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Psychology Research Project

Module titlePsychology Research Project
Module codePSY3401
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Tobias Stevens (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module is the culmination of the practical training and learning on the degree and allows you to demonstrate your competencies, incorporating many of the research skills and data analysis techniques you will have developed. You will negotiate your project topic through a structured process and be closely supervised throughout the duration of your research project by an academic member of staff whose personal research focus aligns with your topic.

You will usually work with a project partner, another student engaged in the same piece of research, though larger groups are possible, depending on the nature of the project. Your supervisor will carefully manage this aspect, in order to ensure that each student recognises their individual responsibilities. The skills you learn in working as a member of a pair or a team add to the transferable skills valued by employers which you will develop and provide invaluable experience.

Whether you are working in a group or not, you will write the final report on your own, with a submission deadline at the start of Term 3 and will prepare an individual research poster to be submitted with your Final Report in Term 3.

This module requires completion of the relevant Stage 1 and 2 modules: PSY1205 Introduction to Statistics, PSY1206 Introduction to Research Methods, PSY2206 Methods and Statistics in Psychology.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of the module are to enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the problems and complexities of conducting research in a particular area of Psychology. The project typically involves the collection of original empirical data from participants, or equivalent alternatives such as computational modelling of empirical data or secondary data analysis, such as a meta-analysis. In addition, this module provides you with opportunities to work alongside an experienced academic researcher, sometimes in a highly-specialised area. The nature of the supervision will vary over the course of the project, depending on the requirements at any given time; closely-supervised in the initial stages and data analysis phases, but more independent during the data-collection and writing-up phases.


In this module you will work towards developing the following academic and professional skills:

  • problem solving (linking theory to practice, developing your own ideas with confidence, responding creatively to resolving problems, handling large amounts of diverse data critically, identifying, selecting, and using appropriate sources of information)
  • collaboration (respecting the views and values of others, taking initiative, supporting others in their learning, maintaining group cohesiveness and productively)
  • structure (identifying key demands of the task, making decisions about task management, developing strategies to ensure individual and group progress, developing and implementing plans of action)
  • time (managing time effectively as an individual and group member to meet short-term and long-term deadlines, juggling multiple priorities and competing deadlines effectively, setting and maintaining work priorities)
  • self and peer review (taking responsibility for your own learning and progress, learning from and using feedback from multiple sources, responding actively to feedback, dealing with and learning from criticism).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Design and conduct an empirical study, analyse and interpret the findings and produce a scientific report
  • 2. Produce an extended scientific report in the specific domain of your project and use a range of information technologies for information finding, research, communication and data processing at an advanced level
  • 3. Prepare and present a scientific video effectively to a specialist and non-specialist audience

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Acquire detailed, systematic and comprehensive knowledge within the discipline, with in-depth specialisation at the forefront of the discipline in certain areas, and demonstrate advanced critical understanding of this knowledge and of the limits and provisional nature of this knowledge
  • 5. Review and critically evaluate published work at an advanced level and identify the strengths and weaknesses of this work, and at an advanced level structure this literature to present logical, coherent and sustained arguments to support conclusions at an advanced level
  • 6. Understand and apply essential principles in designing novel research, and critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence, and assess the reliability of empirical evidence using a range of defined techniques at an advanced level

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Interact effectively and supportively within a learning group
  • 8. Select and manage information, and to undertake competently study tasks with minimum guidance
  • 9. Engage effectively in debate in a professional manner and produce detailed and coherent written work; identify complex problems and apply appropriate knowledge and methods for their solution with confidence and flexibility
  • 10. Manage time effectively to meet deadlines

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module follows an apprenticeship model of research training, involving regular meetings with the supervisor throughout the module. You gain ethical clearance, conduct the research project, collect and analyse relevant data and report the findings in a scientific report.

Once the research topic is established, you investigate the literature relevant to the topic and submit a formatively assessed research proposal by the proposal deadline in Term 1. After consideration and discussion of this proposal with the supervisor, you then make a submission to the Psychology Research Ethics Committee, most usually in Term 1. Data collection cannot begin until the project has received ethical clearance, so experimental work is likely to take place towards the end of Term 1 and during the first half of Term 2.

You may submit an early draft of the final report (excluding the Introduction and Discussion section) to the supervisor and will receive written feedback on the method and results section. The submission deadline for the early draft should be negotiated with the supervisor, but no further supervisory support will be available after the end of Term 2, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

You will also prepare and submit an individual scientific poster, communicating the central features of your research in a concise manner.

The deadline for submission of the final report and poster will be the start of Term 3.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Supervision meetings
Scheduled Learning and Teaching13Project management and writing workshops
Guided Independent Study5Ethics application
Guided Independent Study60Background research, reading and writing proposal
Guided Independent Study70Preparation of research materials/protocols
Guided Independent Study130Data collection
Guided Independent Study125Analysing data and writing final report
Guided Independent Study20Preparation of individual poster
Guided Independent Study10Preparation of project record meeting sheet


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project proposal1500 wordsAllOral and/or written feedback from supervisor
Ethics application400+ words, depending on nature of research project6Written feedback from psychology Research Ethics Committee
Early draft of final report (excluding Discussion section)3000 – 5000 words, depending on nature of research projectAllWritten feedback from supervisor on method and results section
Project meeting record sheet1000+ words, depending on the nature of the project7-10Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research project final report856000 words for quantitative projects, 7000 words for qualitative projectsAllWritten, individual feedback
A video recorded oral presentation1510 minutes1-7, 8-10Written, individual feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research project final reportResearch project final reportAllAugust Ref/Def
A video recorded oral presentationA video recorded oral presentation1-10August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the research project final report you will be required to resubmit the report. Where you have been referred/deferred in the poster, you will need to submit another poster. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Harris. P. (2008) Designing and reporting experiments in psychology (2nd edition). Open University Press.
  • Sternberg, R.J. (2016) The Psychologists' Companion: A guide to scientific writing for students and researchers. Cambridge University Press.

Additional reading will be specific to the topic selected for the Research Project.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Statistics and Computing Helpdesk in WSL/220 – provides advice and support with data analysis

Key words search

Research project, major project, empirical research

Credit value45
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

PSY2206 Methods and Statistics in Psychology II and two selected from PSY2209 to PSY2215 or equivalent

Module co-requisites

PSY3402 Methods and Statistics in Psychology III

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date