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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Specialist Topic in Psychology
Module Code PSYC528
School 37
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Catherine Fassbender
Semester 2: Catherine Fassbender
Autumn: Catherine Fassbender
Module TeachersCatherine Fassbender
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module is designed to ensure that graduate students master both the theory and the practice of conducting a systematic review of a specialist applied topic directly related to their studies. Students will be expected to identify, in consultation with their academic supervisor, a topic for systematic review and to conduct the review over the course of this module. The module will require that students attend a range of seminars and workshops designed to support them in identifying and selecting a topic and in the process of conducting the systematic review to publishable standards.

Learning Outcomes

1. Articulate the goals, principles and methods of conducting a systematic review
2. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the need for evidenced-based practice in the field of psychology and related disciplines through the process of formulating a review question and writing a review protocol.
3. Search for and identify relevant primary studies
4. Demonstrate the ability to appraise and integrate published data in a synthesis of published studies
5. Demonstrate competency in interpreting and presenting the results of the review findings in a report or monograph format.
6. Critically evaluate published literature reviews and demonstrate ability to identify the potential relevance of newly emerging research findings to their own research and/or area of psychological practice.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Seminars36seminars workshops linked to completion of CAs and conducting the systematic review
Directed learning16Academic supervision
Directed learning23Library and online learning
Assignment Completion40Preparation of Review Protocol
Assignment Completion135Preparation of Systematic Review
Total Workload: 250

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
• Attendance at School-based seminars/workshops covering topics such as: • Evidenced-based practice in psychology and related disciplines. • Introduction to research synthesis, meta-analysis and systematic reviews. • Formulating a review question • Preparing and writing a review protocol (Cochrane protocol format) • Developing a detailed search strategy • Finding, screening and selecting primary studies • Quality Assessment: overview and methods • Risk of bias (e.g. publication bias, p-hacking & questionable research practices, awareness of importance of statistical power, sample size, multiple comparisons etc.). • Data extraction • Data synthesis (narrative, qualitative and quantitative) and data interpretation • Writing a systematic review • Verified completion of library and web-based training. • Identification of an appropriate systematic review topic, undertaken in consultation with an academic supervisor and the module coordinator. • Specified learning activities (preparing and writing a review protocol, developing a detailed search strategy, finding, screening and selecting primary studies, quality assessment, data extraction, data synthesis and data interpretation, writing a systematic review) undertaken in consultation with an academic supervisor. • Presentation of review findings to peers (in-house and, where practical, at national/international conferences). • Maintenance of a Review Portfolio – documenting progression though the systematic review process and reflection on lessons learned for future professional practice.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentReview protocol20%n/a
AssignmentSystematic Review Report80%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 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Boland, A.: 2017, Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide., Sage, London, UK,
  • Gough, D., Oliver, S., Thomas, J: 2017, An Introduction to Systematic Reviews., S, Sage, London:UK,
  • Egger, M., Smith, G.D., Altman, D.G. (Eds): 2016, Systematic reviews in Health Care, John Wiley & Sons., Chichester, UK,
Other Resources

59459, website, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, 2009, , Systematic Reviews: CRDs guidance for undertaking reviews in health care CRD., University of York. [Online]., http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/index_guidance.htm, 59460, website, Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, Welch VA (editors)., 2019, Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.0 (updated July 2019), Cochrane, www.training.cochrane.org/handbook,
Programme or List of Programmes
PYPMMaster of Science

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