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

Postgraduate Course: Problem-based Social Psychological Research (PSYL11091)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis semester long course gives students guidance and practice in using the tools of social psychology to address problems that arise in the field. For example, how to produce a qualitative assessment of support for young adults with autism. Students will design three different research projects, and will address problems suited to quantitative and qualitative approaches. There will be an emphasis on independent group work.
Course description Following an introductory lecture, groups of students will be given a series of two carefully chosen problems, and will design and describe the implementation of research which will address them. Regular practical guidance will be given in tutorials and students will benefit from presenting their proposed projects to their peers and receiving feedback on them. Subsequently, students will select a further problem as a group, producing by the end a brief literature review and detailed research plan in a written report. Students will be encouraged to discuss their research ideas with their peers and the lecturers throughout the course. Candidate problems will be drawn from relevant 'Making the Most of Masters' problems, and those gathered through the Course Organisers' contacts.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 1, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 86 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Group Presentation of Research Plan (20%), Group Research Plan (20%), Individual Research Proposal (60%)

The final research report will include the rationale for the project, a brief literature review, research design, anticipated problems and how they will be addressed, and clear statement of how the research will provide an answer to the candidate problem.
Feedback Formative feedback is integral to this course due to the interactive tutorial style format of the supervised development of research solutions. Feedback will also be given during group presentations of research plans, and through peer and staff feedback on the brief written research plan.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. communicate and evaluate research ideas clearly and effectively in speech and writing
  2. think creatively and practically in finding ways to address the challenges of researching individuals embedded in their social worlds
  3. use the theoretical, methodological and research tools of social psychology
  4. design rigorous and effective social psychological research and be equipped to resolve potential difficulties
  5. assess the limitations and affordances of different ways of approaching social questions
Reading List
Rosenthal, R., & Rosnow, R. L. (2007). Essentials of behavioral research: Methods and data analysis (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill.
Willig, C. (2013). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3rd edition, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Forrester, M.A. (Ed.) (2010). Doing Qualitative Research In Psychology: A Practical Guide. Sage: London, England.

Willig, C. & Stainton-Rogers, W. (2017). The SAGE handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology. London: Sage. See chapters on conversation analysis (Wilkinson & Kitzinger), discursive psychology (Wiggins & Potter), ethics (Brinkmann & Kvale), Evans, Elford, and D. Wiggins (using the internet).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and enquiry skills (e.g., analytical and critical thinking; knowledge integration across academic disciplines; understanding of interplay between research and real-world settings; understanding of interplay between theoretical and methodological approaches).
Personal and intellectual autonomy (e.g., independent thinking; developing higher-order thinking and sound reasoning; self-awareness and reflection).
Personal effectiveness (e.g., acquiring skills for leading a group discussion; giving and receiving feedback in a way that maintains and builds relationships within a team).
Communication skills (e.g., engaging effectively in discussions; oral and written presentation skills, including the ability to convey the key points concisely).
KeywordsSocial Psychology; Research design; problem-focused
Course organiserDr Sue Widdicombe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3411
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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