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Psychological Research Methods - MSc


Course Description

Interested in a research-orientated career in psychology? Gain confidence in the acquisition, analysis and use of research information on our psychological research methods programme. Develop a sophisticated understanding of psychological research, from the creation of questions you’ll need to ask, through to the meaningful organisation of results. Be primed for a research role across a range of sectors, including consultancy and government agencies, and have the foundation for future PhD work.

Key features

-Designed to provide you with the understanding and skills to help you develop academic or commercial careers based on psychological research.
-Choose to study full time over one year, or take the flexible two year part-time pathway to fit in with your career plans or caring commitments.
-Be confident studying with us – this programme is provided by the School of Psychology, which was recognised in the latest Research Assessment Exercise with 85 per cent of activity judged to be of international standard, placing it in the top third of departments nationally.
-Benefit from a programme recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as providing the research training within the 1+3 framework.
-Receive thorough training in research methodology and design, as well as the philosophical issues that underpin your research decisions.
-Learn to analyse a problem, select the appropriate methodology and understand the implications of your choice.
-Gain the skills and knowledge to conduct research in a rigorous, appropriate and ethical manner, using a range of techniques (qualitative and quantitative) in a range of settings (experimental, observational, fieldwork, and focus groups).
-Hone your ability to communicate your research findings effectively to different audiences, both orally and in writing.
-Equip yourself, as part of the masters programme, with the skills and experience to design and conduct a major psychological research project.
-Learn from a teaching team with the in-depth knowledge of many areas of psychology and experience of publishing both fundamental and applied research in the best scientific journals. Their expertise, spanning from ethics to research design and statistics, offers you the ideal environment to develop your research skills.
-Immerse yourself in our school’s newly refurbished laboratory and teaching space, including electrophysiology (ERP), Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), virtual reality and eye-tracking laboratories.
-Benefit from our school’s research expertise. The Centre for Brain, Behaviour and Cognition attracts substantial external funding from UK research councils, the EU, charities and industry.
-Acquire skills that are highly prized by a wide range of employers, and be ready to join previous students employed in academia, consultancy, government agencies and non-governmental bodies.
-Contemplating a PhD in the future? This programme will provide you with the essential pre-requisites for research at this level, including a thorough grounding in research methodology, design and analysis as well as the philosophical issues that underpin research decisions.

Course details

You’ll cover the whole spectrum of psychological research skills and most research methods used by psychologists, and have the opportunity to study methods that are particularly relevant to you. We aim to equip you with high-level research skills and give you the opportunity to apply these skills in original psychological research. Early in the programme, you’ll begin a substantial independent piece of research and continue this throughout the year. Special emphasis is placed on practical research skills and communication - these are integrated in project work to achieve professional standards of psychological research. If you study full time the programme lasts one year starting in late September and involves attendance for at least two days a week over two 12-week teaching periods. Successful completion of the taught modules leads to the postgraduate diploma award. If you want to study part time please discuss your requirements with the Programme Director.

Core modules
-PSY558 Evaluating Complex Interventions
-PSY556 Statistical Methods for Experimental and Clinical Research
-PSY561 Skills and Techniques in Psychological Research 1
-PSY557 Quantitative Analysis of Complex Clinical and Behavourial Data
-PSY555 Communication of Research for Psychology
-PSY562 Skills and Techniques in Psychological Research 2
-PSY572 Project
-PSY559 Experimental Research Design
-PSY560 Qualitative Research Methods for Psychology
-PSY571 Project Planning and Literature Search

Optional modules
-PSY567 Designing for Behaviour Change
-PSY566 Issues in Behaviour Change
-PSY568 Issues in Clinical Psychology
-PSY569 The Brain and its Disorders
-PSY564 Understanding Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
-PSY570 Issues in Cognitive and Brain Science
-PSY577 Foundations in Clinical Psychology: Children and Families
-PSY563 Understanding Risky Behaviour

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

Visit the Psychological Research Methods - MSc page on the Plymouth University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Most students will hold an honours degree, usually a 2:1, recognised by the British Psychological Society. However, other qualifications will be considered, and we encourage applications from talented students in cognate disciplines. Where students have demonstrated their ability to thrive on the course through other academic qualifications, or through professional experience, this will also be taken into consideration.

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