Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module PSYC3487: Evaluating Evidence in Behavioural Science

Department: Psychology

PSYC3487: Evaluating Evidence in Behavioural Science

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap 45 Location Durham


  • PSYC2232 Advanced Research Methods and Statistics


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To understand evidence-based professional practice and to acquire the skills needed to evaluate evidence derived from psychological and behavioural research


  • This module examines issues associated with evaluating evidence along with common barriers to understanding and applying empirical research
  • Topics can vary from year to year but are likely to include the scientific method; logic fallacies when evaluating evidence; reproducibility; evidence synthesis; common issues when interpreting statistical evidence; and contemporary issues associated with science denial, conspiracies and fake news
  • Evidence-based professional practice

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of a range of topics and issues related to evaluating and using evidence
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to review and analyse critically evidence derived from different sources
Key Skills:
  • Good written communication skills
  • Good IT skills in word processing, data manipulation and data presentation
  • Ability to work independently in scholarship and research within broad guidelines

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

  • Students' acquisition of detailed knowledge will be facilitated by lectures, (break-out) small group work, audio-visual materials, discussions and detailed reading lists
  • These modes of teaching provide students with detailed knowledge of the key theories and the skills needed to evaluate different theoretical positions in light of current evidence
  • Guided private study and in-class discussions will ensure that students are exposed to a range of different theoretical positions, and encouraged to understand their inter-relations
  • Lectures and in-class discussions will also give students the opportunity to interpret and evaluate the significance of empirical work
  • The blog post will assess students' detailed subject knowledge and the application of theory to practice
  • The blog post assesses students' acquired knowledge of theoretical principles and empirical studies and their ability to organise and synthesise materials coherently and critically in written form
  • The blog post will also assess students' written communication skills
  • Prior to writing the summative blog post students will have the opportunity to receive feedback on a blog post outline which forms part of their formative assessment for this module
  • Feedback on the blog post will be available within 3 teaching weeks allowing students plenty of time to benefit from feedback on this aspect of their work

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 1 per week 2 hours 20
Preparation and Reading 80
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Blog Post 1500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

A 500 word outline for the Blog Post

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