Statistics and Research Methods for Psychological and Behavioural Science

This information is for the 2021/22 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:

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

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

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

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

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

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


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, lab sessions and classes totalling a minimum of 84.5 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. There is a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term and Week 6 of Lent Term. In response to the current situation, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of live online classes, Q+A sessions, online lab sessions and pre-recorded short online videos. You will receive the same amount of teaching whether you are on campus or online.

Formative coursework

Students will complete a number of pieces of formative work to cement learning and prepare for summative assessments.

  • Complete four statistics worksheets
  • Write one practice piece focusing on designing research
  • Write one practice piece focusing on writing up qualitative research
  • Write one practice piece focusing on writing up quantitative research
  • Undertake a mock exam

Indicative reading

  • American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication manual. Sixth Edition. Washington: APA.
  • Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. London: Sage.
  • British Psychological Society (2014). Code of Human Research Ethics. BPS.
  • 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.  Cambridge: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Firebaugh, G.  (2008). Seven rules for social research.  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press.
  • Hayes, A. F. (2017). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. London: Guilford Publications.
  • Howitt, D., & Cramer, D. (2011). Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology. 3rd edition. London: Pearson.
  • Hunt, M.  (2007). The story of psychology. (2nd Ed.)  London: Random House.
  • Navarro, D. (2015). Learning Statistics with R: A Tutorial for Psychology Students and Other Beginners: Version 0.5. Adelaide, Australia: University of Adelaide.
  • Phillips, N. D. (2017). Yarrr! The pirate’s guide to R.
  • Poldrack R. A. (2019). Statistical Thinking for the 21st Century.
  • Son, J. Y., & Stigler, J. W. (2019). Introduction to Statistics: A Modelling Approach
  • Urdan, T. C. (2011). Statistics in plain English. London: Routledge.
  • Wickham, H. (2016). ggplot2: elegant graphics for data analysis. London: Springer.


Exam (30%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Project (30%, 2500 words) and other (30%) in the LT.
Poster (10%) in the MT.

  • Poster - this is a group assignment and you will produce an A1 poster
  • Project - this is a mixed methods project
  • Other - this requires you to write methods and results for two secondary data analysis tasks
  • Exam - the exam will consist of 55 multiple choice or very short answer questions.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2020/21: 34

Average class size 2020/21: 19

Capped 2020/21: 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