Independent Research Project

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

To be confirmed


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 students 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.

Supervisors will meet regularly with students individually and as groups 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. 

Students should see the project as much as an exercise in project management as it is an investigation. Throughout the process, attention should be given to replicability and transparency.


Supervisors will offer regular sessions and each student will be expected to meet with their supervisor at least twice in Michaelmas term and twice in Lent term. Supervision sessions will be available both individually and within groups.

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. 

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. 
  • Dittmann, M. (2005) Starting the dissertation GradPsych 2005(1)
  • Flick, U. (2015) Introducing Research Methodology: A Beginner’s Guide to doing a research project (2nd ed.). London: Sage.
  • Harrison, E., & Rentzelas, P. (2020). Your Psychology Dissertation. London: Sage.
  • Holman, A.J. & Jones, T. (2018) Identifying a Topic for a Psychology Dissertation: A Process Map for Students Psychology Teaching Review 24(1)
  • Levin, P. (2005) Excellent Dissertations Maidenhead: Open University Press


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

  • Report (20%) in LT: Students will be required to submit a research compendium for their research at the end of Michaelmas Term. 
  • Project (80%) in ST: The final project will be due in early Summer Term. It will consist of two objects your report and your final research compendium. The report should be no more than 25 pages in APA style. The compendium should contain folders for methods, analysis (if you’re doing a quantitative study), ethics and any appendices (data of quantitative study, transcripts if qualitative study, and any tools used). Only the report will be marked, but the compendium should be well populated for replicability and transparency.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2021/22: 28

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: One Unit

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Personal development skills

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