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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 12/10/2022 14:00:23

Title of Module: Addiction Psychology Dissertation

Code: POAB11001 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 focusses upon the development and production of an empirical contribution to addiction psychology research.  The module will require students to undertake a critical review of relevant addiction literature within a chosen domain and propose an appropriate research question for postgraduate investigation.  The student, with support and tuition from their research supervisor, will produce a research proposal and consider potential ethical implications and mitigation of the proposed research design.  After ethical approval is acheived students will commence data collection and analysis.  The student will produce an empirical contribution to the addiction psychology literature, written up as a research report. 

Within the module, students will get an opportunity to understand translational issues within applied research.  More specifically, students will learn about the challenges in communicating and applying scientific and empirical evidence in response to real world social problems (in this case Addiction Disorder). Guidance is given through a series of workshops, seminars and individual tutorials with supervisors. Supervisors will also spend some of their contact time with students discussing and providing guidance regarding career development, including further postgraduate study and/or a career in a related field on graduating.

This module will develop the following graduate attributes: 

Critical Thinker




Potential leader





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 2


Term 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. Plan and produce a critical review of addiction literature.

L2. Identify and investigate a research question in the field of Addiction Psychology.

L3. Contribute to the understanding of addiction-related phenomena by engaging in and producing primary research

L4. Articulate and communicate empirical research findings in addiction effectively to non-specialist audiences.

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 and/or work with:

Extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in Addiction Psychology.
Detailed knowledge of epistemologies in psychological research.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Apply knowledge, skills and understanding:

Critical appreciation and application of appropriate ethical standards in the research process.
Research question formulation and development.
Development of research designs in psychology with appropriate methodologies.
Generate empirical findings in the field of Addiction Psychology.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Critical evaluation of empirical literature.
Planning and evaluation of complex research designs.
Effective information retrieval and handling skills where appropriate.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Demonstrate the ability to present information to a general public, lay 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 achieve desired objectives.
Function as an independent learner capable of adopting a self-reflective approach to learning.

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

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module utilises a blended model of delivery employing mixed modes of learning, teaching and assessment. Prior to the module, 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. Supervision 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. 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
Personal Development Plan0
Independent Study568
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. (2013). Evaluating, doing, and writing research in Psychology. London: Sage.

Berry, R. (2004). The research project: How to write it. London: Routledge.

Cone, J. D., & Foster, S. L. (2018). Dissertations and theses from start to finish: Psychology and related fields. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Jhangiani, R. S., Chiang, I. A., Cuttler, C. & Leighton, D. C. (2019). Research Methods in Psychology (4th Ed.). Open Science Textbook.

Relevant journals including but not limited to:

Addiction; Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology; Addiction Biology; Psychology of Addictive Behaviors; Addictive Behaviors; Journal of Behavioral Addictions; Drug and Alcohol Dependence; Addiction Research and Theory;

(**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 full-time 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 available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPsychology & Social Work
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPsychology
ModeratorC Longman
External ExaminerA Harris
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Research Dissertation (10,000 words). Students are required to complete an original, empirical research study in the field of Addiction Psychology. (70% of Module Mark)
Digital Communication Report. Students are required to communicate their dissertation research findings and their implications for public consumption using a combination of both written (e.g. blog) and/or verbal (e.g. vlog) digital communication formats. (30% of Module Mark)
(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) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Dissertation/ Project report/ Thesischeck markcheck markcheck mark 700

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Report of practical/ field/ clinical workcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark300
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 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:
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.