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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Psychology Research Skills
Module Code PSYC113
School 37
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Louise Hopper
Semester 2: Louise Hopper
Autumn: Louise Hopper
Module TeachersLouise Hopper
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module uses blended learning to introduce students to the most common quantitative and qualitative research designs and methodologies used in psychology. It also examines the ethical, data and research integrity principles that underpin psychological research. A strong emphasis is placed on developing and supporting core research skills such as literature searching and the use of library resources. This module also supports the development of transversal skills such as teamwork, communication, presentation and discussion skills. Students will be engaging in innovative activities to support the development of core research skills (e.g. workshops, design challenges) and applying these skills to the study of social behaviours. Group work in this module is integrated with related activities in core psychology modules in Year 1 Semester 1 (e.g. social and cognitive psychology).

Learning Outcomes

1. Critically evaluate core qualitative and quantitative research designs and methods.
2. Discover key strategies for the personal, academic, and digital skills needed for the transition to undergraduate study
3. Identify and evaluate ethical and data protection issues in undertaking psychological research
4. Discuss the ethical and legal requirements involved when gathering, storing, analysing and reporting data and the societal impact of data analytics.
5. Describe and evaluate normative group development
6. Demonstrate cooperative learning skills
7. Integrate ideas, concepts, knowledge and understanding of psychological research in relation to a real-world social behaviour research design challenge
8. In order to support these learning outcomes, students will be encouraged to participate in psychological research projects within the school including those of staff, post-graduate students and undergraduate final year projects.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture10Introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methods and analysis
Directed learning10Students will access digital resources introducing them to qualitative and quantitative research methods and designs, research ethics and research integrity
Workshop20Students will explore the use of psychological research methods in relation to real-world social behaviours
Group work24Students will work in small groups to design qualitative and quantitative approaches to researching a social behaviour of their choice.
Independent Study44Students will study the module material and related resources and references
Portfolio Preparation17Students will develop and complete an e-portfolio presenting the output from their group project, and individual assignment
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introducing psychological research skills
The scientific method, psychology as a science

Literature searching
Accessing and effectively using library and online resources in psychology

Writing psychology reports
Introducing APA-style psychology reports, citations, referencing, plagiarism and academic integrity

Ethics and data protection
Research integrity, ethical research, ethics in DCU / School of Psychology, Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) Code of Professional Ethics, Data management, GDPR, Health regulations

Research design
Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed-Method Designs

Qualitative data collection and analysis
including (i) Interviewing, (ii) Focus groups, (iii) Observations, (iv) Thematic analysis, (v) Content analysis

Quantitative research methods
including (i) Quasi-experimental design: Survey, (ii) Experimental design, (iii) Correlational design, (iv) Within- and between-subject design and (v) Variables and levels of measurement

Normative group development
What is group work? Why is it important and why is it included on this module, the psychology of working in groups, fears and expectations

Co-operative learning and dealing with conflict in groups
Tools and techniques for collaboration, effective group management and for dealing with conflict

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Completion of online activityCompletion of online Loop quizzes relating to the content of the module.30%As required
Group project In small groups, students will work together to develop a research question and to design a suitable qualitative and quantitative approach to the investigation of a real-world social or cognitive behaviour. Each student will also reflect on the process of working in a group, challenges that arose during the completion of the group project, how these challenges were met and their individual contribution to the group.35%Sem 1 End
Oral ExaminationStudents, in their groups, will take part in an oral examination of their understanding of a real-world social or cognitive behaviour and their recommended methodologies for researching that behaviour.35%Sem 1 End
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Braun, V & Clarke, C: 2013, Successful Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide for Beginners., SAGE, London, UK,
  • Harris, P: 2008, Designing and Reporting Experiments in Psychology, 3rd Ed., Open University Press, Maidenhead, 9780335221783
  • Shaughnessy, J. J., Zechmeister, E. B., & Zechmeister, J. S.: 2015, Research Methods In Psychology, 10th Ed., McGraw-Hill Publishing, New York, USA,
  • Sternberg, R.J. & Sternberg, K.: 2015, The Psychologist’s Companion: a guide to writing scientific papers for students and researchers., Cambridge: University Press, UK,
  • Willig, C.: 2013, Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3rd Ed., Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK,
  • American Psychological Association,: 2009, Concise Rules of APA Style, 6th Ed., Eurospan University Press, London, 9781433805608
  • American Psychological Association: 2010, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.), Washington, DC:,
  • Bowell, T., & Kemp, G.: 2014, Critical thinking: A concise guide., Routledge, New York,
  • Breakwell, G. M., Hammond, S., Fife-Schaw, C., & Smith, J. A.: 2012, Research Methods in Psychology, 4th Ed., SAGE Publications Ltd., London,
  • Cooper, H.: 2016, Ethical choices in research: managing data, writing reports., American Psychological Association, Washington, DC,
  • Cozby, P.: 2012, Methods in Behavioural Research, 11th Ed., McGraw Hill, London, 9780078035159
  • Creswell, J. W.: 2008, Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches, 3rd Ed., Sage, London, UK,
  • Denscombe, M.: 2017, The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects, 6th Ed., Open University Press, UK, 978-033526470
  • Dunn, D. S.: 2012, The Practical Researcher: A student guide to conducting psychological research, 3rd Ed., Wiley Blackwell, Chichester,
  • Field, A. & Hole G.: 2003, How to Design and Report Experiments, Sage, London, UK,
  • Flick, U.: 2014, An introduction to qualitative research, 5th Ed., Sage, London, UK,
  • Oliver, P.: 2010, The student's guide to research ethics, Open University Press, Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK, 9780335237975
  • Passer, M.: 2017, Research Methods, 2nd, Worth Publishers, New York, USA, 9781319292652
  • Smith, J.A. (Editor): 2015, Qualitative psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, 3rd Ed., SAGE Publications Ltd., London, UK,
Other Resources

Readings will be supplemented by core module materials such as journal articles, on-line resources and materials prepared for lectures and practical sessions.
Programme or List of Programmes
BPDTBSc Psychology & Disruptive Technologies
BPMBSc in Psychology with Mathematics

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