Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Psychology


Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to CFG0
Tied to CFG1
Tied to CV85
Tied to CV58
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LMVA
Tied to X1C8
Tied to XC82
Tied to XC81


  • PSYC1062 Introduction to Psychological Research AND PSYC2261 Advanced Psychological Research for Non-Single Honours


  • PSYC2251 Differential and Clinical Psychology

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • PSYC3102 Psychology Dissertation


  • To provide students with the experience of identifying an issue in psychology that is amenable to empirical investigation, formulating the research question, identifying and appropriately dealing with ethical issues associated with psychological research, employing appropriate methods of investigation and analysis, and interpreting the results in light of relevant empirical work and psychological theory.


  • Students are expected to build on the skills acquired during the earlier part of the programme to carry out an investigation in psychology
  • Students will normally work in pairs or small groups supervised by a member of staff
  • It is anticipated that most projects will take the form of an empirical investigation, though it is possible for students to pursue relevant non-experimental dissertations (e.g. connectionist modelling projects or novel theoretical work) with the special permission of the Board of Studies
  • Clear presentation of results and appropriate analyses are very important, and critical evaluation relating findings to existing literature must be included
  • The project report is written up as a scientific report approximating the form and standard found in psychology journals
  • Students normally collect data working in their pairs (or small groups), but must write up the dissertation individually

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Good written communication skills as evidenced by clear, well-written project adopting high scientific standards and conforming to a journal style
  • Detailed knowledge of specialist areas of psychology including current theory, evidence, and research methods.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to locate, read and review a body of research evidence
  • Critical evaluation of the quality of evidence and arguments
  • Interpret theoretically, and evaluate the significance of, empirical work within a specific area
  • Follow through an empirical investigation and by means of an agreed research method
  • Demonstrate competence in the selection and application of appropriate statistical procedures, and an understanding of their limitations
  • Reflect critically upon the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen design and the validity of conclusions reached
Key Skills:
  • Good IT skills in word processing, data manipulation, and data presentation.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively

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

  • Students complete their project work under the supervision of an experienced researcher. This approach enables students to experience formulating, designing, and conducting a piece of research with appropriate supervision and guidance. Independent study is required at all stages of the project
  • The design of the project is discussed in detail with the supervisor in one or more sessions and, during the running of the project, the supervisor is regularly informed by students of progress, by discussion or by email. Supervisory meetings provide advanced research training and the opportunity to engage in discussion which encourages students to think critically
  • The written dissertation report allows students to demonstrate their evaluative, analytical and research skills in a single comprehensive piece of work
  • Supervisors provide formative feedback on a draft of the project (excluding the discussion section) submitted prior to the final deadline to help refine the report and extend students' analytical abilities and theoretical understanding

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 4 1 Hour 4
Supervisory Meetings 6
Fieldwork 30
Preparation and Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Project report Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
4500 word project report 100%

Formative Assessment:

A mock ethics appliation form which will require students to write a short overview of the study/research questions, as well as outline the study design (including details on potential participants, inlcusion/exclusion criteria, recruitment methods, study method and procedure, and data protection procedures). Students also have the opportunity to gain feedback on a single draft of the introduction, methods and results section of their dissertation.

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