PYM0DP-Methods in Developmental Psychology

Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Patricia Riddell


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The purpose of this module is to inform students about some of the methods used in developmental psychology. Students will learn to critique the methodologies used to study aspects of human development. Students are required to make informal presentations of written material. The focus of the module is on methodological issues in the study of cognitive psychology in the early years, and in the study of reading difficulty.

The module aims (1) to discuss critically a variety of methodologies for research in developmental psychology, concentrating on physiological, cognitive, and language development in the pre-school years; (2) to present topical research in developmental psychology, and to link it with research actively undertaken at Reading; (3) to enable students to perform critical evaluations of psychological research; (4) to support students in the design and planning of research activity.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Give an account of the range of methods deployed in answering research questions in developmental psychology.
  • Describe how different theoretical frameworks might influence research in developmental psychology.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of empirical research in selected sub-areas of developmental psychology.
  • Evaluate links between different theoretical frameworks and empirical research in selected sub-areas of developmental psychology.
  • Assessment will be by written coursework (10 credits). The assignment will be a Critical Evaluation of Research. See Blackboard for more details.

Additional outcomes:
It is anticipated that this module will inform much subsequent work by students on postgraduate courses in psychology.

Outline content:
Methods used in the study of cognitive, visual and language development in infancy and the preschool years, and the links between these. Methods used in research in Dyslexia

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Students will be given directed reading which they will be expected to have completed before attending lectures. Teaching sessions will last approximately 3 hours. A member of the Department of Psychology staff will give a short lecture on the important learning points. There will then be opportunity for 1.5 to 2 hours' discussion, to enable students to explore material in more depth and to complete the required coursework assignment. Students should be aware that the standards expected of them, in oral and written contributions, are higher than those expected in undergraduate work. .

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 15
Guided independent study 85
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
The assignment will involve critical evaluation of a piece of research, details available on Blackboard.

Formative assessment methods:
Students will be invited to give presentations and to contribute to class discussions which will facilitate their learning.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:
A failing piece of coursework may be resubmitted in the Spring term, at
a date agreed with the Course Director.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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