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PSY2019 : Research Skills and Development

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nicole Adams-Quackenbush
  • Lecturer: Miss Elena Armstrong
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aim of the Research Skills and Development module is to provide students with practical research experience and skills while working under the supervision of an established researcher. This may be as part of the supervisors’ research team, or as a sole research assistant for a piece of work. Students will normally contribute to at least one of the following elements of the research process:
•       Information gathering, including systematic literature searches and evidence synthesis
•       Aspects of data collection, including building studies in data collection platforms
•       Data manipulation, including data screening and cleaning, data entry/ transcription/coding, and data
•       Contribution to production of aspects of a draft paper.

This will provide students with the opportunity to embed and build on existing research skills from Stage 1 and 2 Research Methods and Statistics courses, and to learn new skills that may not be covered in typical coursework. This module will also help prepare students for their Stage 3 empirical project. For students contemplating postgraduate studies or a research career, this module will allow them to experience aspects of the research process within academia and to diversify their research experience. It also provides the students with an opportunity to be part of the wider research community within the School.

Outline Of Syllabus

During or prior to the module choice period, students should approach potential research supervisors to secure someone to work with for the duration of the module. If a student is having difficulty identifying a supervisor, they can approach the module leaders, who will assist them in finding a project. If no suitable projects are identified, the student will be offered a project with the module team.

The module is comprised of a combination of taught courses and the collaborative relationship between the student and their research supervisor. Taught content will include sessions relevant to different aspects of the research process, reflective skills, as well as poster and presentation skills. Whilst attending initial teaching, students will work with their research supervisor to agree on their specific project , their tasks, and their learning outcomes. This will be confirmed with the module team in the form of a supervision contract.

Once the taught components of the module are completed, the main teaching and learning method will occur through weekly meetings between the student and their research supervisor. Students will be encouraged to attend research group meetings and related seminars where relevant. Students may also attend meetings alongside other members of the research team (e.g. PhD students, Research assistants/associates) to experience the research environment more fully. If a research supervisor takes on more than one student, some element of group supervision is possible, but individual meetings will also be required.

Throughout this module, students will be expected to complete a research diary documenting their activities and reflecting on their learning in relation to their learning outcomes. At the end of the module, students will present a poster of their project experience to their project supervisor and a member of the module team.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Preparation for poster presentation to be delivered as recorded PIP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture72:0014:00Present in person: Preparatory lectures about key aspects of the research process.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice1167:00167:00Work on activities related to the research project/time spent recording activities in research diary
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00Present in person: Professional skills workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision120:306:00Present in person: Research supervision meetings
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The overall rationale of this module is to teach psychology research skills through practical experience working in a professional research setting with an established researcher. The various scheduled and guided learning activities provide an opportunity for students to develop and practice the necessary knowledge and skills outcomes. This module relies on the student, their supervisor, and the research team (if applicable) to work together in a mutually beneficial manner.

The module consists of taught content and a research apprenticeship model to guide the student’s development as a junior research assistant and to foster practical skills in aspects of the scientific method and open science practices. In the first three teaching weeks, students will attend taught components to ensure they have fundamental knowledge and the basic skills to perform the duties that might be required of them. Students are also encouraged to familiarise themselves with their chosen project and to agree on their learning objectives with their supervisor during this time. , Commencing teaching week 4, most of the student’s learning will occur within an individual and supervisory context.

A combination of taught and supervisory components allows students to achieve the intended knowledge and skills outcomes. Interactions with the research supervisor/research team and the poster and presentation skills workshop will enhance skills outcome 3. Skills outcome 4 will be developed through use of the research diary and the taught reflective skills workshop. The requirement to work independently on a project meet regular deadlines with the research supervisor and submit the summative assignment will contribute to development of skills outcome 5.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster2M70Present in person 10 minute individual presentation and reflective poster with 5 minutes for questions
Reflective log2M30A structured research diary. The record will be 30 pages max consisting of two pages for each week of activity across both semesters
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The final assessment is comprised of two components: a structured research diary and a poster with 10-minute presentation and five minutes for questions (15 minutes total).

The research diary will take the form of a structured weekly journal. Students will receive an electronic copy of a blank research diary and they will attend a session on how to fill it out with an explanation on how it will be graded. Each week, the student will make notes about their supervision meeting, list the tasks they completed for the assigned project, record the time spent on tasks, and identify any learning opportunities, or challenges encountered. The diary will also contain space for the student to note anything new they learned while working on the project and reflect on their accomplishments over the week. They will also set a professional or development goal for the coming week. A copy of the diary will be submitted at the end of the module for assessment. The research diary will be evaluated on its completeness and level of insight and reflection.

The research diary aims to establish good research habits of tracking tasks, prioritizing items, taking notes, and keeping organized. It also aims to facilitate and encourage reflective practice to help the student foster a sense of personal insight and to identify development opportunities and strengths.

The poster and 10-minute presentation assessment will also occur at the end of the module. Posters are intended to reflect the student’s learning on the research topic as well as their journey as a research assistant. There is no set word limit for the poster, and students are encouraged to find creative and imaginative ways to convey the required information. The poster will be submitted and evaluated as per the School of Psychology marking criteria for posters. Students will also attend a final assessment where they will present their poster and answer questions about their experience over the duration of the project.

The aim of this assessment is to evaluate the students’ oral and written communication skills, presentation skills, and poster creation skills. It intends to provide the student with a platform to showcase their achievements and learnings over the course of the module. The assessment also provides the students with an opportunity to demonstrate their acquisition of the module’s knowledge outcomes.

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