practical report will be written during the earlier stages of the course, will be formally assessed and provide the students with feedback before they are required to submit their final summative report. The practical report will build and develop the student skills and knowledge towards writing a final report that will be summatively assessed. The first report does not contribute to the final mark while the full final report, equivalent to approximately 2000 words will contribute 50% of the final module mark, the other 50% will come from the Statistics assessed component. It is compulsory to pass the Research Methods practical report component at 40%.

Assessment Information, Statistical Component:

The exam is designed to assess the current state of the students’ SPSS and Statistics knowledge. It is compulsory to pass the Statistics Exam component at 40%.

Thus, in order to pass this module students must pass both the above components. If either the Practicals or the Statistics component was failed and had to be re-taken as a second attempt the overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

If the public health situation requires a pivot to remote assessment, then the examination will be delivered remotely.

Reading Lists