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Module

PSY1011 : Research Methods and Skills 2

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Heather Moore
  • Lecturer: Mrs Barbara-Anne Robertson
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The module aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of research design in experimental psychology. Students will develop the ability to analyse primary data, establish whether the data is statistically significant using an appropriate test, and communicate their findings in the form of a scientific lab report.

Outline Of Syllabus

RESEARCH METHODS COMPONENT: Students will conduct two research practicals in psychology. In each practical, students will actively take part in the experiment or with the data collection, thereby gaining first-hand experience of conducting psychological research. Each practical will expose students to relevant background literature and involve conducting a suitable statistical test using appropriate software, e.g. SPSS. Students will communicate their findings in the form of lab report which adheres to a common standard for scientific report writing, e.g. the American Psychological Association (APA) format. Students will have awareness of different research paradigms and approaches.

STATISTICS COMPONENT: Students will continue to develop data processing skills, both by hand and using computer packages such as Microsoft Excel and SPSS. The student will be introduced to the main inferential statistical methods available to psychologists, such as: confidence intervals; t-test; non-parametric tests, correlation and regression.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion124:0024:00Preparation for statistics assignment completion
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00Preparation for practical reports
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Non-synch online: research methods e.g. short recordings/formative activities - quizzes & problems
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Present in person lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading111:0011:00Reading as indicated in sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical111:0011:00Present in person Research Methods practical sessions.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice16:006:00Practice with SPSS
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PiP Statistics workshops focused on topics relevant to lecture material.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery51:005:00Synchronous online: Q&A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study138:0038:00Revision of concepts from lectures/workshops/practicals
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk12:002:00Present in Person Introduction to the module.
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The overall rationale is to teach experimental psychology research methods through practical experience. The various scheduled and guided learning activities provide opportunities for students to develop and practice the necessary knowledge and skills outcomes.

Teaching Information, Research Methods Component:

The lecture materials introduce each research theme and guide students to obtain the necessary background knowledge required to conduct their research. These will provide the information for knowledge outcomes 1-5 and will be augmented by additional reading and formative practice activities. The practical sessions provide opportunities for students to discuss key concepts relating to psychology research methods, and practice their research skills (e.g., literature searches and statistical analyses), culminating in a written APA report (prepared in independent study time).
These sessions will provide students with the necessary practice to develop skills outcomes 1-8. Skills outcomes 4-6 will be discussed in the Research Methods component of this module, but will be covered specifically and in more depth in the Statistics component.

Research Methods will operate using a flipped classroom, with recorded content and activities provided at the beginning of each week, which will prepare the students for their demonstrator workshop. In person Q&As will provide opportunities to ask questions about both nonsynchronous and synchronous content, and will give time to process the information beforehand. Demonstrator workshops will be in person. If there are ongoing requirements for remote working and/or social distancing, any in person teaching will be conducted synchronous online.

Teaching Information, Statistics Component:

The statistics lecture materials, together with the lecture handouts, provide an overview of the statistical and practical 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 demonstrators. Students continue working on the problems set during the workshops, and supplement their lecture notes with background reading.



Guided independent study required for both Research Methods and Statistics components of this module provides the opportunity to consolidate the skills and knowledge covered in the staff-led sessions mentioned above.

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

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A30Statistics. Use of notes taken during module allowed. Textbooks not allowed. Scheduled exam -4 questions with multiple components
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M50Practical report worth 50% of the module mark (1,500 words)
Prob solv exercises2M202 in-class statistics exercises that require working out by hand. Equally weighted at 10% each of the module mark.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report2MThis is a formative draft report (1,500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The overall rationale is to teach 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:

2 practical reports - one formative and one summative:

Each report will follow standard BPS and APA guidelines for report writing, e.g. typically they will include a Title, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and Reference section. Appendices may also be included if relevant. The word limit for each report is approximately 1,500 words written in APA style.

In the formative practical, students analyse their own data and write a full draft report, receiving detailed feedback in class. By the end of this practical, students will be confident in their ability to write a full report.

The summative practical is similar to the formative practical in both structure and content but is marked according to the Psychology Assessment Guidelines for Undergraduates. This practical is worth 50% of the module mark.

The practical reports will withstand any ongoing disruption caused by remote working and social distancing. All experiments can be carried out online, and reports can be produced based on the work undertaken and submitted online.

It is compulsory to pass the summative practical component at 40 or above. If the practical report is failed it has to be re-submitted and a pass mark obtained.

Assessment Information, Statistics Component:

The exam and statistics assignments are designed to assess the current state of the students' statistical knowledge. The problem solving exercises will scaffold learning from the first to the second assessment. Feedback from these summative assessments will prepare students for the final exam. Both problem solving exercises require working out by hand, will be completed in-class as timetabled during practical sessions and together contribute 20% to the final mark and the statistics exam component contributes 30% to the final mark.

It is compulsory to pass the statistics exam component at 40% or above.

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 will need to pass both the practical and statistical components. If either the practical or the statistics component is failed and has 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

Timetable