Skip to main content


PSY1011 : Research Methods and Skills 2

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Trevor James
  • Lecturer: Mrs Barbara-Anne Robertson
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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.

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

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion124:0024:00Preparation for statistics assignment completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Statistics lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion172:0072:00Preparation for practical reports
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical122:0024:00The practical work sessions culminate in the submission of two written reports.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading110:0010:00Reading as indicated in sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Statistics workshops
Guided Independent StudySkills practice16:006:00Practice with SPSS
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study140:0040:00Revision 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. They involve data collection, analysis and write up of the research reports.
The statistics lectures, 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination602A30Statistics component. Candidates may use notes collated during module. Textbooks not allowed.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M50Practical report worth 50% of the module mark.
Prob solv exercises2M20Two statistics assignments equally weighted at 10% each of the module mark.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report2MThis is a formative draft report.
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.

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 statistics assignments contribute 20% to the final mark (10% each) 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 was failed and had to be re-taken as a second attempt the overall module mark will be capped at 40.

Resit arrangements will be determined by the Board of Examiners.

Reading Lists