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Unit information: Psychological Experiments and Statistics in 2015/16

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Unit name Psychological Experiments and Statistics
Unit code PSYC21025
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Chris Kent
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit provides continued training in the range of theoretical and practical skills used in psychological research. In this unit students will be introduced to a particular design-analysis strategy, and a topic area, and develop a piece of empirical work that integrates the two. During the unit, two key studies will be conducted: one based on a quantitative multifactor mixed ANOVA design and one based a qualitative study design. Each study will be structured around (a) a conceptual understanding of the epistemology, content and analysis relating to the proposed empirical work, (b) the specification of the studies theoretical content and study design, (c) the conduct of the data collection phase, (d) the analysis of these data, (e) the write-up of the results of that study in the conventional APA format.


  • Consolidate and extend the student's interest and knowledge in the integration of experimental design and analysis in the pursuit of psychological knowledge.
  • Introduce students to more complex methodological approaches to psychological research, through the application of specific methodologies to the study of psychological phenomena.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the role of empirical evidence in the formation of theory and how theory guides the collection and interpretation of empirical data.
  • Help students to understand the conceptual basis for more advanced investigative techniques, including both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and their relation to progress in psychological science.
  • Facilitate students to acquire a wide range of transferable skills including literature search, the asking and answering of specific, measureable and realistic questions, the use of relevant IT resources, and written and oral communication.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, the student will have:

  • Acquired a conceptual understanding of more complex forms of study design and the knowledge of when to apply these.
  • Acquired the practical experience of conducting research studies that implement these designs within the context of a particular psychological question.
  • Gained a more in-depth appreciation of how the implementation of research designs influence the nature of the psychological investigation to be conducted.
  • Undertaken an intensive investigation of topics requiring (a) a quantitative and (b) a qualitative perspective and to have understood the varying requirements of each.
  • Undertaken the full profile of undertaking research by asking questions, designing a specific study to address a specific question, conducting a study on that question, analysing the data appropriately, and providing a written communication of the outcome of that process.
  • Planned and contributed to small-group discussion on these topics.

Teaching details

The unit comprises 36 x 1 hour lectures/laboratory sessions. Each student attends all sessions, and will work in small groups for the design and data collection phases of the unit. Two research reports on the rational, methods, analysis, and conclusions of the two studies are submitted. The unit will be supported by the Blackboard VLE.

Assessment Details

Two 2,000 word laboratory reports (2x50%)

Reading and References

American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Ed.). American Psychological Association.
Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th Ed.). Sage: London.
Harris, P (2008). Designing and reporting experiments in psychology. (3rd Ed.). Open University Press:
Lyons, E., & Coyle, A. (Eds.). (2007). Analysing qualitative data in psychology. London: Sage Publications.
Willig, C. (2013). Introducing qualitative research in psychology. (3rd Ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Suggestions for recommended and further reading will be made separately through Blackboard