Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module PSYC50360: Dissertation

Department: Psychology

PSYC50360: Dissertation

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2007/08
Tied to C8K107


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with experience in the design, implementation, analysis and report of an empirical project relevant to child development.
  • To help students to develop team-working skills and research management skills.
  • To develop understanding of ethical issues and codes of practice and enable students to gain experience in preparing an ethics proposal.
  • To help students to develop skills of writing, presentation and dissemination.


  • Question formulation
  • Literature searching: use of internet tools for psychology
  • Reviewing and evaluating the literature
  • Preparing a research proposal
  • Recruitment of sample
  • Design of study and preparation of method and materials
  • Data collection
  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Writing up thesis.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Specialised knowledge of a range of advanced research methods and techniques, and an ability to critically appraise their use and competence in their application.
  • Ability to recognise how historical and theoretical assumptions influence theory construction and research design.
  • In-depth theoretical knowledge of a specific topic area related to typical development, and critical awareness of emerging issues in the field.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Skill in formulating, designing, and appropriately testing a researchable question.
  • Research management skills, and understanding of ethical and professional issues and BPS codes of practice.
Key Skills:
  • Professional skills in communicating with research participants and organisations, advanced bibliographic and computing skills, skills of scholarly expression, and ability to take responsibility for own learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Objectives will be met through group meetings, tutorial discussion and independent study throughout all three terms and the summer period. Students also acquire bibliographic skills and have the opportunity to present their research proposal as part of the Research Practice module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 15-20 fortnightly 1-2 40
Preparation & Reading 560
Other: 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Ethics proposal and research protocol, dissertation 15,000 (excluding references and appendices) 100%

Formative Assessment:

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University