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Research Methods in Psychology

University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2020/21

Module Code:


Module Name:

Research methods in Psychology

Module Credits (CATS):


Module Convener

Hester Duffy

Module Teachers

Postgraduate Teachers

Module Aims

The module provides skills and knowledge necessary for understanding the nature of empirical work in psychology, and for designing, implementing, analysing, and reporting the student's own empirical investigations. The module provides valuable preparation for the second and third year projects.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

Subject knowledge:

  • understand, implement and discuss the principles of psychological research;
  • understand the principles of experimental, observational and questionnaire methods;
  • understand the principles of qualitative methods in psychology;
  • understand ethical issues in psychological research.
  • design studies to collect, analyse and interpret data, and to apply these skills to write reports of empirical investigations that conform to the standard American Psychological Association format.

Demonstrate Key skills:

  • written and oral communication skills;
  • use of SPSS;
  • group work.

Demonstrate Cognitive skills:

  • critical analysis, formulation and testing of hypotheses

Subject specific/Professional skills:

  • write reports of empirical investigations that conform to the standard American Psychological Association format; this includes, but is not limited to, article structure and referencing conventions.

Assessed by:

3 Practical reports, 1 project report.

Project report and presentation

Class test and reports



Module Work Load

Module Length

24 weeks


One 1 hour lecture per week


One two hour laboratory class per week


Attendance at the lecture and allocated lab class on the allocated day is compulsory

Module Assessment


Research experiments



Practical reports: 3 x practical report






3. Research Project Report






Class Test



Module Reading List

Essential course text

Howell, D. C. (2008). Fundamental statistics for the behavioral sciences (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. (or a more recent edition of this text)

Field, A. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS (3rd ed.). London: Sage. (or a more recent edition of this text)

These will also be used for the second-year methods course.

Howell, D. & Cramer, D. (2014). Introduction to SPSS in Psychology (6th ed.). Harlow, England: Pearson.