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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Psychology Research Project
Module Code PSYC510
School 37
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: David McGovern
Semester 2: David McGovern
Autumn: David McGovern
Module TeachersDavid McGovern
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 30
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module is intended to provide students with experience of conducting an independent research study and producing a dissertation at postgraduate level. Through a series of workshops and seminars, students will be instructed on how to conduct their research in an ethical and professional manner and on how to present their research in an appropriate academic style. Students will also be supported by an academic supervisor. In this module, students will be asked to: Identify, in consultation with their academic supervisor, a suitable research question pertinent to the field of psychology. Design an appropriate study to address that research question. Carry out the study in an ethical and professional manner. Use appropriate methods to analyse the resultant data. Complete a manuscript that contextualises the study and reports the findings in an appropriate academic style.

Learning Outcomes

1. Design and plan a research project, which is appropriate to NFQ Level 9 standard, and manage the time involved to complete the project, and related report(s), within given time constraints.
2. Source, read and critically evaluate the primary literature on the chosen topic.
3. Demonstrate the ability to work independently and also to recognise the need for, and to seek, appropriate academic supervision.
4. Formulate and communicate a research problem or aim.
5. Identify, justify and use an appropriate methodology in addressing the proposed research question or aim.
6. Consider ethical and professional issues that might affect the study and design a methodology that satisfies ethical and professional standards of psychological research.
7. Collect data via appropriate means in the laboratory or in the field.
8. Accurately record, interpret and report research findings in a manner that appropriately addresses the research question or aim.
9. Critically analyse, interpret and draw conclusions from the research findings in the context of the literature in the area in a manner which is appropriate to NFQ Level 9 standard.
10. Communicate results in a clear, concise and scholarly manner by means of a formal written report that follows the accepted conventions of the discipline.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Workshop40Workshops on defined topics
Directed learning50Research Supervision
Independent Study660Portfolio (Research Proposal, Oral Presentation, Literature Review, Research Manuscript)
Total Workload: 750

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

Module Content
As the primary learning activity, the student will work with their academic supervisor and will, under their supervision, research a specific project directly relevant to psychology. Through discussions with their supervisor, the student will identify and agree upon an appropriate research question and research methodology. When the student has developed a viable research proposal, the project must be submitted to and approved by the DCU Research Ethics Committee, under delegated authority to the School Ethics Advisory Committee (EAC; or another committee acting with its explicit authority). Once ethical approval is granted, data collection can begin under the guidance of the supervisor.

In addition to one-to-one supervision with his/her supervisor, students will be asked to attend a series of workshops that target various stages of the research process, including the following topics: • Conducting a research project in an ethical and professional manner • Preparing a research proposal and negotiating ethics committee’s requirements • Research design and data analysis • APA style formatting and referencing • Disseminating research findings

Specialist Seminars
Students will also be offered a series of specialist in-house seminars (three per semester) that focus on specific methodologies and topics relevant to psychological research (e.g. specific qualitative and quantitative research techniques). Ordinarily, students will be expected to attend at least two of these specialist seminar classes in each semester. However, from time to time, a student may elect to attend, with prior approval from their supervisor, external classes or workshops that are deemed appropriate to their programme of study. Students will identify the relevance, and appropriateness, of these seminars (either in-house or external) in consultation with their supervisor(s).

Research Project
On completion of the research project, the student will submit a formally structured manuscript, which will be prepared to follow the conventions of the discipline and satisfy the submission requirements of a target peer-reviewed journal (journal to be identified and discussed with the supervisor(s) in advance). Throughout the research project, the student must maintain contact with the supervisor(s). In collaboration with the supervisor(s), he/she must devise a realistic timetable for the work and seek to adhere to this. He/she must also let his/her supervisor(s) know, in a timely fashion, of any difficulty encountered.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentProject Proposal: Students must produce a detailed project proposal that outlines the research question at the heart of their project and motivation for addressing this topic. Students will also be required to describe the methodology they will use to address this research question10%n/a
PresentationA conference-style oral presentation in Semester 2 where the student must communicate their research background, rationale and methodology, following receipt of ethical approval.10%n/a
Report(s)A literature review that provides background to the research project and justifies the research methods employed15%n/a
Research PaperA formal written report in the form of a research manuscript that conveys the results of the research project.65%n/a
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 2
Indicative Reading List

  • Gray, D. E.: 2018, Doing Research in the Real World, SAGE, London, UK,
  • White, P.: 2017, Developing Research Questions: A guide for social scientists., 2nd, Palgrave McMillan, Basingstoke, UK,
  • Wood, C., Giles, D. & Percy, C.: 2012, Your Psychology Project Handbook: Becoming a researcher., 2nd, Pearson, London, UK,
  • Bell, J.: 2014, Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science.,, Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK,
  • Brace, N., Kemp, R., & Snelgar, R.: 2016, IBM SPSS for Psychologists: And Everybody Else, 6th, Routledge, Abington, UK,
  • Braun, V. & Clarke, C.: 2013, Successful Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide for Beginners, SAGE, London, UK,
  • Evans, J.: 2007, Your psychology project: The essential guide, SAGE, London, UK,
  • Field, A.: 2018, Discovering statistics using SPSS, 5th, SAGE, London, UK,
  • Gravetter, F. J., & Wallnau, L. B.: 2012, Statistics for the behavioral sciences, 9th, Cengage, Stamford CT, US,
  • Gravetter, F. J., & Wallnau, L. B.: 2016, Research methods for the behavioral sciences, 5th ed, Cengage, Stamford CT, US,
  • Hair, J. F, Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L.: 2009, Multivariate data analysis., 7th, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, US,
  • Harris, P.: 2009, Designing and Reporting Experiments in Psychology, 3rd, Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK,
  • Orna, L, Stevens, G.: 2009, Managing information for research, 2nd, Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK,
  • Pallant, J.: 2016, SPSS Survival Manual, 6th, McGraw-Hill, New York, US,
  • Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S.: 2013, Using multivariate statistics, 6th, Pearson, Boston, US,
  • Willig, C., & Stainton-rogers, W.: 2007, The Sage handbook of qualitative research in psychology, SAGE, London, UK,
  • Willig, C.: 2012, Qualitative Analysis and Interpretation in Psychology, Open University Press, London, UK,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MPCMSc in Psychology (Conversion)

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