Social Psychology and Research Methods | Abertay University

Social Psychology and Research Methods


This module introduces the social psychology content of the BPS curriculum. Social psychology is the scientific study of how individuals process information about other people, and the biases that influence this processing. The module also delivers research methods training, building on the content of PSY204. Teaching will be delivered via a combination of lectures and practicals.


The first aim of this module is to provide students with a critical and comprehensive understanding of the major topics, empirical research and theoretical approaches in social psychology. The second aim is to train students in the research methods that underpin the scientific study of social cognition and behaviour.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Show knowledge and understanding of the major features of social processing.

2.  Demonstrate an understanding of key models and research findings in social psychology.

3.  Evaluate social psychological research findings.

4.  Design, conduct and report experiments in social psychology.

5.  Use SPSS to analyse empirical data using a variety of statistical techniques.

6.  Report experimental data and analyses appropriately.

Indicative Content


Defining social cognition and social behaviour. Understanding classic and contemporary approaches, and the social processing biases they reveal.

2 Social learning

Understanding imitation and social learning. Exploring the influence of social learning on aggression.

3 Attitudes

Understanding attitudes and the attitude-behaviour link, routes to attitude change.

4 Social identity and prejudice

Exploring the impact of social identity on perception and behaviour. Prejudice and discrimination.

5 Stereotypes

Introduction to categorical person perception and stereotype activation/application.

6 Research design

Learning to design and conduct ethically acceptable psychological research.

7 Research reporting

Reporting and evaluating psychological research, and presenting this in APA format.

8 Data analysis

Using SPSS to analyse empirical data through a variety of statistical techniques.

9 Research resources

Identifying and locating suitable reference material for practical work.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The module will be divided into two halves, covering social psychology in the first half and research methods in the second. Social psychology teaching will be delivered in weekly two-hour lectures, including student- led tasks as well as lecture materials. Teaching will be informed by active research links with staff. Research methods will be delivered via both lectures and practical classes. Both halves of the module will require research and ideas to be discussed and evaluated, encouraging the development of personal, intellectual and professional skills. Engaging with research and learning about the societal impact of social psychological processing will encourage active citizenship.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 20
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Supervised Practical Activity 10
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 50
Independent 120

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2017/18 , and may be subject to change for future years.