Module code: PSY2015

Module Overview

Students must pass each unit of assessment at 40%.This module, which aims to interweave theory, methods and findings about how we develop as perceiving, thinking and feeling human beings, will be taught in two parts 

  1. Lectures will cover key topics in developmental psychology across the life-span, focusing particularly on social and cognitive development.  The module will draw on material, methods and theories in level 1, but at a more fine-grained level.  Students will be encouraged to integrate the different topics into wider theoretical frameworks.  A journal club tutorial will be run relating to one of the lecture topics (conversations) which aims to foster skills required for reading and critically evaluating original journal articles in developmental psychology.

  2. Small group tutorials (n=30) will be given in which students will be facilitated in the designing, running, and analyzing of a small developmental experiment in the area of parent-child conversations.


Module provider


Module Leader

TENENBAUM Harriet (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 118

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 10

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Developmental Psychology with Research Methods 1  

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Lectures (11 x 2 hours)

After an introduction outlining the basic issues in developmental psychology and the strengths, weaknesses and applications of the principle research methods used in the field, the lectures will focus on the following topics: gender socialisation, socio-cultural theories, emotion, language and literacy development, play, media, executive function, attachment, mathematics and science learning, and atypical development.

Tutorials (2 x 2 hours, 2 x 1 hour)

  • Two of the tutorials will consist of practical sessions in which students will be required to formulate hypotheses and test them on a developmental issue pertinent to the curriculum (e.g., gender), as the basis for their research report. They will need to run a mixed-design ANOVA.

  • Two will be journal club tutorials: 1 key journal article to be read prior to the session relating  to the topic of conversations, discussion in groups of 5, discussion around set questions facilitated by the tutorial leader.  The class size will be around 30.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that

  1. they have core knowledge in developmental psychology

  2. they have a comprehensive understanding of a topic

  3. they can critically evaluate a specific topic

  4. an ability to critically evaluate the appropriateness of different methodological approaches to developmental psychological problems

  5. their appreciation of the stages of the developmental psychological research process

Outcomes 1 –3 will be assessed in an exam. Outcomes 4 and 5 will be assessed with a research report

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • One 90 minute unseen essay and MCQ format examination (75%) (in formal semester exam period)

  • One developmental research methods research report (6 pages-25%)



Students will  receive verbal feedback in tutorials and lectures. Importantly, there is a discussion group on Surrey Learn where students can ask questions about the assignment and receive quick feedback.

Module aims

  • Provide an in-depth coverage of selected topics in the study of children's social and cognitive development, with a focus on the changes children progress through in these areas
  • Explore the theories, methods, and applications of developmental psychology in relation to these topics
  • Foster critical thinking, particularly in the analysis of developmental controversies
  • Develop research ability through guided practical work in designing, carrying out, analyzing and writing up a small-scale developmental experiment, and setting this in an appropriate theoretical and empirical context

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Have a basic ability to describe change in human development
2 Have an insight into how and why developmental changes take place, for example in cognition and social understanding
3 Have an understanding of why particular individuals may differ in certain aspects of development, for example in reading achievement
4 Have an understanding of the main theoretical frameworks used to characterize change across childhood and adolescence
5 Be able to critically evaluate the theoretical frameworks in relation to the available evidence
6 Have knowledge of the principal empirical findings that have been obtained on the selected topics covered in social and cognitive development
7 Have a sound knowledge of the principle research methods developmental psychologist's use to study change and their application
8 Have the ability to design, run, and analyze a small scale developmental experiment

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Give students the skills to critically evaluate theory in developmental psychology

  • Provide students with core foundational knowledge in developmental psychology and the ability to critique the conclusions of this knowledge base

  • Give students an enhanced literacy (including methodological and statistical literacy) of the current research in the field. 

  • Develop the capacity to explain and to narrate how research questions form and change in developmental psychology

  • Develop a critical understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the major research methods used in psychology

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures or 2 hours duration for 11 weeks

  • Two tutorials of 2 hours duration

  • Two tutorials of 1 hour duration

  • Use of Surrey Learn discussion board facility

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY2015

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons)(CORE) 2 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.