Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module PSYC42230: Critical Research Practice

Department: Psychology

PSYC42230: Critical Research Practice

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2020/21
Tied to C8K109
Tied to C8K009
Tied to C8K409


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide the knowledge and skills required to design, conduct and disseminate research in psychology
  • To provide guidance on how to conduct psychological research ethically
  • To provide analytical skills required to critically evaluate research in psychology
  • To provide practical training in a range of transferable skills relevant for professional and personal development


  • This module covers the stages involved in conducting research in psychology, from experimental design to dissemination.
  • This module also covers the techniques and tools required for the critical appraisal of research.
  • It covers topics such as:
  • - The relationship between epistemology and research methods;
  • - Best practice in designing and planning research;
  • - Ethical issues surrounding research;
  • - Risk assessment;
  • - Data management
  • - Critical analysis skills required to assess the robustness of research methods and validity of conclusions;
  • - Research integrity and spotting/ avoiding questionable research practices;
  • - The use and misuse of statistical methodologies and errors in data handling;
  • - Pre-registration of psychological research;
  • - Varied modes of research dissemination (including writing styles and strategies for communicating to different audiences).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of research design and strategy, including the selection and interpretation of alternative methods and techniques
  • The ability to formulate and evaluate researchable problems
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Capabilities for managing research
Key Skills:
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Transferable employment skills relevant for professional and personal development, including: ability to communicate complex information, time management and organisation of work

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

  • This module will be delivered by the Department of Psychology
  • This module is taught through lectures, seminars, and workshops
  • This module is assessed formatively through a poster presentation
  • This module is assessed summatively through an oral presentation and written assignments (lay summary of dissertation and critical analysis of a research paper)

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 6 2 hours 12
Seminars 4 2 hours 8
Workshops 1 2 hours 2
Preparation and reading 278
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Oral presentation Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Flashtalk 3 minutes 100%
Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Lay summary of dissertation 500 words 100%
Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written assignment (Critical Analysis Report) 1500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Poster presentation

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