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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Psychology

PSYC50260: Dissertation

Type Tied Level 5 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to C8K107 Research Methods (Developmental Psychology)
Tied to C8K109 Cognitive Neuroscience
Tied to C8K009 Developmental Psychopathology
Tied to C8K409 Behavioural Science


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with experience in the design, implementation, analysis, and discussion of an empirical project relevant to their field of study;
  • To give students the opportunity to apply knowledge of theoretical principles, research skills, and statistical techniques;
  • To provide experience of the complete life cycle of a research project;
  • To provide experience of collaboration with researchers and other professionals, and experience in research management.


  • Michaelmas term: Question formulation; Literature searching: use of internet tools for psychology; Reviewing and evaluating the literature; Preparing a research proposal and time plan; Preparing an ethics application.
  • Epiphany Term: Recruitment of sample; Design of study and preparation of method and materials; Piloting; Data Collection.
  • Easter Term and Summer: Data Collection; Analysis and interpretation of data; Writing up thesis.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Specialised knowledge of a range of advanced research methods and techniques, and an ability to critically appraise their use for specific purposes;
  • Ability to recognise how historical and theoretical assumptions influence theory construction and research design;
  • In-depth theoretical knowledge of a specific topic area related to developmental psychology/ psychopathology, cognitive neuroscience or behavioural science, and critical awareness of emerging issues in the field;
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Skill in formulating, designing, and appropriately testing a researchable question;
  • Research management skills, and understanding of ethical and professional issues and BPS codes of practice;
Key Skills:
  • Professional skills in communicating with research participants and organisations, advanced bibliographic and computing skills, skills of scholarly expression, and ability to take responsibility for own learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching on this module is through introductory lectures and individual or small group supervision sessions with dissertation supervisors.
  • Formative assessment on this module is through a written ethics proposal and research protocol
  • Summative assessment on this module is through a written dissertation

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 2 2 in term 1 1 hour 2
Tutorials 30 1 - 2 weeks 30 minutes 15
Preparation & Reading 583
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 7000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Ethics proposal and research protocol

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University