BSc Educational Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Research issues in psychology and education (1)

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC13060
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by School of Environment, Education and Development
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit is intended as a cohesive and comprehensive grounding in core issues surrounding research in psychology and education. 


The unit is intended as a cohesive and comprehensive grounding in core issues surrounding research in psychology and education.  The unit covers six major themes:

  • A gentle introduction to the concept of paradigm and it’s importance in the interpretation and conducting of research
  • An examination of major approaches in the collection of qualitative data
  • An examination of major approaches in the collection of quantitative data
  • A discussion how different strands of research can inter-relate and inform one another
  • The importance and integration of ethics throughout the research process (demonstrated through small-scale practice data collection elements)
  • The embedded role of ethics in each stage of the research process.

Principle areas of psychology (e.g. memory, attitudes, individual differences) will be used to demonstrate how closely core areas of psychology are influenced by method (and visa versa).

Learning outcomes

Category of outcome

Students should/will (please delete as appropriate) be able to:

Knowledge and understanding


Demonstrate an awareness of ethical principles and approval procedures, and be aware of the ethical context of psychology as a discipline.


Identify a range of methods and approaches (and their underlying paradigms) for the use of collecting evidence.


Intellectual skills


Evaluate the strengths and weakness of approaches in order to recognise when different methods are best used


Explain how an overall aim can be achieved through application of mixed methods


Highlight limitations in previous research to create a rationale for further study, linking appropriate methods


Practical skills


Apply methods knowledge the creating a rationale and feasible design for research, noting key principles of mixed method designs.


 Demonstrate an awareness of the practicalities of research design (e.g. sampling)

Transferable skills and personal qualities





Be able to problem solve by clarifying questions, consideration solutions and evaluating likely outcomes

Take charge of their own learning and undertake self-directed study to produce a credit-bearing assignment

Written communication

Oral communication (contributing to discussion and debate)

Working with others (group work, case-based work)

IT skills (word processing, accessing electronic databases and library facilities, managing references)



Teaching and learning methods

 Face to face lectures (e.g. including whole class discussion and debate, case/scenario based learning, and other approaches to learning and teaching)

 Small group seminars (developing essential skills)

 Guided experiential learning through practice data collection

 Supplementary e-learning resources e.g. online videos provided online


Assessment methods

Assessment task Length How and when feedback is provided Weighting within unit
Students are to select one key issue from a short list (see below) and are to construct a research proposal, utilising a mixed method design, indicating how different data strands offer different interpretations on a central issue. 2,500 Written feedback (utilising Turn-it-in), within University guidelines. 100%

Exemplar issues for exploration:

  • Test anxiety – How do we ascertain prevalence, how individuals experience or report on its impact, and the extent findings are congruent with existing theory
  • Is there a ‘mental health crisis’ in the adolescent population?  E.g. there has been reported a rise self-harm admissions in A+E, particularly for female adolescents.  How can we better understand this phenomenon?
  • There is a long-standing attainment gap for those pupils eligible for free school meals.  How is this understood, and how can we investigate further?
  • You may propose your own title, but you must show Michael first for approval.

Additional guided material and key readings will be provided on Blackboard

Students are also required to complete an online ‘mid term quiz’, as indicated on Blackboard.  This assessment covers a breadth of knowledge from across the unit.   

This assessment is open book may be completed at any time, and multiple re-sits are allowed.  However, a pass mark of at least 80% is required in order to be able to submit your credit-bearing assignment.

Feedback methods

Written feedback (utilising Turn-it-in), within University guidelines.

Recommended reading

 Clough, P. and Nutbrown, C. (2012). A student’s guide to methodology. London: Sage.

 Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education 7th Edition. London: Routledge-Falmer. 

 Mertens, D. (2011). Research and evaluation in education and psychology 3rd Edition. London: Sage.

 Robson, C. (2011). Real World Research  3rd Edition. West Sussex: Wiley.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Michael Wigelsworth Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Hours Allocated

Staff/ Student contact

20* content and workshop sessions @ 1.5 hours


Private study, reading and assignment preparation


Preparation for sessions


Total Hours



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