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Unit information: Research Planning in 2021/22

Unit name Research Planning
Unit code PSYCM0080
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chris Kent
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to provide students with a set of key research skills that helps them to effectively engage with the research planning process, which is important for a research career in academia or elsewhere.

Students will attend ten seminars (e.g. offered by our research groups, School external seminars, or discipline relevant seminars across the university). Students will take notes during each seminar. These notes will be submitted as a seminar notebook, along with four 250-word abstracts based on four of the ten seminars attended. This seminar notebook will comprise 50% of the unit mark.

Students will also lead a ‘journal club’ session. Student will nominate a paper relevant for their dissertation, and then lead a discussion of this paper to peers and the Unit Director for 25 mins. This a purely formative piece of work. Each student will also need to read all papers suggested by other students and participate in group discussions. Two students will present in each session, the number of sessions is determined by the number of students taking the unit.

Students will write a 3,000-word research proposal based on one of the seminars they attended or their apprenticeship (as part of PSYCM0043: Apprenticeship in Psychological Research). The research proposal will comprise 50% of the unit mark.

Support for student skill development will take place during tutorials with the unit director

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Summarise the content of a live research seminar
  • Concisely report and review a body of psychological research
  • Independently plan and design an ethical research project
  • Summarise cutting-edge research across a range of topics relevant to psychological science
  • Recognize the importance of open science practices

Teaching Information

The majority teaching is via seminar attendance, which are typically delivered by external academics visiting the School, by may also include postdoctoral researchers or postgraduate research students in the school. In addition, one lecture will be given by the Unit Director, and four tutorials will be scheduled which will be a combination of formative feedback, small group discussion, progress monitoring, and skill development.

Assessment Information

Paper review: Lead a discussion of a paper relevant to their dissertation with the rest of the group (formative only). ILOs: 2 & 3

Seminar Notebook: comprising ten sets of notes from each seminar attended and four 250-word abstracts of seminars attended (50%). ILOs: 1 & 4

Research Proposal: 3,000-words proposal including a literature review and experimental plan (50%). ILOs: 2, 3, 4, & 5


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PSYCM0080).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.