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Critical Analysis: Experimental Research


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Alex Shepherd
  • Assessment: a three-hour examination (100%)

Module description

This module is especially useful to those who are pursuing an experimental research project, and for those who wish to pursue further studies at postgraduate level (Master's or PhD programmes involving experimental research). It is also tailored to those students who wish to expand their understanding of the impact research can have on understanding topics within psychology and, beyond that, on critical assessment and understanding of issues presented in scientific and wider arenas. This is whether or not you wish to pursue further research degrees.

The aims of this module are to:

  • encourage critical reading and analysis of psychological research reports
  • show how design principles and statistics are applied in psychological research
  • consider the psychological importance of published research studies.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • review research articles comprehensively and critically
  • understand the rationale, logic and purpose of an article
  • identify any hypotheses stated
  • describe and assess the suitability of the methods adopted
  • assess the soundness of the experimental designs used
  • assess the suitability of the statistical treatment of the results
  • assess the interpretation of the results and the adequacy of the statistical inferences drawn
  • evaluate a paper’s discussion section
  • decide whether the conclusions reached are justified
  • judge whether a contribution to psychological knowledge has been made
  • propose solutions to the shortcomings of published research
  • identify alternative ways of answering the research question(s).