Independent Research Project

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.

The BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science is accredited by the British Psychological Society. Students will be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership if they gain a lower second classification (2:2) overall and pass this course.


Students should have taken Year 1 and Year 2 of the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science, which provide the necessary knowledge and skills to undertake guided independent research.

Course content

The Independent Research Project is an empirical investigation, carried out by the student under supervision. Research topics and methodologies vary considerably, but must relate to Psychological and Behavioural Science as broadly understood. All research topics will need to be approved in advance by a supervisor who is a faculty member of the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science.

The final lectures in PB230, Intermediate Statistics and Research Methods for Psychological and Behavioural Science, will serve as an introduction to the Independent Research Project. After this, students will be presented with the research interests and skills of supervising faculty. Students will then decide on potential topics during the summer vacation, ready to start work in early Michaelmas Term of Year 3. Faculty can supervise both qualitative and quantitative projects.

During Year 3, Supervisors will meet regularly with students to; guide the formulation of the research question and investigative methods, complete pre-registration, plan a timeline, develop reading lists, obtain ethical approval, and provide feedback on the research as it unfolds.

There will be a Research Project Conference in the summer where students can present their finished work to peers, faculty, friends, and family.


Supervisors will offer regular, ring-fenced, supervision sessions and each student will be expected to meet with their supervisor at least twice in Michaelmas term and twice in Lent term.

After the introduction at the end of PB230, there will be two 2-hour lectures in Year 3 which are designed as check-in points. In response to the current situation, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of live online sessions, Q+A sessions, and/or pre-recorded short online videos. You will receive the same amount of teaching whether you are on campus or online.

There will also be regular support sessions available with staff from the Behavioural Lab for Research and Teaching to assist with the planning and completion of experimental work.

Formative coursework

To ensure continued progress throughout the year students will be expected to:

  1. Draft a timeline and discuss this with their supervisor in MT
  2. Write a short summary of progress on the research in LT

Indicative reading

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American psychological association (7th Edition).

Bernard, H. R. (2000) Social Research Methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches.  London: Sage. 

Flick, U. (2011) Introducing Research Methodology: A Beginner’s Guide to doing a research project. London: Sage.

Harrison, E., & Rentzelas, P. (2020). Your Psychology Dissertation. London: Sage.


Project (80%) in the ST.
Report (20%) in the LT.

  • Report (20%) in LT: Students will be required to submit a research compendium for their research in Lent Term
  • Project (80%) in ST: This is the final submission of your Independent Research Project

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: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills