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Unit information: Dissertation in 2016/17

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Dissertation
Unit code PSYCM1000
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Ludwig
Open unit status Not open

Students must have completed and passed the taught component (120 credit points) of the respective MSc in order to be eligible to take this unit.



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

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this mandatory 60 credit point unit is to apply research techniques to a particular (neuro)psychological question, under the supervision of a member of academic staff or post-doctoral researcher who is sufficiently senior to supervise a Masters dissertation. When an external clinician/supervisor is recruited, the student will also be assigned a second supervisor from within UoB academic staff. The project is typically conducted during the Summer term but preparation for this important part of your degree should start much earlier, particularly when NHS Ethics or other more complex ethical approval is required. A central aim is to develop competency in research which involves the following logical steps.

  1. Review an area of empirical interest
  2. Develop hypotheses based upon existing empirical findings and hypotheses described within peer-reviewed literature.
  3. Design an experiment or series of experiments which provide a well controlled test of these hypotheses.
  4. Consider the appropriate sample size based upon estimates of power and other considerations of signal to noise ratio.
  5. Perform a rigorous analysis of data using appropriate statistical and/or numerical procedures.
  6. Report the findings in APA format, in the style of an empirical journal article. Detailed guidance on the format of the dissertation is provided on Blackboard

Intended Learning Outcomes

The central learning outcome is that students should understand the principles underlying design, implementation and communication of a research project.

Teaching Information

The project process begins with a presentation of the topic areas UoB members of academic staff are able to supervise.

Once a student is allocated a supervisor there will be regular meetings with the supervisor during which there will be discussion of hypotheses and appropriate design/analysis to test those hypotheses. During the course of the dissertation process, there will be timetabled meetings with the overall project coordinator(s) who will ascertain whether projects are on track. Supervisors do not read drafts of dissertations; therefore, students should note that discussions with their supervisors play a critical role.

Assessment Information

Assessment is based upon a mark applied to a submitted research dissertation with a word limit maximum of 6000 words. Examples of good-quality past projects will be posted on Blackboard. Members of academic staff do not provide comments upon draft versions of projects.

Reading and References

Key reading and references are peer-reviewed papers in the domain of the research project.