Qualitative Methods in Psychology
This unit will develop and applied and critical understanding of qualitative methods in psychology enabling the development of theoretical and philosophical understandings alongside practical skills and experience .
It will demonstrate some of the breadth of qualitative methods in psychology aiming to ensure a comprehensive grounding in both theory and application. Philosophy, values and ethics in qualitative research will provide a sound basis for developing more practical skills and knowledge.
A range of methodological approaches will be explored ethnographic, feminist, phenomenological, narrative and post-structural research. Qualitative methods outlined will include interviewing, focus groups, observations, diaries. Thematic analysis, discourse analysis, narrative analysis will be included aiming to span critical realist and more textual, post-structural approaches.
Quantitative Methods in Psychology
Quantitative Methods in Psychology develops an applied and critical understanding of quantitative methods and analyses in psychology enabling the development of theoretical and applied skills.
This unit will span the breadth of quantitative methods in psychology; providing a grounding in both theory and application. A wide-range of quantitative approaches will be explored from the fundamentals of quantitative methodology (e.g., research design, sampling, hypothesis testing, significance) through to the essentials (ANOVA, regression and data reduction).
Fundamentals of Social and Developmental Psychology
Fundamentals of Social and Developmental Psychology develops an applied and critical understanding of human development and social explanations for behaviour in psychology.
This unit will span the history and emergence of modern social psychology and its methods (CHIP). Covered will be the traditional areas including social perception, person perception, attitudes, attribution. Inter-group processes will also be covered including: prejudice, inter-group conflict, social identification. Small group processes including: norms, leadership, decision-making and performance will be included, as will social influence and the more critical social psychology and explorations of subjectivity. Historical foundations of childhood, the origins of developmental psychology, theories of development and appropriate methods for the study of development will be explored. The development of attachment, social and emotional development, temperament, communication and language development will be covered as will perceptual, motor and cognitive development. Life cycle, stages and transitions will be explored in relation to successful ageing.
Fundamentals of Cognitive and Biological Psychology
This unit covers a range of key areas in cognitive psychology & biopsychology. It provides a foundation understanding contemporary issues, debates and methods. It will enable students to critically explore key areas of cognitive and neuropsychological/ biopsychological research including perception, attention, memory, language, & problem solving.
This will include discussion and evaluation of theory, methodological issues and quantitative analysis. Foundations will cover methods in cognition and biopsychology, structure & function of the nervous system and neurons, nerve transmission, & effects of neural damage. Perception will include cognitive and neuroscience topics related to object recognition, face recognition scene recognition and the influence of motivation on perception. Attention will include cognitive and neuroscience topics based upon focused attention, divided attention, spatial attention and motivational influences on attention. Memory will include cognitive and neuroscience topics based upon everyday memory, memory systems/processes, & the biology of learning/memory. Language will include cognitive and neuropsychological topics related to: language perception and production, text processing, inferences, and aphasias and the biology of language. Problem solving and thinking will include cognitive and neuropsychological topics based on: problem-solving research, expert vs. novices, heuristics, executive and frontal contributions to problem solving and thinking. Running throughout aspects of the above will be a number of additional issues and themes such as: how the use of brain damaged individuals and neuroimaging work can be used to inform understanding of normal brain function (including the localisation of function), the use of practical and real world examples and illustrations of research, experimental design, practical experimentation within the fields covered and the use of computerised statistical techniques to evaluate experimental data.
The unit will focus on the related areas of personality and individual differences. Personality will include a critical analysis of identity in relation to development, psychometric approaches to personality: the social construction of personality and the implications of personality research. Individual Differences will cover history of individual differences (CHIP); biological aspects of individual variation (e.g. intelligence; genetics); the fairness, uses and abuses of psychological tests and individual differences in applied settings (e.g. health and illness).
Students will identify their research questions in any area of their chosen programme, subject only to the availability of knowledgeable supervisors. They will prepare proposals and submit these to the Postgraduate ethics committee for approval along with risk assessment appraisals and letters of authorisation from external bodies, prior to commencing the work. Students will design and carry out their investigations under supervision of a member of staff. It is expected that all projects involve collection of information. Research may utilise whatever method or methods most suitable to address the identified aims. The research may be desktop, laboratory based or field based; may be experimental or non-experimental; qualitative or quantitative. Reports usually take the form of a journal article (or extended thesis on request)
Personal and Professional Development
The module is concerned with both the development of knowledge & skills and the development of self. The unit promotes this development through the identification and monitoring of learning objectives and personal goals within a critical and supportive academic community. A required component of the module is student attendance and contribution to PPD group meetings. The PPD group provides an opportunity to share and extend knowledge, understanding and skills with peers.
Likely Optional Units
Conceptual and Historical Issues in Counselling and Psychotherapy
The aim of this unit is to facilitate a critical understanding of the conceptual, historical and philosophical developments of different counselling and psychotherapy approaches. Connections are made to broader professional and contemporary service issues. The unit also aims to develop awareness of the socio-political aspects of counselling and psychotherapy.
Students will explore the changing historical, paradigmatic shifts in conceptualising psychological distress, disorder, mental illness and mental health, and the philosophical, psychological and historical developments within counselling models and theories. Consideration will be given to the development of counselling across different geographical locations and the impact of social and cultural issues on this development. In addition students will explore issues of social advantage/ disadvantage and a gain a critical overview of contemporary issues in counselling and counselling settings.
Introduction to Educational Psychology
There has been a longstanding interest in the applicability of psychology to education - this discipline now provides information beneficial to multiple professions, including teaching, paediatricians and practicing educational psychologists. Educational Psychology draws upon key aspects of multiple areas of psychology including developmental, cognitive, social and neuro-psychology, demonstrating the valuable links between these areas. The research gained in educational psychology is able to form the basis for developing interventions in providing optimum classroom environments and reducing behaviours that may result in barriers to education. On completion of this module, students will therefore have a knowledge base enabling them to understand theories relating to education and how these can be applied to the real world. This module also adopts a particular focus on Special Educational Needs and the associated policies and procedures. Specific developmental disabilities will be considered, giving students a greater understanding of these and how schools can implement strategies to reduce barriers to education for some of the most vulnerable pupils
Introduction to Forensic Psychology
The overall aim of this unit is to provide a critical overview of forensic issues in psychology, examining both the theoretical and practical underpinnings of forensic psychology.
Students will be invited to evaluate current theories, research and developments in forensic psychology. Key concepts and theories in the following areas will be outlined and evaluated:
- theories of offending behaviour,
- the context of practice in forensic psychology (including evidence-based practice and the scientist-practitioner approach),
- applications of psychology to criminal justice processes,
- working with specific client groups encountered in forensic psychology,
- using and communicating information in forensic psychology practice,
- assessment and interventions with client groups.