Advanced and Applied research techniques
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Approved coursework for:
Advanced and Applied Research Techniques Contributes 100% to final course grade. Word Count: 4,000
State one research question on a psychological topic of your choice; provide a brief rationale for addressing this question. Choose two techniques from the course and evaluate which would be most appropriate for investigating this specific research question, in terms of:
i) The ability to adequately answer the research question
ii) Logistical considerations (e.g. recruitment, time-scale, difficulty of implementation)
iii) Ethical considerations.
Please note: The research question must be different from the one used in the formative group presentation. The rationale for the research question should be clear but brief. The evaluation of the two techniques should form the majority of the assignment. You should support both your rationale for the research question and your evaluation of the techniques using appropriate psychological references.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I choose my psychological topic and research question?
You can choose any psychological topic of your choice, and state a research question of your choice. It is important that this is supported by a brief rationale, where it is demonstrated that the research question is appropriate given existing theory/evidence within the area. Your research question should be different from the question used in your group presentation, and on an entirely different topic.
Please note that throughout your MSc you should not duplicate submitted work. This means that you cannot re-use your own writing in multiple assignments, or from previous work (e.g. from your undergraduate degree). You may wish to consider this when selecting your topic and research question.
How do I choose the two techniques to evaluate?
You can choose any two techniques covered within the course lectures. Some lectures will have looked at one or two techniques in depth, and others will have covered a type of technique and mentioned several techniques within this. The evaluation is likely to be more straightforward if you pick specific techniques rather than overall types.
Think carefully about which techniques could be appropriate to investigate your research question. Do not pick techniques which are clearly not appropriate; this would indicate a lack of understanding and limit the effectiveness of your evaluation. Also think carefully about picking techniques that can be sensibly evaluated together. For example, it would be difficult to evaluate whether interviews or thematic analysis was most appropriate because it is likely that thematic analysis data would come from interviews/focus groups. However it would be reasonable to evaluate whether use of interviews or focus groups was most appropriate, or whether thematic analysis or interpretative phenomenological analysis was most appropriate.
If you are in doubt that you have chosen appropriate methods from the course, you are advised to check with the Course Coordinator no later than 1 week before the deadline.
How should I structure the assignment? Should I use sub-headings?
It is important to ensure your work is presented clearly and is formatted in such a way that the reader can easily follow it. You may find it helpful to use sub-headings in your assignment. You could, for example, have two main sections: the research question and rationale, followed by an evaluation of the techniques themselves. These could be further divided into subsections. The two techniques could be considered together, or one after the other. Consider how the structure of your
assignment can best enable you to achieve the aim of evaluating which techniques would be most appropriate to investigate your research question.
Are an introduction and conclusion required?
It is your choice whether to give an introduction. Something brief introducing what the chosen psychological topic is and which two techniques will be evaluated could help the reader follow your assignment. You are asked to evaluate which technique would be most appropriate to investigate your research question; in order to achieve this it is likely that a conclusion will be necessary.
Should I include a description of the two techniques?
The focus of the assignment should be on the evaluation of whether the techniques are appropriate for the research question, not on describing the techniques. However it would be sensible to ensure that the reader can understand the points made in your evaluation and that you demonstrate that you fully understand the techniques. Therefore a brief description of the techniques could very well be appropriate, with a specific emphasis on characteristics of the techniques relevant for evaluating them with respect to the research question.
Should I include a methodology section for each technique?
This assignment is not a research proposal or a project write-up; methodology sections are not required and would not directly answer the assignment. For example stating exactly what the procedure would be or exactly how many participants would be recruited for a technique, would not be answering the assignment task.
However considering methodological details may help you to evaluate which technique is most appropriate. For example if one technique requires many more participants to be recruited to fully address the research question, this may make it less suitable than another technique because of the greater logistical demands.
What does the word count include?
The word count includes the main text of your assignment. It does not include the coversheet, title, or references list. It does include all in-text citations, sub-headings, and text in any figures or tables. Footnotes are not typically used in psychology assignments, and any text in footnotes would be included in the word count.
How many words should I write on the different aspects of the assignment?
It is up to you to decide how much to write to answer each aspect of the assignment. However, as stated in the assignment information sheet, the rationale for the research question should be clear but brief. The evaluation of the two techniques should form the majority of the assignment.
Do I need to reference information about the techniques?
The sources of the information given in your assignments should be appropriately cited. You should support both your rationale for the research question and your evaluation of the techniques using appropriate psychological references. This may include citing sources about the chosen techniques. You are strongly advised to cite appropriate psychological readings rather than lecture slide
There are topics of lectures:
Introduction to research methods and ethics
Interviewing and focus groups
Content and thematic analysis
Systematic review and meta-analysis
Grounded theory and interpretative phenomenological analysis
Questionnaire design and development
Lab-in-the-field experiments and field experiments
Causal inference methods for observational data