PSYCH211-19A (HAM)

Understanding Psychological Research

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Psychology


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Paper Description

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This paper will introduce you to a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. Through a combination of lectures and practical exercises, you will learn some of the techniques of psychological research and come to understand some of the issues relevant to conducting and evaluating research.
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Paper Structure

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The teaching component of this paper will be delivered in two different formats.

  • On Mondays and Tuesdays there are live lectures carried by video conference from Hamilton. After introductory lectures on the nature of research and research ethics, these cover a range of research designs, both quantitative and qualitative.
  • For each of the first 10 weeks, there is also a recorded lecture on statistics. This can be viewed at any time of the week.

The practical component also has two parts.

  • Beginning in week three, there are 10 face to face workshops where you will work on tasks related to the face to face lectures. Lab instructors will be available to help you.
  • There will also be 10 online tasks related to the statistics lectures.

The paper has a Moodle page which provides students with information and through this page students can access Panopto recordings and PDFs of lecture slides. The Moodle page is also where students select a workshop time, communicate with course staff, and upload electronic versions of their assessments.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Explain, compare, and contrast various research methods used by psychologists, including their key characteristics, strengths, and limitations
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  • Identify appropriate methods for answering research questions in diverse cultural and social contexts
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  • Think critically about issues concerning methodology, trustworthiness, and research rigour
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  • Consider how psychologists can use research to address complex social issues
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  • Develop an understanding of psychological research beyond technical proficiency
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  • Develop a basic understanding of Kaupapa Māori research methods and how it relates to psychological research
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  • Identify and evaluate the main ethical considerations of research
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  • Develop skills in basic statistical literacy
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AssessmentPercentage of Overall Paper GradeDate
Workshop exercises30%Throughout the semester
Statistics exercises20%Throughout the semester
Test 125%2 April
Test 225%28 May


These practical exercises will give you a chance to gain some basic experience of the research process and assist you in understanding the course content. See Moodle for more information regarding these assessment items.

Statistics Exercises

Beginning in Week 1, there will be 10 online tasks. These are related to the recorded statistics lectures. See Moodle for more information.


This paper will have two internal tests. Test 1 will assess material taught in the first portion of the semester. The second will assess material taught following the first internal test. See Moodle for more detail of what is covered in the tests. These tests will take place in the usual lecture theatre on the date listed, unless otherwise advised.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Workshop exercises
2. Statistics exercises
3. Test 1
4. Test 2
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Qualitative section:

There is no course text for the qualitative section of the course. Readings will be made available on Moodle where appropriate.

Quantitative section:

Price, P. C., Jhangiani, R. S., Chiang, I-C. A, & Veale, J. F. (2016). Research methods in Psychology.
Available for download through Moodle

Statistics component:

Statistics Chapters are available on Moodle to accompany the recorded lectures and statistics exercises.

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Recommended Readings

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Pallant, J. (2016). SPSS survival guide (6th ed.). Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK.

Field, A. (2013; 2018). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th ed./5th ed.). SAGE: London, UK.
Many students report that this textbook is very useful them to gain an understanding of statistics. This textbook is also used for more advanced level research methods papers in the School of Psychology, so it is recommended that you also use this to assist your understanding of statistics taught in this paper.

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Other Resources

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Course Manuals & Lecture Notes
This paper has two accompanying manuals. The Statistics Chapters includes background statistics reading. The Course Workbook contains the workshop exercises. Both of these manuals can be accessed through Moodle.
Lecture notes and occasional readings to accompany each lecture will be available on Moodle usually 2 hours prior to the lecture.
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Online Support

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There is a Moodle page for PSYCH211 which is a shared space for students enrolled in this paper at both the Hamilton and Tauranga campuses. The Moodle page has further information about the paper, announcements, links to Panopto recordings, course rep contact details, online discussion forum, and more. The Moodle page is where students sign up for a workshop time. The PDFs of the lecture slides will be posted on the moodle page just before or soon after lectures are delivered.
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The amount of work expected of a typical student in a 15-point paper (offered over one semester) is approximately 8-10 hours per week. This figure is only approximate, as papers vary in their requirements and students vary in both the amount of effort required and the level of grades they wish to achieve. To do well in this paper we think you should expect to do at least three to four hours of study on your own each week, in addition to the three hours of lectures (two hours in person and one hour online) and two hours of workshop sessions.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite papers: PSYCH100, PSYCH101, PSYC101 or PSYC102 (or equivalents)




Restricted papers: PSYC208

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