DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Research Project
Module Code PSYC524
School 37
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Maggie Brennan
Semester 2: Maggie Brennan
Autumn: Maggie Brennan
Module TeachersLisa Fitzgerald
Maggie Brennan
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 20
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

Module Aims: This module is intended to provide students with experience of conducting an independent research study and producing a written report at postgraduate level. Through a series of workshops, students will be instructed on how to conduct their research in an ethical and professional manner and on how to present their research ideas in an appropriate academic style. Students will also be supported by an academic supervisor. In this module, students will be asked to: • Identify an important research question pertinent to the field of psychology and well-being • 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 and manage the time involved to complete the project, and related report, 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 seek, appropriate academic supervision.
4. Formulate and communicate a research question 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 findings in an appropriate manner that 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.
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
Workshop24Workshops (defined topic)
Seminars8Specialist seminars on specific topics/methodologies
Directed learning48Supervision
Independent Study420Portfolio (ethics, thesis and manuscript and preparation)
Total Workload: 500

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

Indicative content
As the primary learning activity for this module, the student will work with their academic supervisor and will, under their supervision, research a specific project. Through discussions with their supervisor., the student will identify and agree upon an appropriate research question. Where appropriate, an individual from a relevant discipline in psychology (e.g. clinical psychologist) may also be appointed as an additional supervisor. Once the research question has been developed into a proposal by the student and supervisor(s), it must be approved by the DCU Research Ethics Committee, under delegated authority to the Psychology Ethics Committee (PEC; or another committee acting with its explicit authority).. Once ethical approval is granted, research will begin under the guidance of the supervisor. On completion of the project, the student will submit a final written report for examination based on their research programme. This will be 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). The student must maintain contact with the supervisor(s) throughout the research project. 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. 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 Students will also be offered a series of specialist in-house workshops (three per semester) that focus on specific methodologies and topics relevant to the study of psychology and well-being (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).

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Research PaperA 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.90%n/a
Practical/skills evaluationResearch Proposal10%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).: 0, Doing Research in the Real World., London: Sage.,
  • White, P. (2017).: 0, Developing Research Questions: A guide for social scientists., 2nd Edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan,
  • Wood, C., Giles, D. & Percy, C. (2012).: 0, Your Psychology Project Handbook: Becoming a researcher., 2nd edition. London: Pearson.,
  • Bell, J. (2014).: 0, Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science., Revised Edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press,
  • Brace, N., Kemp, R., & Snelgar, R. (2016).: 0, IBM SPSS for Psychologists: And Everybody Else (6th ed.)., Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.,
  • Braun, V. & Clarke, C. (2013).: 0, Successful Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide for Beginners., London: Sage.,
  • Evans, J. (2007).: 0, Your psychology project: The essential guide., London: Sage.,
  • Field, A. (2018).: 0, Discovering statistics using SPSS (5th ed.)., London: Sage.,
  • Gravetter, F. J., & Wallnau, L. B. (2012).: 0, Statistics for the behavioral sciences (9th ed.)., Stamford CT: Cengage.,
  • Gravetter, F. J., & Wallnau, L. B. (2016).: 0, Research methods for the behavioral sciences (5th ed.)., Stamford CT: Cengage,
  • Hair, J. F, Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2009).: 0, Multivariate data analysis. (7th ed.)., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.,
  • Harris, P. (2008).: 0, Designing and Reporting Experiments in Psychology (3rd ed.)., Maidenhead: Open University Press.,
  • Orna, L, Stevens, G. (2009).: 0, Managing information for research (2nd ed.)., Maidenhead: Open University Press.,
  • Pallant, J. (2016).: 0, SPSS Survival Manual (6th ed.)., New York: McGraw-Hill.,
  • Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013).: 0, Using multivariate statistics (6th ed.)., Boston: Pearson.,
  • Willig, C., & Stainton-rogers, W. (2007).: 0, The Sage handbook of qualitative research in psychology., London: Sage.,
  • Willig, C. (2012).: 0, Qualitative Analysis and Interpretation in Psychology., London: Open University Press,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MPWMSc in Psychology and Wellbeing

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement