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


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2019 - 2020

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This year-long module will introduce students to the most common quantitative and qualitative research designs, methodologies, sampling and analytic techniques in psychology. It will also introduce students to basic statistical tests, their appropriate usage and how to compute them using SPSS statistical software. A strong emphasis will be placed on developing and supporting statistical reasoning skills, including analytic competence, through laboratory experiments and computer-based practical sessions. The content of practical sessions in this module will also be informed by other core psychology modules taken in Year 1.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify and evaluate ethical issues in undertaking psychological research
2. Describe basic qualitative and quantitative research designs and methods, and assess their strengths and limitations
3. Describe qualitative analytical techniques
4. Formulate an independent group design and a within group design
5. Describe, conduct and interpret basic descriptive statistics such as central tendency and variance
6. Describe statistical concepts such as the normal distribution, probability, sampling distributions, and hypothesis testing
7. Construct confidence intervals
8. Describe, conduct and interpret inferential statistics
9. Use SPSS to perform statistical tests
10. Write practical reports that outline the rationale, method, analysis, interpretation of findings and subsequent conclusions
11. Use library and online psychology resources effectively

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture48Introduction to statistical and probability concepts and reasoning skills - theories, methods and tests
Laboratory48Statistical reasoning skills are supported using learning activities, including conducting experiments and analyzing data sets
Independent Study114Write up of practicals, becoming familiar with statistical concepts and research methods, identifying and critiquing key readings, report preparation
Independent Study36Preparing for in-class exams
Directed learning4In Class Examination
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

Introduction – the scientific approach in psychology

Accessing and effectively using library and online resources in psychology

Report writing

Research ethics

Research methods

Qualitative methods


Focus groups

Thematic analysis

Content analysis

Rigour in research

Research Design

Observational design

Quasi-experimental design: Survey

Experimental vs Correlational design

Correlational design

Introduction to experimental design

Within- and between-subject design

Variables and levels of measurement

Describing and exploring Data using graphs

Descriptive statistics – measures of central tendency & dispersion


Confidence intervals

Hypothesis testing

Inferential statistics (tests of difference and association for two conditions) e.g. Parametric and non-parametric statistics

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
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

  • Brace, N., Kemp, R., & Snelgar, R.: 2016, IBM SPSS for psychologists: And Everybody Else, 6th Ed., Routledge, Abingdon, UK,
  • Braun, V & Clarke, C: 2013, Successful Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide for Beginners., SAGE, London, UK,
  • Cohen, B.H.: 2013, Explaining Psychological Statistics, 4th Ed., Wiley, London, UK,
  • Field, Andy: 2018, Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics, 5th Ed., SAGE, London, UK,
  • Gravetter, F.J. & Wallnau, L. B.: 2012, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, 9th Ed., Wadsworth Publishing, Belmont: CA, 9781111830991
  • 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,
  • American Psychological Association,: 2009, Concise Rules of APA Style, 6th Ed., Eurospan University Press, London, 9781433805608
  • Brace, N., Kemp, R., & Snelgar, R.: 2015, SPSS for psychologists: A guide to data analysis using SPSS for Windows, 5th Ed., Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, UK,
  • Breakwell, G. M., Hammond, S., Fife-Schaw, C., & Smith, J. A.: 2012, Research Methods in Psychology, 4th Ed., SAGE Publications Ltd., London,
  • 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,
  • Greene, J. & D’Oliveira, M.: 2005, Learning to use statistical tests in psychology, 3rd Ed., Open University Press., Buckingham, UK,
  • Hinkle, D. E.: 2009, Applied Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences: International Edition, 5th Ed., Houghton Mifflin, Boston, USA, 9780495808855
  • Howell, D.C.: 2012, Statistical Methods for Psychology, 8th Ed., Wadsworth, Hampshire, UK,
  • Moore, D.S., McCabe, G.P. & Craig, B.: 2016, Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, 9th Ed., W.H.Freeman & Co, New York, USA,
  • Oliver, P.: 2010, The student's guide to research ethics, Open University Press, Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK, 9780335237975
  • Pallant, J.: 2016, SPSS Survival Manual, 6th Ed., Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK,
  • Smith, J.A. (Editor): 2015, Qualitative psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, 3rd Ed., SAGE Publications Ltd., London, UK,
  • Willig, C.: 2013, Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3rd Ed., Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK,
  • Wright, D.B. & London, K.: 2009, First (and Second) Steps in Statistics, 2nd Ed, SAGE Publications Ltd., London, 9781412911429
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes