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


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2016 - 2017

Module Title Research & Psychotherapy
Module Code NS591
School School of Nursing and Human Sciences

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module is an introduction to the research methodologies of the social sciences and psychotherapy specifically. Students are introduced to the process of developing a research proposal and managing a research project in an ethical manner that is in accordance with professional psychotherapy standards. The module aims to underline the indispensable role research has in evaluating psychotherapy and psychotherapy issues with an emphasis on practice-based research. In this module students will develop knowledge and skills in ethics, research design, literature review, data collection and analysis, interpretation, write-up and dissemination. Students will participate in the following learning activities: lectures, individual and group work exercises, small and full group discussions on the stages of completing a research proposal and research ethics committee application. Where possible there will also be a library seminar during which students will learn to use the University library databases and other resources.

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand and communicate the importance of research as an integrated aspect of the psychotherapy profession
2. Design a research proposal that will inform the creation of a Research Ethics form
3. Understand the ethical issues regarding research with human participants in line with the standards of the psychotherapy profession
4. Evaluate the main approaches to research, including their philosophical roots, in the context of counselling and psychotherapy based research
5. Undertake a comprehensive literature review pertaining to their research topic, including a critical evaluation of existing research and other materials
6. Apply their understanding of research to professional record keeping and case management
7. Demonstrate how they have used findings from their review of relevant research in their own clinical practise.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Seminars32.5Attending and fully participating fully in one full day and 7 3 hr class seminars per academic year
Independent Study26Sourcing Books and articles from reading list, reading in depth (including note-taking where appropriate) in preparation for participation in class
Directed learning20Sourcing and reading books and articles on research topic of interest
Group work6Students gather in groups of four to discuss material arising out of class lectures
Independent Study10.5Time to reflect o how the theories and approaches to research
Assignment Completion30Completing Research Proposal’ to demonstrate accomplishment of learning outcomes and appropriate level of academic writing
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

Students will focus on the following topics and/or attend to the following

The Role of Research within Psychotherapy
The contribution of research to the development of the psychotherapy profession and practice will underpin student learning. They will be encouraged to develop a research identity that enables them to explore and articulate their own contribution to the field.

The Design of a Research Project
The systematic process of developing a viable and real world research project will be progressed through the course including the following stages of research design: field and topic identification, development of research questions and hypotheses, data collection methods, data analysis, interpretation and write-up and dissemination.

Research Methodology
As well as teaching different approaches to research methodology, the course will open up the possibilities of the use of a range of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. Research with human participants and texts will be considered. Issues of reliability, representivity, validity and reflexivity will inform exploration of the selection of methods appropriate to the central research question(s) or hypothesis(es)

Literature Review
The practice of systematic, rigorous and critical review of literature will be covered in this section. A session with the subject librarian in DCU will familiarise students with library databases and other resources such as Refworks. A literature review plan will be developed by students in order that they can complete a literature review for their research proposal assessment.

Irish and European Codes of Practice for psychotherapy researchers will be introduced and used to underpin consideration of ethical issues at each stage of the research project (listed above). Ethical dilemmas in research with human participants will be explored. The process of applying to a Research Ethics Committee application will be rehearsed including the different procedures for receiving ethical approval.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
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
Indicative Reading List

  • Cooper, M.: 2008, Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Sage, London, 978-1847870438
  • Creswell, J.W.: 2009, Research design, 3rd Edition, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 978-1412965576
  • Dallos, R., Vetere,A.: 2005, Researching psychotherapy and counselling, Open University Press, Maidenhead, 978-0335214020
  • Oliver, P.: 2003, The student's guide to research ethics, Open University Press, Maidenhead, Berkshire, 978-0335210879
  • Robson, C.: 2011, Real World Research, 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 978-1405182409
  • Blaxter, L.: 2010, How to Research, 4th edition, Open University Press, Maidenhead, 978-0335238675
  • Dawson, C.: 2009, Introduction to Research Methods, 4th edition, How To Books, Oxford, 978-1845283674
  • Ellis, C., Flaherty, M. G. (editors): 1992, Investigating subjectivity, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, 978-0803944978
  • Evans, J.D.: 1985, Invitation to psychological research, Holt, New York, 978-0030636028
  • Feltham, C (Editor): 1998, Witness and vision of the therapists, Sage, London, 978-0761951599
  • Hart, C: 1998, Doing a literature review, SAGE, London, 978-0761959755
  • Herr, K., L. Anderson, G. L.: 2005, The action research dissertation, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 978-0761929918
  • Kopala, M., Suzuki, L.A (editors): 1999, Using qualitative methods in psychology, Sage, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 978-0761910374
  • McLeod, J.: 2011, Qualitative Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy, 2nd edition, Sage, London, 978-1849200622
  • Punch, K F: 2013, Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, 3rd Edition, Sage, London, 978-1446240939
  • Reason, P., Rowan, J.: 1981, Human inquiry: A Sourcebook of New Paradigm Research, Wiley, Chichester, 978-0471279365
  • Smith, J. A., Harre, R., Van Langenhove. l.: 1995, Rethinking methods in psychology, Sage, London, 978-0803977334
Other Resources

0, Databases, 0, PsychINFO Counselling and Psychotherapy Transcripts / Client Narratives and Reference Works, 0, Journals, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychology Review Psychotherapy Research, 0, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychology Review Psychotherapy Research,
Programme or List of Programmes
GDPCGDip in Counselling & Psychotherapy
MDPCMSc in Counselling & Psychotherapy