Research Foundations module (PY51001)

Learn basic quantitative research methods and good scientific practice in the context of psychological science

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How does the human mind function? What type of therapy most effectively impacts mental health and well-being? Can motivational speeches enhance sports performances? Does listening to classical music improve concentration? These intriguing questions are all part of the vast field of psychological research.

This module will equip you with the basic skills and knowledge necessary to investigate these and many other questions as a researcher

The module covers a broad range of topics including empiricism and the research cycle, the relationship between science and society – emphasizing the importance of scientifically literate citizens, and the critical evaluation of scientific claims in the published literature.

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • pick up the necessary skills and knowledge to study research questions with a focus on Psychological Science
  • learn to identify questionable research practices and their consequences
  • seek out solutions towards transparent and reproducible research
  • briefly review basic statistical concepts and quantitative data analyses (i.e., variables, relationships between variables and effect sizes, and null-hypothesis significance testing) in standard statistical software (i.e. Excel, JASP) in preparation for the follow-up module Advanced Quantitative Methods (PY52007).

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand the core ideas underlying the scientific method
  • understand the logic behind making inferences about the world from data
  • search and summarise psychological literature on a given subject
  • confidently present a given topic to a group of peers
  • effectively choose an appropriate research problem to tackle
  • critically evaluate scientific claims based on the underlying methodology
  • understand the necessity and requirements of conducting research transparently

Assignments / assessment

  • multiple-choice quizzes (30%)
    • set throughout the semester
  • short-answer essay 1,200 words (30%)
  • research project pre-register 1,600 words (40%)

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

  • weekly two-hour seminars
    • allows for a wide range of different learning approaches with an emphasis on 'learning by doing'
    • included short lectures
    • reading and preparing research and media articles
    • group presentations
    • working through workbooks for statistical analyses using the JASP statistical software package
  • talks by guest speakers (usually PhD students)
    • based on the speakers' research projects
    • gives insight on doing a PhD after your MSc


This module is available on following courses: