This programme has been designed provide students with the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of the principles and application of research design and analytical methods relevant to the scientific study of the psychology of sport and exercise. The programme facilitates the integration of theory and professional practice, and throughout the programme the research process and emphasis on student autonomy of learning become increasingly important.
Programme Structure and Content Research skills oriented modules form the bedrock of SHES’ MRes programmes. As a result taught modules are aligned with both discipline specific and the (higher) cognitive skills our MRes programmes aim to provide. Within a modular structure all students undertake compulsory modules in research skills totalling 40 credits:
Research Skills (20 credits) and 20 credits from the following modules:
How to Conduct Statistics (20 credits); Presentation of Statistics (10 credits); Peer Reviewing (10 credits); Latent Variable Modelling (10 credits); plus 20 credits from optional modules and a final compulsory Research Project comprising 120 credits.
Research Skills Research Skills is a double credit taught module. Students study the broad nature of the research process that will allow them to complete, initially, an appropriate Independent Study (in which a research proposal for the Research Project is completed) and subsequently, a full Research Project. The module covers material relevant to the design and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative research. It also provides a broad understanding of the benefits and limitations of various research methods, research designs, data collection instruments and data analysis tools. Students are given the opportunity to develop their ability to be critically evaluative.
Specific content includes: Statistical issues in quantitative research and design; Simple and multiple (forced entry, moderated and mediated) regression analyses; Single factor analysis of variance with and without repeated measures; Two factor analysis of variance with and without repeated measures; Single factor and two factor multivariate analysis of variance (with and without repeated measures); Repeated measures analysis of variance using the multivariate solution; Doubly repeated measures analysis of variance; Analysis of covariance; Follow-up procedures for all of the above; Assumptions underpinning all of the above and available options for dealing with violations to these assumptions; Experiments and causal inference; External and construct validity; Experimental and quasi-experimental designs; Correlational and epidemiological research; Reliability and validity in quantitative and qualitative research; Issues in qualitative research and design; Interviews; Single case design and analysis; Observation; Narrative; Ethnography; grounded theory and discourse analysis.
How to conduct Statistics and Presentation of Statistics modules The purpose of these two taught modules is to provide students with an in-depth understanding and critical appreciation of statistical procedures. As independent study based modules, they will enable students to gain a comprehensive understanding of a statistical procedure of their choosing (following consultation with the staff member responsible for the module). Towards this end, students will likely cover (i) relevant background issues; (ii) when to use utilise particular statistical tests;(iii) how to conduct statistical testing via appropriate software; (iv) how to correctly interpret computational output; and (v) how to present the findings following analysis.
Students learn about these themes through a “learning by teaching” paradigm via the development of a statistics oriented verbal presentation and written assignment resembling a book chapter/resource. The verbal presentation will be conducted first in order to obtain developmental feedback for the written assignment.
Peer Reviewing Scientific Research Students work closely with their supervisor to perform an initial review of a previously submitted (and subsequently published) research article. Students will then follow the paper along the peer review process, discussing their review with their supervisor, and then be required to adequately address concerns which have been raised. Collectively this will mean that the student will cover a contemporary research topic in a highly focused and in-depth manner gaining a comprehensive understanding of how to prepare their own manuscripts (eg research proposal, Research Project) and how to evaluate the research of others. Students will also attend the School’s Research Seminar series.
Latent Variable Modelling This module introduces postgraduate students to the concepts of Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) and to give a basic grounding in their implementation. It also covers an introduction to SEM using LISREL and topics including: measurement models and structural models; exploratory factor analysis; confirmatory factor analysis (CFA); structural modelling with observed and latent variables; conceptual issues, common misunderstandings and limitations.
Research Project Under the guidance of their supervising tutor(s), students will pro-actively determine the content of this unit. The initial stages of the Research Project will develop the work of the project proposal and taught phases of the MRes programmes. This will involve the surveying and reviewing of research evidence with the aim of formulating an appropriate research question, and will likely involve some refinement and pilot work. Once achieved, the student will implement a research design and method suited to their area of inquiry. Ethical approval of the study will be obtained before data may be collected, thereby introducing students to this integral part of the research process. Throughout this module students receive excellent research training from leaders in the field. It is expected that the resulting projects will be publishable in international, peer-reviewed journals.
Mono-disciplinary studies and interdisciplinary work, which might involve the student’s ongoing sport/exercise experience, will be encouraged. Each topic will normally involve data collection, analysis and interpretation and allow students to demonstrate their powers of imagination, initiative, independence and time management. Students will be expected to show a thorough knowledge of the relevant sources of information and the ability to use them with discrimination; to provide full references; to exercise sound and independent judgment; to structure work logically and to express themselves with clarity and precision.
In addition to the core/compulsory modules students choose a further 20 credits from the following optional modules:
Sport Psychology; Effective Coaching; Exercise Psychology; Rehabilitation of the Injured Athlete. The taught programme is delivered using a variety of teaching methods. Each module comprises approximately 200 hours of student time (including formal contact).