Skip to main content


PSY1010 : Research Methods and Skills 1

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Yoav Tadmor
  • Lecturer: Dr Peter Gallagher
  • 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 their own 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 which implement the basic principles of experimental design for measuring classical phenomena in psychology. Each practical requires 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 statistical methods available to psychologists, including: data visualisation; descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode range, standard deviation); probability and chance; frequency distribution (binomial distribution, normal distribution). 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
-       Distribution
-       Correlation and Regression
-       Probabilities

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion179:0079:00Preparation for practical reports
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion119:0019:00Preparation for statistics assignment completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading110:0010:00Reading as indicated in sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical121:3018:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice130:0030:00Practice with SPSS
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Revision of concepts from lectures / workshops / practicals
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The practical sessions are used to teach experimental psychology through practical experience and experimental design.
The statistics lectures, together with the lecture handouts, provide an overview of the statistical methods used in the module. They include an introduction to each topic together with worked examples of each statistical procedure. The statistics workshops provide time to apply what has been covered in the previous lecture. Students work through examples, using their lecture notes 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601A30Statistics component. Candidates may use notes collated during module. Textbooks not allowed
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M503 Practical Reports - See below for further details
Prob solv exercises1M202 Statistics Assignments – see below for further details
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment Rationale Relationship

The overall rationale is to teach empirical psychology through practical experience. The various sessions are aimed at providing opportunities for students to develop and practice the necessary skills and knowledge outcomes. 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:

3 practical reports / assignments.
The three practical reports/assignments gradually increase from primarily focusing on just the Methods and the Results sections to a final full report. The first two minor assignments of approximately 1000 words contribute 20% (10% each) to the final mark. The third assignment is a final full report, equivalent to approximately 2000 words, contributing 30% of the final mark.

It is compulsory to pass the Research Methods practical component (i.e. weighted average of the three reports/assignments) at 40%.

Assessment Information, Statistical Component:

The exam and statistics assignments are designed to assess the current state of the students’ SPSS and Statistics knowledge. The Statistics assignments contribute 20% to the final mark (10% each). The statistics assignments are not an essential component of the overall pass mark but it is compulsory to pass the Statistics Exam component at 40%.

If the overall practical component is failed, the Board of Examiners will specify the practical reports/assignments that must be re-submitted as part of the resit.

If the Statistics Exam component is failed it will have to be retaken and a pass mark obtained.
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%.

Reading Lists