PYMFCR-Clinical Research Methods

Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Eugene McSorley


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will enable students to develop a deep knowledge of, and competency in, psychological research methods and statistics.


The aims of the module are that students should develop their knowledge of research methods, statistics, data analytic tools and techniques, practical and ethical issues as they relate to understanding, and undertaking, research in clinical psychology. Students will gain practical experience of a variety of methods, analysis techniques, and report writing.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module the student will be able to:

  • Show the required standard of knowledge about the statistical concepts and techniques that have been taught, and know which techniques are appropriate for particular data.

  • Use computer packages to implement the statistical methods.

  • Show the required standard of knowledge about the research methods that have been taught, and know which approaches are appropriate for particular research questions.

  • Be able to design, undertake and report studies of psychological phenomena.

  • Be conversant with the ethical and practical issues relating to research in a clinical psychology.

Additional outcomes:

Students will gain practical experience of using a number of psychological research methods. They will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of research methodology, data analysis and literature searching in essays and exam questions produced for other modules on the course.

Students will participate in research studies being conducted in the School, enhancing their knowledge of research methodology and enabling them to apply their knowledge of research design and procedure to real examples.

Outline content:

  • Mathematical and statistical concepts in psychology.

  • Topics in statistics, including analysis of variance, regression and principal components analysis, and their applications in psychological research.

  • Reliability and validity of measures (e.g. questionnaires; diagnostic interviews).

  • Introduction to qualitative approaches to data collection and data analysis, including evaluating the rigour of qualitative research.

  • Topics relevant to undertaking clinical research (including public and patient involvement in research, dealing with sensitive issues, study designs used in clinical research e.g. single case design).

  • Trial design (covering design such as multiple baseline case series, randomised controlled trials and issues such as regression to mean).

  • Ethical considerations in clinical research.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

  1. Lectures on clinical research issues, methods and statistics.

  2. Workshops on statistical computing and related topics.

  3. Completion of a report describing a mini-project using data provided.

  4. Statistics support, where students can receive help with any topics relating to statistics they have found difficult in lectures or practical classes.

  5. Small group work on issues related to planning clinical research, trial design and measurement.

  6. Participation in research studies, selected from those available, followed by debriefing, and answering questions on each.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 8
Seminars 6
Project Supervision 4 4
Practicals classes and workshops 10 8
Guided independent study: 75 80
Total hours by term 100 100 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 45
Project output other than dissertation 45
Set exercise 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

This module is assessed by coursework.

  • Students will complete a miniproject report in Autumn, describing the results of a statistical enquiry they have conducted on data provided (45% of module mark).

  • Students will additionally undertake an assessment to produce a project proposal.  The format for this proposal will follow the pattern of a Research Ethics Committee application.  The assignment will be based on a study chosen from a list provided (45% of the module mark).

  • Students are required to participate in the human research being done in the School. Students will be required to gain a small number of credits by participation in studies conducted in the School. This participation is helpful in experiencing research from the participant’s point of view. Students complete a short debrief after each study. They will receive 10% of the credits for this module for participation in this research. These are scored at an average of the mark given for the other credits on the module.

Formative assessment methods:

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:

If a student fails the assignment, an alternative, equivalent assignment can be submitted.  The assignment and date of submission will be by arrangement with the Module Convenor and/or Programme Director. Students should note however that, given the University regulations on failing credits, it may not be in their interests to resubmit the coursework.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Required text books: Field, A (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. Sage Publications. ISBN: 9781446249185.

Last updated: 19 June 2019


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