PSYC08024 2017 Research methods for psychology

General Details

Full Title
Research methods for psychology
Transcript Title
N/A %
Subject Area
PSYC - Psychology Studies
SOCS - Social Sciences
08 - NFQ Level 8
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2017 - Full Academic Year 2017-18
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Martha Doyle
Programme Membership
SG_HENGL_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Major: English and Psychology

Recognising the methodologically diversity of current psychological research this module takes a broad approach exploring the key theoretically assumptions which underpin the positivist, or, quantitative method of inquiry and the interpretative, or, qualitative method. Exploring the advantages and disadvantages of the respective methodological paradigms, the application of mixed methods as a pragmatic way of using both approaches will be discussed. The topics of research design, sampling, data collection, problem definition, analysis, inference issues and validity within both the quantitative and qualitative paradigms will be examined and debated. Throughout the course emphasis will be placed on students’ acquiring the methodologically skills to successfully design their own research project. Through participation in research practice based workshops and laboratory work students will acquire the competency and practical skills, to analysis both qualitative and quantitative data with appropriate computer software.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Understand the key theoretical assumptions which underpin positivist and interpretative methods of enquiry.


Discuss the methodologically weaknesses and strengths of qualitative and quantitative methods of enquiry in the field of psychology.


Demonstrate an understanding of key issues as they relate to research design in qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research project.


Demonstrate a competency in analysing quantitative and qualitative research data.


Discuss the ethical dilemmas that may be involved when undertaking research in the field of psychology.


Design and present a research proposal to the required professional standard.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Material will be covered through lecturing and class-based discussion. Through participation in research practice based workshops and laboratory work, students will acquire the competency and practical skills, to analysis both qualitative and quantitative data with appropriate computer software.

Module Assessment Strategies

Group Project: Critiquing Methodological Methods

Critique a methodological research article from the European Journal of Social Psychology and outline the key epistemological assumptions made within the study and the related strengths and weakness of the data design, analysis and validity. Suggest alternative ways which the research question could be explored. (30%).

Individual Project: Developing a Research Proposal

Incorporating theoretical insights gained from other modules within the course, develop a research question and clearly outline the following research strategy:

  • How you are operationalising the research question and measurement variable
  • The study population and your sampling method
  • Data collection methods (including draft research instruments, such a survey or interview schedule)
  • Data processing and data analysis techniques to be used (70%)

Repeat Assessments

As per Department guidelines. Repeat requirements will be dependent on failed components.

Indicative Syllabus

  • Principles and origins of positivist and interpretive research.
  • Ethical considerations in psychology research.
  • Research design in psychological studies: Sampling, data collection, problem definition, analysis, inference and validity.
  • Working with quantitative data: Descriptive and inferential statistics, parametric and non-parametric test, confidence intervals, analysis of variance, linear regression and factor analysis.
  • Working with qualitative data: Case study, observation, ethnography, inductive and deductive qualitative interviewing. Thematic analysis, grounded theory, narrative analysis, discourse analysis and interpretative phenomenological approaches.
  • Mixed methods research: Methodological and analytical issues.
  • Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data with computer software.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Assessmenet Continuous Assessment Assessment 100 % Week 12 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Laboratory Practical Not Specified Practicals 2 Weekly 2.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Breakwell, G. M., Smith, J. A. and Wright, D. B. (Eds): (2012). Research Methods in Psychology. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Creswell, J. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches.Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Cresswell, J. (2014). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design. (3rd Edition) London, Sage.

Evans, J. (2007) Your Psychology Project. The Essential Guide. London: Sage

Miles M., and Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Mulhern, G. and Greer, B.(2011). Making Sense of Data and Statistics in Psychology, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillian.

Robson, C. (2002). Real World Research: A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner-Researchers(Second ed.). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Smith, J. A. (2008) Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods. London: Sage.

Tashakkori, A. & Teddlie, C. (2003). Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.