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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 12/10/2022 14:26:42

Title of Module: Psychology Research Dissertation

Code: PSYC11004 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 60 ECTS: 30
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:G  Bruce

Summary of Module

This module introduces students to independent empirical research in psychology.  This is done through a series of taught workshops which run alongside a supervised independent research study.

As preparatory work for the module, students will complete the Research Methods in Psychology module which introduces the skills of developing and preparing a research project.  In addition, students will receive a series of workshops outlining staff research interests and potential project areas.  Workshops will also focus on the importance of ethics and the viability and scope of dissertation projects.  Students will also discuss their project ideas in one-to-one sessions.

Students will present a research proposal which must be psychological and empirical in nature. This will include an ethical approval form. Approval of this proposal and full ethical approval is required to prior to the start of the study. Throughout the module, workshops will cover key issues which support the research project; these include ethics, analysis, etc. In addition workshops will focus on the skills required to disseminate findings both in written and oral formats.  This module will build on skills developed throughout the programme to enable students act as independent researchers. Furthermore, students completing this module will show competency in both registering research ideas and in producing a manuscript suitable for publication thus demonstrating that they are ready to embark on a research career and have the graduate skills to do so.

In terms of final assessment, students will be required to submit their dissertation in an academic, ‘journal-style’ format.

  • Engage with scientific literature in an area of current psychology

  • Conduct an empirical research study in a current area of psychology

  • Perform appropriate analysis and report and interpret results scientifically

  • Present research findings in a conference style setting

  • Prepare a manuscript in a format suitable for submission for publication in a current psychology journal

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3check mark

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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. The ability to critically review and synthesise an extensive body of literature on a specific topic and formulate a research question.

L2. The ability to present an oral summary of the background and methodology of this research to an informed audience.

L3. The ability to design, implement and present an independent piece of research in a standard, written academic format

L4. The ability to analyse and critically reflect on the research process.

L5. A critical and in-depth understanding of research ethics.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

Demonstrate knowledge that covers and integrates most of the principle areas, features, boundaries, terminology and conventions of carrying out empirical research in psychology, and specifically in the subject area covered by the research project

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Demonstrate extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in one or more specialisms
Demonstrate a critical awareness of how to formulate research hypotheses and operationalise research constructs.
Demonstrate a critical appreciation and application of appropriate ethical standards in the research process.
Have the ability to select, conduct, and analyse /evaluate appropriate laboratory and non- laboratory measurements of behaviour.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Plan and execute a significant research project.
Demonstrate effective information retrieval and handling skills where appropriate.
Demonstrate the ability to describe and critically evaluate research literature.
Demonstrate the ability to analyse, evaluate and use data in a variety of forms, including numerical and statistical data.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Demonstrate the ability to present information to an informed audience.
Demonstrate the ability to comprehend and critically evaluate numerical, statistical and other forms of data within a research context.
Communicate with professional level peers and subject specialists.
Complete an appropriately structured CV

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Demonstrate the ability to undertake self-directed study to achieve specified goals.
Demonstrate the ability to work independently and manage one’s own time.
Demonstrate effective time and resource management to achieved desired objectives.
Function as an independent learner capable of adopting a self-reflective approach to learning.
Understand and appreciate the need to conduct practical work in line with BPS ethical guidelines.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:
Research Methods in Psychology

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module will be delivered via a hybrid approach with a combination of lecture material, workshops.

Prior to the finalising a topic, students will be provided with information on research interests of staff in the Psychology group and will work with a member of staff to produce a research proposal. They will be supervised by a member of staff who has the appropriate expertise in the proposed area of study, and who will guide the student through the research process.
Students and supervisors will produce an agreed learning contract that will specify a schedule of supervision meetings and the nature of these meetings. These meetings will focus not only on the specific content of the research project, but will also emphasise the generic nature of the skills that have been acquired through the completion of a research project.
In addition to guidance on the specific project, the supervisor will provide a point of contact through which students can discuss matters such as creating their CV and also their post-graduation plans.
Within the learning activities, Lecture/Core Content delivery refers to Workshops, Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity refers to one-to-one supervision sessions and Asynchronous Class Activity refers to presentation and directed learning.
While working in a peer style relationship with a member of staff, this module allows students to bring together a number of skills developed within the programme in a focused manner e.g. time management, critical analysis, developing autonomy, and IT, numeracy and literacy skills.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity20
Independent Study565
Personal Development Plan3
600 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bell, P., Staines, P., & Michell, J. (2001). Evaluating, doing and writing research in Psychology. Sage Publications.

Dancey, C. P., & Reidy, J. (2011). Statistics without maths for psychology (5th ed.). Pearson.

Field, A. (2018) Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS. Sage Publications.

Smith J,A, (2015) Qualitative Psychology. Sage Publications.

British Journal of Psychology

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPsychology & Social Work
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUg/Pg Psychology
ModeratorN McGuigan
External ExaminerJ Bohan
Accreditation DetailsBPS
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Conference style individual presentation worth 20%
Final project written as journal article worth 80%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentation check mark  check mark200.5

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Dissertation/ Project report/ Thesischeck mark check markcheck markcheck mark800
Combined Total For All Components100% 0.5 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.