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

Postgraduate Course: Problem-based Social Psychological Research (PSYL11112)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis semester long course gives students guidance and practice in using the tools of social psychology to address problems that arise in the field. Research solutions may address, for example, the problems of racism in football; of how to assess support for adults with autism; or of how students from some backgrounds can feel they do not fit in or belong at elite universities. 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 three carefully chosen problems and will design and describe the implementation of research to address them. Regular practical guidance will be given in tutorials and students will benefit from creating presentations of their proposed projects and receiving feedback on them. Subsequently, students will select one of the problems previously addressed as a group, and use feedback to produce an individual report, including a brief literature review and detailed research plan.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Closed to other students except students enrolled in MSc Psychological Research and MSc Research if additional space available.
The course requires a good knowledge of social psychological theory and research methods.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Best two out of three group presentation slides 30%
Final Report 70% (2000 Words)
Feedback Working in groups students will design three research solutions to a given social psychological problems. Informal feedback on the development of the research solutions is given in class. Feedback is also provided on each group project presentation. Students are expected to use this feedback in producing the final individual report.
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 discussion 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
Buunk, Abraham P, and Mark van Vugt. Applying Social Psychology: From Problems to Solutions. London: SAGE Publications, 2013.

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: analytical and critical thinking; understanding of interplay between research and real-world settings; understanding of interplay between theoretical and methodological approaches; research design and practice in developing and using a range of methods.
Personal and intellectual autonomy: independent thinking; developing sound reasoning and practical thinking; making the most of feedback.
Personal effectiveness: acquiring skills for working in a group; organisation and time-management skills.
Communication skills: engaging effectively in discussions; oral and written presentation skills, including the ability to convey the key points concisely.
Special Arrangements Quota 25 students (or equivalent cohort size of MSc social psychology if greater).
Required for students enrolled in MSc social psychology.
Students enrolled in the MSc social psychology programme are strongly encouraged to take Qualitative Methodologies in Psychological Research in addition to Problem-Based Social Psychological Research.
Closed to other students except students enrolled in MSc Psychological Research and MSc Research if additional space available.
The course requires a good knowledge of social psychological theory and research methods.
KeywordsSocial Psychology,research design,problem-focused
Course organiserDr Sue Widdicombe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3411
Course secretaryMs Pilar Rodriguez Couceiro
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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