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Psychology: Core concepts and skills


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Michael Mallaghan
  • Assessment: a 1500-word essay (30%), a 500-word review of a journal article (20%), a one-hour in-class timed assessment (30%), a learning portfolio (15%) and participation and attendance (5%)

Module description

This module explores how theory in psychology is built, highlighting the difficulties of developing a truly scientific understanding of human behaviour. The aim is to help you begin your journey as a psychologist, in particular to develop your ability to critique, integrate and apply psychological perspectives.

You will also be supported to develop the core skills required to successfully complete a degree in psychology.

Indicative module content

  • Introduction: What is psychology?
  • Psychology as a science - and the importance of ethics
  • Why maths (and numbers) matter
  • History of psychology part 1: nativism and empiricism
  • Research methodologies and design
  • Alternative (qualitative) methods
  • Sourcing your reading - and reading skills
  • History of psychology part 2: the relationship between the mind and behaviour
  • Finding evidence and interpreting it
  • What it takes to succeed academically: exploring the role of motivation and intelligence
  • Is there a 'best' way to learn?
  • Writing skills: essays and lab reports
  • History of psychology part 3: making sense of the different perspectives in psychology
  • Critical thinking and evaluating research papers
  • Bring it together: developing your academic voice and integrating perspectives
  • Preparing for an exam

Learning objectives

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

  • understand the importance and significance of psychology
  • explain what makes psychology a science
  • describe the importance of research in psychology
  • understand basic descriptive statistics
  • understand how inferential statistics might be used
  • understand the key differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches to research
  • describe the importance and significance of ethics in psychology
  • understand the function of each section of a journal paper and an ability to explain how this relates to your own laboratory report
  • understand the importance of laboratory reports in providing an overall understanding of an experiment
  • demonstrate appreciation of the relationship between theory and research
  • provide an explanation of the historical development of theories and research in psychology
  • demonstrate confidence in evaluating and thinking critically about theory and research in psychology.