Module details for Introduction to Psychological Research Methods


The module is designed as an introduction to research methods skills for students entering the BSc Psychology Programme. It introduces students to the core principles and practical skills for psychological research. The curriculum includes an introduction to the scientific process, the benefits and disadvantages of key research designs, and practical application of statistical analysis and ethical considerations. Practical activities facilitate understanding of the link between psychological knowledge and empirical research.


Psychology is a science and psychologists employ the scientific method when acquiring new knowledge about their discipline. The aim of the module is to provide opportunities for students to develop a basic understanding of some of the scientific principles underpinning psychological research and the skills necessary to work and think like a psychologist. Students will engage in tasks that promote the ability to critically evaluate research, to employ a systematic approach to lab-based studies, and to write-up lab reports in the APA standard form. Students will also learn how to use statistical software to visual and analyse data.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Demonstrate an ability to write up a psychology investigation in standard American Psychological Association (APA) format.

2.  Demonstrate competence in the use and reporting of descriptive & inferential analysis using statistical software.

3.  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the British Psychological Society Code of Conduct, Ethical Principles and Guidelines.

4.  Demonstrate knowledge of a variety of research methods tools that psychologists have at their disposal.

5.  Develop understanding of the rationale for statistical analysis in psychology research.

6.  Evaluate experimental designs and formulate solutions to routine design problems.

Indicative Content

1 The Role of Research in Psychology

Introduction to scientific enquiry and the role of research in psychology

2 The Experimental Method

Defining experimental variables. Experimental design. Bias and control

3 Descriptive Statistics

Measures of central tendency and dispersion. Graphical and tabular presentation of data. Properties of the normal distribution curve. Standard error of the mean and confidence intervals

4 Inferential Statistics

Introduction to hypothesis formation and testing. The role of probability in statistical inference. Test selection for parametric and non-parametric data. Data analysis using inferential statistical tests. Type I and Type II errors. Introduction to statistical software for data entry; to summarise data in tables and graphs; and to perform descriptive and inferential statistical analysis.


5 Ethics

6 Library Skills

Identify, locate and evaluate appropriate academic sources for a set academic task using key library and information skills, and acknowledge their use

7 Report Writing

Conveying information from investigations using the appropriate APA standard. Conduct and report a literature review using appropriate academic sources.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 14
Tutorial/Seminar 6
Practical Activity 14
Assessment 40
Independent 126
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

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 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.