Statistics and Research Methods for Psychological and Behavioural Science

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Thomas Curran CON 3.16


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

This course equips students with the bedrock knowledge and skills for conducting research in psychology and behavioural science. It integrates core concepts from the process of planning and conducting research with those involved in understanding and analysing data. Its lectures and classes introduce enough research methods and statistics to provide a foundation for Years 2 and 3. Students will be provided with a dataset that they can use to put what they learn into practice, as well as having the opportunity to collect and analyse data of their own.

This course aims to:

• To situate contemporary research in psychology and behavioural science in the historical context of psychological enquiry;

• To convey an understanding of the processes required in planning, carrying out, summarising, and evaluating research in psychological and behavioural science;

• To introduce principles for designing, conducting, and writing up qualitative and quantitative research projects;

• To introduce statistical methods needed to familiarise oneself with a dataset, summarise its key features, and identify key relationships among variables;

• To provide practical experience of collecting and analysing psychological and/or behavioural data.

• To prepare students for later courses in statistics and research methods for psychological and behavioural science


20 hours of lectures, 3 hours of classes, 12 hours of workshops, 2 hours of computer workshops and 9 hours of computer workshops in the MT. 20 hours of lectures, 7 hours and 30 minutes of classes, 8 hours of workshops and 7 hours and 30 minutes of computer workshops in the LT.

‘Lectures’ in this course will be used to introduce you to the topic for the week. There will be a 2 hour lecture each week during term (20 weeks in total).  All students in the course will be present in the lectures.

‘Classes’ will take place when we’re discussing something less practically based such as the history and philosophy of research or designing experiments. Across the course there will be seven 90 minute classes over the year. There will be around 15 people in each class. One of the classes will be used to run the mock exam (see formative coursework).

‘Computer Workshops’ will be used to work on statistics. They are designed to provide you with an opportunity to put what you’ve learned into practice. You’ll do twelve Statistics Workshops over the course. The first workshop will be 120 minutes long. The remainder of the workshops will last 90 minutes but will be followed by an optional 30 minute catch up session. All students in the course will be present for the workshops and they will be facilitated by multiple members of staff.

‘Workshops’ will be used to accommodate lab sessions. Over the course you will complete ten lab sessions each lasting two hours. All students in the course will be present for the workshops and they will be facilitated by multiple members of staff.

Formative coursework

2 sets of lab worksheets and 2 practice pieces for the summative assessment in MT.

2 sets of lab worksheets, 1 practice piece for the summative assessment and 1 mock exam in LT

Indicative reading

  • American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication manual. Sixth Edition. Washington. DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Angrist, J. D., & Pischke, J. S. (2008). Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricist's companion. Princeton university press.
  • Cook, T., & Campbell, D. (1979) Quasi-experimentation: Design & analysis issues for field settings.
  • Cooper, H., Camic, P. M., Long, D., Panter, A., Rindskof, D., & Sher, K. (2012). The APA handbook of research methods in psychology (volumes 1-3). American Psychological Association.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Danziger, K. (1994). Constructing the subject: Historical origins of psychological research.
  • Dienes, Z. (2008). Understanding psychology as a science: An introduction to scientific and statistical inference. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Firebaugh, G. (2008). Seven rules for social research. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Gelman, A. & Hill, J. (2007). Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hunt, M. (2007). The story of psychology. (2nd ed.) Random House


Exam (30%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Project (30%, 2500 words) in the LT.
Group project (40%) in the MT and LT.

Students are required to design and carry out a mixed methods group project examining a research question (40%). This is made up of:

  • group poster presentation (10%) in MT and;
  • individual paper write up (3000 words) in LT (30%).

Please note that the exam is an unseen, open book exam. 

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills