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Empirical Dissertation - EDU00076M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Sophie Von Stumm
  • Credit value: 60 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
  • Notes: This is an independent study module

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module aims to support students in designing and executing an empirical psychological study that is of interest to them, and in writing a report of their study in APA style. In the course of this module students will have the opportunity to put much of their psychological knowledge and skills into practice and, potentially, to make an original contribution to knowledge in their chosen area.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

The knowledge and skills required for this module is taught in Autumn and Spring term modules. In addition students will be tutored by supervisors in knowledge and skills that are specific to their individual research question. Students will also be offered dissertation workshops which cover study design, ethical approval, data collection, and extended academic writing.

By the end of the module students will have developed:

  • Expertise in conducting an in-depth literature review to address what it currently known about a question of their choice.
  • Experience in study development and design.
  • Knowledge and experience of the ethical approval process.
  • New knowledge of data collection techniques and awareness of issues in real-world research.
  • Expertise in choosing the most appropriate form of analysis and interpreting results.
  • An enhanced ability to consider alternative interpretations of findings.
  • Academic writing skills

Academic and graduate skills

Students will develop their skills in:

  • Focused literature search and reviewing
  • Research design
  • Considering ethical issues and applying for ethical approval
  • Selection or design of measurement tools
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Academic writing
  • Reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of their study
  • Identifying implications for education and/or further research

Module content

Students begin to think about their dissertations during Spring and work to the following timetable:

Spring Week 5: Students submit a 1-page research proposal on a topic of their choice.

Spring Week 8: Students are allocated a dissertation supervisor.

Spring Week 9-10: Students meet with their dissertation supervisor to refine their research idea.


Summer Week 2: Students meet with their dissertation supervisor.

Summer Week 4: Students submit a detailed research proposal and application for ethical

approval (including informed consent documentation).

Summer Week 6: Students receive decisions from the Ethics Committee.

Students meet with their dissertation supervisor to plan data collection and, if

necessary, to make final changes to ethics documentation.

Summer Week 10: Students meet with their dissertation supervisor to discuss progress.


Summer Vacation: Students meet with their dissertation supervisor twice to discuss progress.


Task Length % of module mark
Graduate/Postgraduate Dissertation
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Graduate/Postgraduate Dissertation
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback on assignment report sheet (within 6 weeks).

Indicative reading

Forshaw, M. (2013). Your Undergraduate Psychology Project: A Student Guide, 2nd Edition. BPS Blackwell.

Wood, C., Percy, C. & Giles, D. (2012). Your Psychology Project Handbook. Pearson.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.