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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Undergraduate Course: Critical Analysis (PSYL10102)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaPsychology Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe general aims of the course are:
- To facilitate critical reading and analysis of psychological research reports
- To show how design principles and statistics are applied in psychological research ┐ how research is actually done
- To encourage careful, deep consideration the value of published research studies
This will be achieved principally via tutorials with groups of approximately 12 students. Each tutorial session will be devoted to discussing a single research paper, which will be distributed to all students in advance of the session. The tutor will start the session by providing discussion points, which will draw on the aims and learning outcomes of the course in a manner which is appropriate for the paper under discussion and the stage of the course (i.e. questions will be more generic towards the start of the course and more specific and focused as students gain in analytic skills). The papers will be drawn from the 3rd year lecture courses taking place concurrently with the tutorial sessions and will be suggested by academic staff teaching those courses.
The semester 1 lecture will provide background information about the course, whilst the semester 2 lecture will provide further material to prepare students for more advanced work building on the skills developed in semester 1
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Psychology 2 (PSYL08002)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Full Year, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 65 %, Coursework 35 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
- Review research articles comprehensively and critically
- Understand the rationale, logic and purpose of a research project
- Identify any hypotheses stated
- Describe and assess the suitability of the methods adopted
- Assess the soundness of the experimental designs used
- Assess the suitability of the statistical treatment of the results
- Assess the interpretation of the results and the adequacy of the statistical inferences drawn
- Evaluate a paper┐s discussion section
- Decide whether the conclusions reached are justified
- Judge whether a contribution to psychological knowledge has been made
- Propose solutions to the shortcomings of published research
- Identify alternative ways of answering the research question(s)
- Suggest, and potentially design, further research studies to follow up the findings of a published research paper
Assessment Information
Short critique of a paper, end of S1, 1000 words 35%
Take-home exam (critique of a previously unseen paper, time to return 4 days.) end of S2, 2000 words, 65%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list An appropriate research paper will be distributed before each tutorial; these will be linked to the content of the lecture courses being taken by the students. These are examples of the level we would aim for: accessible papers that, while being good examples of competent research, also contain quite a bit one can criticise.

Simons, D.J., & Chabris, C.F. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception, 28, 1059-1074.

Lewis, M. (1992). When does a self (or selves) emerge? Psych-critiques, 37, (11), 1161-1163.

Riby, D.M. & Hancock, P.J.B. (2009). Looking at movies and cartoons: Eye-tracking evidence from Williams syndrome and autism. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 53, 169-181.

Luo L., & Craik F.I.M. (2008). Aging and memory: a cognitive approach. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 53(6):346-53.

Condor, S., Figgou, L., Abell, J., Gibson, S., & Stevenson, C. (2006). They're not racist ┐ Prejudice denial, mitigation and suppression in dialogue. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 441-462.

At a different level, the course design will be directly influenced by the following paper:

Barber, P. (2003). Critical analysis of psychological research II: delivering a course for inclusion in the core curriculum for psychology. Psychology Learning and Teaching 3, 15-26.
This describes the original implementation of this course at Birkbeck.

In designing specific content, I will also make use of the following list of sources (which will be given as general resources to the students):

Meltzoff, J. (1998). Critical Thinking About Research: Psychology And Related Fields. Washington: American Psychological Association.

Girden, E. (2001). Evaluating Research Articles From Start To Finish. California: Sage Publications.

Solso, R.L. & Maclin, M.K. (2007). Experimental Psychology: A Case Approach (8th Edition). Boston: Allyn And Bacon.

Elmes, D.G., Kantowitz, B.H. & Roediger, H.L. (2003). Research Methods In Psychology (7th Edition).Belmont, Ca: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Kantowitz, B.H., Roediger, H.L. & Elmes, D.G. (2005). Experimental Psychology: Understanding Psychological Research (8th Edition). Belmont, Ca: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Smith, J.A., Flowers, P. & Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Theory, Method And Research. London: Sage.

Smith, J.A. & Eatough, V. (2007). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. In: Lyons, E. & Coyle, A. Analysing Qualitative Data In Psychology. London: Sage, pp.35-50.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr David Podhortzer Carmel
Tel: (0131 6)50 3455
Course secretaryMr Simon Cann
Tel: 0131 650 9870
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