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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2014/2015
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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Clinical Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Dissertation (MSc in Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children, Young People, and Families) (CLPS11059)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits60 ECTS Credits30
SummaryThe dissertation for the MSc in Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children, Young People, and Families training in psychological research methods is based on one taught core course in which the emphasis is on learning by undertaking various research-related exercises (Discovering Development) and conveying information leading to the dissertation itself. This core course will provide students with the opportunity to design, conduct, analyse and present a literature-based research project of their choice and to complete a dissertation in the form of a journal article and extended essay.
Course description The MSc in Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children, Young People, and Families Dissertation can take the form of a systematic review or meta-analysis relating to an aspect of psychological theory, or a psychological model, with relevance to clinical practice in the field of child and adolescent mental health. It should consist of an extended review of relevant literature and include reflection on the application of this to clinical practice thus integrating the two key aspects of this programme. It may also be possible for the dissertation to the take the form of an empirical study, but such an approach would be based on analysis of secondary data and would require discussion with the programme coordinator in the first instance.

Learning outcomes:

1) Demonstrate Psychological Research Knowledge

Students will be able to:
Critically reflect on research and evidence on psychological theories and mental health
Understand data collection methods and issues
Understand different statistical techniques and their uses

2) Demonstrate Psychological Research Skills

Students will be able to:
Carry out their own literature review (systematic or meta-analysis)
Analyse and synthesise evidence appropriately
Write a dissertation in the form of an article in peer reviewed journal and an extended essay
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Flexible
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 600 ( Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 12, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 578 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative Assessment
Students will receive ongoing feedback from supervisors throughout the dissertation writing process; after each online supervision meeting, students will compile a summary email of the discussion and action points, which will be sent to the supervisor for additional comments. The email will act as a guide for students between supervision meetings. The topics for the supervisory conversations and feedback will not be specified in advance to allow for individual arrangements within the supervisory relationship.

Students will also research in pairs or be allocated a critical friend. These student pairs will contract specific time points and tasks that allow the student to show their work to their critical friend and receive constructive feedback. Supervisors will be available to guide feedback where needed, but it is anticipated that this will be mainly a student-led endeavour. In cases where the dissertation literature content is similar, students will be matched with a critical friend with a project considering different literature or research questions to allow for constructive feedback on the research process whilst avoiding the potential for plagiarism of content.

Summative Assessment
The dissertation word limit will be 10,000 words (+/- 10%) in total (6000 word article and 4000 word essay) and will follow the format for a peer reviewed journal. The journal should be specified, with the guidelines for submission placed in the appendix, and should be a suitable match for the research undertaken. Where a word limit is not set by the journal, the upper word limit is set to 6000 (this is in line with both clinical psychology MSc programmes). The dissertation will also include a 4000 word (approx.) essay providing an extended discussion of strengths and limitations, and future directions including further dissemination. This may develop further on themes identified in the Introduction/Discussion sections of the main article.

Assessment criteria:
1. The student will be able to effectively and appropriately communicate the nature of their research to an informed non-expert audience. This includes highlighting for the audience key elements of the work. Replicability and overall coherence are both important.

2. The student will have pursued a viable research aim with clearly articulated research questions, and a replicable, reliable and valid research strategy throughout design, method, results and discussion.

3. The student can demonstrate the relevance of their research to wider society in specific terms, contextualising their aims and findings in a range of contexts.

Collectively, these assessment criteria contribute to an evaluation of how ┐publication-worthy┐ the dissertation is, when it is considered as a whole. Therefore, the research question, the conduct of the research and the write-up must all be of an equally high standard. The descriptive detail of the criteria will be available in the course handbook.
Feedback See Components of Assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop research knowledge that will enable students to discuss, share, present and analyse research evidence and information in various formats and from a range of sources.
  2. Develop research skills focusing on methods of reviewing research evidence
  3. Carry out an independent piece of literature-based psychological research.
Reading List
Bell, J. (2005). Doing your research project. Buckingham: Open University Press. (4th ed).

Dunn, D. (2011). A short guide to writing about psychology (3rd ed). London: Longman.
Field, A., & Hole, G. (2003). How to design and report experiments. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Forshaw, M. (2004). Your undergraduate psychology project: a BPS guide. Oxford: Blackwell.

Heffernan, T.M. (2000). A Student's guide to studying psychology. Hove: Psychology Press

Landrum, R.E. (2008). Undergraduate Writing in Psychology: Learning to Tell the Scientific Story. Washington, DC: APA.

Sternberg, R.J. (2003). The Psychologist's companion: a guide to scientific writing for students and researchers (4th ed). Cambridge: CUP (especially Chapter 3, 7 & 8).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr Charles Marley
Tel: (0131 6)51 3970
Email: Charles.Marley@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMrs Lorna Sheal
Tel: (0131 6)51 3970
Email: L.Sheal@ed.ac.uk
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