Research design and statistics 1A

Available April 2020

This module provides foundational training in the principles and skills required for understanding, applying, and conducting psychological research. The module will cover (1) the principles of research (research methodology, measurement, design) and (2) data analysis (understanding, conducting and reporting data analysis).

Students will be taught a range of statistical techniques, including inferential tests of group differences for measurement data. They will learn how to interpret the information that these techniques produce, so that they are better able to understand and interpret psychological research conducted by others, and are equipped to conduct psychological research and draw appropriate conclusions from this research.

Topics covered

The main topic areas are:

  • Foundational statistical concepts and techniques for psychological research: Variables; describing distributions and group differences for measurement data; descriptive statistics for central tendency and dispersion; standardised scores; understanding and using the normal distribution; sampling variability; estimation and confidence intervals for a mean. 
  • Principles of research: Measuring behaviour and operationalising variables; forming and testing research hypotheses; the logic and implementation of behavioural experiments (manipulating an independent variable, control groups, dependent variables, etc.); reporting and interpreting experiments and quasi-experiments; within- and between-subjects experimental designs; internal validity of research; evaluating research that examines group differences.
  • Analysing group differences: Descriptive statistics and significance testing for group differences: one-sample, related-sample and independent-sample differences. Using confidence intervals and standardised effect size to describe mean differences. Significance testing. Inferences about mean differences: using, interpreting and reporting t-tests. Non-parametric tests of group differences for measurement data.

Learning outcomes 

On successful completion of this module, student are expected to be able to:

  • Critically evaluate psychological research, being able to comment appropriately on the design, analysis and interpretation of published research. This will focus on research involving simple group comparisons. 
  • Select from and use a range of quantitative techniques appropriately to analyse, report and draw conclusions from a quantitative data. This will focus on univariate and bivariate data analysis, including inferential tests of group differences. 
  • Understand how to measure behaviour, how quantitative data can be collected and analysed, and to appreciate the strengths and limitations of different research methodologies. 
  • Write the Method and Results sections for a research study that examines group differences.


  • Coursework (30%)
  • Examination (70%)