Surrey University Stag


Module code: PSYM130

Module Overview

This module provides students with an advanced knowledge of designing research in a particular field of psychology, in preparation for developing their own dissertations. The module will cover all aspects of research design, including literature reviews, forming hypotheses, ethical conduct, and study design, both quantitative and qualitative.

Module provider


Module Leader

SILVANTO Juha (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: C831

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 14

Seminar Hours: 6

Practical/Performance Hours: 2

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module content is as follows: designing a study; conducting literature reviews and forming hypotheses; methodological and ethical issues; quantitative and qualitative research methods. It thus takes the student through the whole process of designing a research study – from developing scientific hypotheses to designing experiments to test these.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Group Presentation 50
Coursework Written Report of the Group Project 50

Alternative Assessment

Group presentation: If unable to attend the session, students will be asked to complete the presentation/discussion with two members of staff (in person in the first instance, or ‘virtually’ if necessary).

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to prepare students for all aspects of designing and conducting research in their field of psychology.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• 10-minute group presentation of a research proposal (assessing learning outcomes 1,2,3,4,5,6)

• 2000 word mini-report. Data will be collected as a group; the Results and Discussion sections will be written up individually (assessing learning outcomes 1,3,4,5,6)


Formative assessment and feedback

will be provided in workshops taking place throughout the module, where students work together on their group presentations.

Module aims

  • provide students with practical experience of research design and methods
  • provide students with an advanced understanding of recent research in a particular field of psychology, including how to think critically about this research
  • enhance written and verbal communication skills through group work, presentation and discussion

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a reflective understanding of current research in a specific field of psychology KC
002 Design a strategy for investigation (design, procedure, methods of data collection) that will address a research question and/or hypotheses that can be logically defended and is in accordance with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and BPS ethical guidelines KCP
003 Coherently articulate the benefits and limitations of particular styles of research KC
004 Communicate ideas, theories and principles through written or oral means, adapting the content appropriately for each medium KCPT
005 Work effectively in different groups to discuss and develop ideas KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Learning and Teaching Strategy:

The core material will be delivered through weekly lectures and students will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas with presenters. This will help them to get a solid background and understanding all the stages of the research process.  

In the seminars, students will form groups and work together on a presentation which they will present to the whole class in the last week. They are supported in this by teaching staff who engage with them constructively, helping them to develop and fine-tune their ideas. A supportive environment will encourage group discussion and interactions to share opinions and develop their ideas. Specifically, teaching staff will guide students in their work towards identifying a gap in the existing literature, developing a hypothesis, and to design an experiment to test these hypotheses. The resultant student outcomes will be increased resourcefulness, confidence and knowledge of the research design process.  Formative feedback will be also offered during these sessions.

At the end of the module, students will present their work to their peers (see assessment below).


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: PSYM130

Other information

In line with Surrey’s Curriculum Framework, we are committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module contributes to the five pillars in the following ways:

Employability (E)

This module supports the students’ employability skills as it will help students develop critical thinking skills as well as presentation skills, which will be highly relevant to employers. Additionally, during the module, students will work in a team to prepare and deliver their poster presentation. One important lesson to learn when designing a poster is that it only has a limited space for information. Thus, the students will need to work together to ensure they have all the necessary content to fully maximise their message and present it in a way that is visually impactful. Additionally, giving a presentation will develop communication skills that are highly regarded in the world of work.

Digital capabilities (D)

Students will need to engage with several elements of digital skill during the module; they will utilize the university of Surrey Virtual Learning Environment (SurreyLearn) to access the course materials and key content. Students will also need to use on-line search engines to research academic journal articles for their assignments. Additionally, in preparation for the group assignment, students are encouraged to create on-line groups (WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Zoom) to discuss the project developments and arrange meetings. The coursework also provides further digital learning opportunities using Microsoft word and PowerPoint.

Global and cultural capabilities (G)

The main focus of this module is to develop research skills. Students will learn about a range of different theoretical and practical approaches present in the academic literature. This will include global and cultural aspects related to carrying out research. For example, we draw focus on how perception of issues associated with research ethics may vary across cultures; and how various psychological phenomena are culturally specific – and therefore must be considered in research design.


Resourcefulness and resilience (R)

An important skill gained in this module is critical thinking skills – students will need to evaluate existing literature and develop new ideas which have not been previously examined – this will develop their resourcefulness. They will also need to present their work to their peers – while this may be stressful and challenging, it will develop their resilience.  This will take place in a supportive environment where making errors will be seen as being acceptable. Thus, while these tasks will be challenging for many, a successful completion of the task will bring increased confidence and will enable the student to reflect on a positive outcome which will build resilience.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology (Conversion) MSc(CORE) 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% 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 2023/4 academic year.