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Research design and statistics 1B

Available October 2020

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

Students will learn about the key principles that underpin the design, implementation and interpretation of research studies about human behaviour. They will be taught a range of statistical techniques, including inferential tests of linear relationships and association. 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 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, associations and linear relationships; descriptive statistics for central tendency and dispersion; standardised scores; understanding different kinds of distribution; sampling variability.
  • Principles of research: Measuring and categorising behaviour and operationalising variables; identifying and examining research questions; causality and correlation; reliability and validity of measures; external validity of research; reporting and interpreting descriptive and correlational research; evaluating research that examines correlations and associations.
  • Analysing distributions, associations and correlations: Descriptive statistics and significance testing for association and correlation. Examining frequency distributions for categorical data with the chi-square goodness-of-fit test. Testing association with the chi-square test for contingency tables. Using, interpreting and reporting correlation coefficients, partial correlation coefficients, and simple linear regression.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students 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 correlational designs.
  • Select from and use a range of quantitative techniques appropriately to analyse, report and draw conclusions from quantitative data. This will focus on univariate and bivariate data analysis, including inferential tests of correlation and association.
  • Understand how to measure behaviour, how quantitative and qualitative 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 correlations or associations.

Assessment

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