BSc Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Research Methods & Statistics

Course unit fact file
Unit code PSYC10100
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This course will introduce students to core principles and techniques in Research Methods and Statistics. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods will be covered. With respect to the quantitative methods, the emphasis will be on providing students with intuition about crucial aspects of statistical concepts and tests, rather than upon mathematical formulations. Students will consolidate Video-lecture based learning with frequent formative assessment and practical examples involving both hand and Excel-based calculation. The course has three major components in which students will learn foundational principles of: i) Research methodology and design; ii) Statistical analyses; iii) Qualitative and Mixed methods.

This is a compulsory Year 1 unit for the BSc Psychology programme, falling within the Cross-Cutting theme. It provides a foundation for further study in PSYC21061 Statistics and Data Analysis at Level 5 and PSYC30920 Empirical Project at Level 6.

Aims

Introduce you to quantitative and qualitative research approaches used in psychological research. It will outline and examine the components of research design and methodology and explore fundamental principles and techniques of statistical analysis. It will also incorporate an introduction to the principles of open science.
 
You will gain experience in conducting statistical analyses using appropriate software
and will have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge of research methodology in lab classes linked to other course units. More generally, the course aims to promote the development of critical thinking skills, enabling you to objectively evaluate psychological research. 

Learning outcomes

 

 
 

Teaching and learning methods

Semester 1:

In semester one there will be 8 topic blocks over the semester. For each topic block material will be delivered via self-paced learning modules. Topics RM1-RM3 (Weeks 1-3) will cover introductory Research Methods material. Topics S1-S5 (Weeks 4-11) will cover introductory Statistics material. In each self-paced learning module the Topic lead will provide a series of (approx. 10-20 minute) Video-Lectures (VLs) interspersed with formative feedback exercises after each VL. Each week there will also be a live practical class in which students will practice/conduct statistical calculations/tests using Excel.

There will also be weekly in-person problem lecture sessions with the topic leads at which problems encountered in the topic material will be addressed. Support will also be provided via discussion boards for each topic which will be monitored regularly by the topic leads. There will also be two Blackboard quizzes which provide summative assessment and cover the research methods and statistics components of the course. 

Self-paced learning materials will be supplemented by webcasts on topics that are commonly found to be difficult.

Semester 2:

In semester 2 there will be 10 topic blocks split over the semester. For each topic block material will be delivered via an online lecture module. Topics S6-S9 (approx. Weeks 1-5) will continue and complete the statistics material started in semester 1. Topic RM4 - RM5 (approx. Week 6-7) will cover ethics and questionnaire design. Topics QUAL1-4 will cover qualitative and mixed methods (approx. weeks 8-11). Before the exam there will be an additional revision session at which all 3 Topic Leads will be present to answer Qs about the material presented throughout semester 2. 

In each online lecture module the Topic lead will provide a series of (approx. 10-20 minute) Video-Lectures (VLs) interspersed with formative feedback exercises after each VL. In each week involving statistics material there will also be a TA-led synchronous practical class in which students will practice/conduct statistical calculations/tests using Excel. There will also be weekly in-person problem lecture sessions with the topic leads to address issues with the material presented in VLs. Support will also be provided via discussion boards for each topic which will be monitored regularly by the topic leads There will also be two Blackboard quizzes which provide summative assessment and cover the research methods and statistics components of the course. 

Statistics video lectures will be supplemented by webcasts on topics that are commonly found to be difficult.  

Knowledge and understanding

  • Employ key terminology and understand basic concepts and theory of research methods and statistics
  • Interpret the results of statistical analyses in the context of the research design
  • Discuss ethical considerations relating to research with human participants
  • Understand basic principles of the open science framework

Intellectual skills

  • Identify and evaluate methodological elements of published research in psychological science
  • Explain the limitations imposed by particular design decisions
  • Problem solving using elements of statistical theory

Practical skills

  • Design a methodology which is appropriate for a given research question
  • Choose appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics for different research hypotheses
  • Undertake basic statistical calculations using Excel
  • Analyse quantitative and qualitative data and present the results accurately, clearly, and concisely in tables, plots and text

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Use Excel to organise, explore and conduct basic statistical tests on data
  • Demonstrate confidence in handling and analysis of research data

Assessment methods

Summative (during Semester 1)

Open Book Blackboard Quizzes (2x45 mins comprising 10-15 questions) - 10%.

Summative (during exam period)

Sem1: On campus, online timed exam (1x120mins 35 Questions) - 30%

 

Summative (during Semester 2)

Open Book Blackboard Quizzes 2x45 mins (comprising 10-15 questions) - 10%.

Sem2: Excel Assignment - 20%

Sem2: Online Timed Exam (1x120 mins 35 Questions) - 30%

Feedback methods

Results will be released within 2 weeks of each quiz submission deadline; students will have an opportunity to review their grades and the correct answers to questions.

Recommended reading

Students will be provided with a copy of the following core text, which is a custom text developed specifically for this unit:

  • Warren, P., Fisher, A. & Edge, D. (2020). Statistics and Research Methods (4th Edition). Harlow: Pearson.

For students who enjoy mathematics, the following text provides an authoritative overview of the statistical analyses covered in the degree (as well as more advanced analyses). Note, this book is recommended as an additional text; it is not essential and should be considered as a supplement rather than a replacement of the core text:

  • Howell, D. C. (2013) Statistical methods for Psychology, International edition (8th Edition). Wadsworth

For Information and advice on Link2Lists reading list software, see:  

  • http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/academicsupport/informationandadviceonlink2listsreadinglistsoftware/ 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 40
Practical classes & workshops 18
Tutorials 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 118

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Paul Warren Unit coordinator

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