MSc / MRes

Psychological Research Methods

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  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time (day)
  • Location: City site
  • Starting: September 2017
  • Course duration: 1 / 2 year(s)

Our Psychological Research Methods Masters degree provides extensive training if you are looking to develop a broad range of transferable skills relevant to independent research and beyond. The course has been designed specifically to prepare graduates in Psychology or related disciplines for:

  • a PhD degree
  • research related careers in academic or applied psychological disciplines
  • careers in which data handling and analytical skills are of relevance.

You might also complete the course as a means of improving your research skills in preparation for further training as a professional psychologist (often as a clinical or educational psychologist).

Both awards are equivalent, although the MSc has a larger taught component whilst the MRes places greater emphasis on the conduct of independent research. You may wish to apply to the MSc in Psychological Research Methods in the first instance and then you can make a choice of award later, in conjunction with the Course Leader and teaching team.

What you'll study

Choosing your route

The MSc emphasises a taught focus across a range of methods and will be suitable for students keen to develop a broad profile of independent research skills.

The MRes places a greater emphasis on independent study and is suitable for students who are already engaged in psychological research and wish to focus on a particular area.

The innovative course structure means you don't need to decide which award you want to focus on until the end of Term One.

  • Term One

    In Term One, all full-time MSc and MRes students complete the same core modules, which cover:

    • Advanced Experimentation and Statistics (One)
      This module examines the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of statistics used in experimental research (e.g., statistical inference, power and effect size). The framework for the module is a regression / GLM approach to statistics that focuses on the relationship between multiple linear regression, ANOVA and ANCOVA. The module also covers the application of these concepts in widely available computer software such as SPSS and the relationship between different experimental designs (e.g., factorial designs, multi-stage sampling, RCTs, cross-sectional designs, longitudinal designs or single-case studies) and statistical issues such as power and generalizability. Practical issues such as dealing with violations of statistical assumptions or missing data are also considered.
    • Psychometrics (One): Developing Psychometric Scales Development in Research and Practice
      This module will provide you with a basic knowledge of psychometric theory and how this theory can be applied to the different stages of test development. More specifically, the module aims to demonstrate the process of test development through practical application of theory, whereby you will work to produce your own psychometric scale.
    • Qualitative Research Design and Analysis (One)
      Qualitative research is concerned with the subjective world and aims to investigate human experience in order to understand peoples’ opinions, motivations and feelings. As you find out on your exploration of this fascinating topic, qualitative research is not just one method but a constellation of designs and methods, each offering a unique perspective on a chosen research topic.
    • Research and Professional Skills (One)
      This module will introduce you to a range of key research and research dissemination skills necessary for the pursuit of an academic or professional career in psychology (or related disciplines). The main aim of the module will be to ensure that you are capable of planning, carrying out and seeking funding for ethically sound, independent research projects in a psychological setting, and that you are able to present the results of that research in a variety of media for both professional and non-professional audiences. The module will also focus on the development of skills to enhance employability and ensure you are equipped to best present yourself to prospective employers both within and outside of psychology.
    • Observational Methods
      This module will provide you with a knowledge of, and practical skills in, observational methods. You will work with other students on a collective observational analysis of video-taped material to build up your skills so that you will graduate from the module competent to use structured observational methods in your own research studies.
  • Term Two

    In Term Two, students pursuing the MSc award will complete five more taught modules. MRes students complete just two modules of their choice, allowing them to concentrate exclusively on quantitative / psychometric methods or qualitative methods. You also complete a larger empirical research project (worth 100 credits) under the supervision of a research active member of staff.

    • Advanced Experimentation and Statistics (Two)
      Advanced Experimentation and Statistics Two uses the regression framework adopted in Advanced Experimentation and Statistics One and introduces additional advanced statistical topics such as logistic regression, Poisson regression, meta-analysis and multilevel modelling. The module builds on practical topics introduced in Advanced Experimentation and Statistics (One) such as dealing with violations of assumptions and the limitations of standard research designs for real world data (e.g., handling unbalanced or missing data in repeated measures analyses). The module also introduces you to specialist statistical software such as R or MLwiN.
    • Psychometrics (Two): Developing Psychometric Scales Development in Research and Practice
      This module builds on understandings developed in the earlier psychometrics module that you will have taken but considers how scales are actually used in research and practice. It also considers other forms of psychometrics beyond just surveys and questionnaires and you will tackle a range of problem based scenarios drawn from real world situations.
    • Research and Professional Skills (Two)
      This module will introduce you to a range of key research and research dissemination skills necessary for the pursuit of an academic or professional career in psychology. The main aim of the module will be to ensure that you are capable of planning, carrying out, and seeking funding for ethically sound, independent research projects in a psychological setting, and that you are able to present the results of that research in a variety of media for both professional and non-professional audiences. The module will also focus on the development of skills to enhance employability and ensure you are equipped to best present yourself to prospective employers both within and outside of psychology.
    • Qualitative Research Design and Analysis (Two)
      This module will provide you with both the theoretical underpinnings and analytic practice of conversation analysis (CA) and discursive psychology (DP). The module includes lectures on theory / method combined with seminars where we look at data and perform analysis.
    • Testing Psychological Theories using SEM
      The aims of this module are to introduce you to the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of structural equation modelling (SEM); and to equip you with the skills, and understanding, to appropriately construct, analyse and interpret theoretical path analytic models using a range of analytic software. You will also be equipped with the skills to use other advanced multivariate techniques, like latent class analysis and multinomial logistic regression. Software programmes suitable for this analysis (eg MPlus) will also be used.

    You will also complete an extended essay on a methodological topic of your choice and an empirical research project (worth 60 credits), both under the supervision of a research active member of staff

    • Specialist Psychological Research Methods Essay (MSc only)
      This module provides you with the opportunity to comprehensively explore the application of a psychological research method or set of related methods within different occupational, cultural or social settings. You will be supervised through the small group tutorial programme and will have opportunities to discuss your progress with tutors and peers. Module content will vary but you will need to select a topic which focuses on critical examination of the application of psychological research methods within different settings. These settings will be determined by your own specific interests but may relate to careers within and outside of psychology, or different cultures, countries or social settings. The term research method will be interpreted broadly to include the use of specialist equipment (e.g., event-related potentials) or a technique (e.g., meta-analysis; conversion analysis).
    • Psychology Research Project
      Your project is an independent piece of work that is supervised by a member of staff who will guide and support you as you work towards producing a final report for assessment. This will be the main opportunity for you to carry out an extensive piece of independent research of your own choosing and for you to demonstrate that you have the skills to devise, conduct, analyse, present and report an empirical study to postgraduate level.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

How you’re taught

A mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops are used throughout the course to develop your knowledge and understanding, whilst small group tutorials are provided in order to support your development of both subject knowledge and a range of transferable skills.

You will be assessed in a variety of ways and on a modular basis through:

  • examination
  • coursework
  • essays
  • laboratory reports
  • oral presentations
  • research project.

The course adopts a pragmatic approach to research, arguing that all research methods and approaches, whether quantitative, psychometric, qualitative, or mixed, should be attuned to the subject-matter and the nature of the research hypothesis or question to be answered. Offering a balanced appreciation of all methodological approaches, their relative strengths and weaknesses, the course will leave you equipped to conduct research in any area of psychology.

A supportive and active research environment

Throughout the course you will benefit from research-informed teaching and you may be interested in finding out more about our wide range of psychology research groups exploring areas such as cognition and perception; wellbeing; language and psycholinguistics; addiction and aberrant behaviours; development; interaction and social relations.

Psychology at NTU has an established international research reputation and is one of the top risers in the REF 2014 research rankings. The 2014 Assessment also showed:

  • 60% of our research outputs were considered to be internationally excellent or world leading in REF 2014
  • 100% of our research impact is internationally excellent with 73% described as world leading
  • Our research impact and output is the highest of any UK psychology department with an equivalent research environment.

Find out more about our 2014 Research Excellence Framework results.

Careers and employability

On graduation, you will possess the methodological and practical knowledge required to realise your potential as an independent researcher in various fields of Psychology or in closely related disciplines.

Many of our graduates have gone on to pursue an academic and / or research career in various areas of psychology (by working as a research assistant or associate, for example, or by studying for a PhD). You may choose to use your research methods qualification as a stepping stone to undertaking further training as a professional psychologist (for example, in forensic, clinical, and educational psychology) or to secure careers in data handling and analysis outside psychology (for example, in industry or the civil service).

The skills gained are transferable across a wide range of careers.Your qualification is likely to be popular with many employers because you will have demonstrated an ability to write essays and reports, to master advanced methods of data analysis and to talk and present in front of other people.

Previous graduates have gone on to pursue careers as a:

  • PhD candidate
  • research officer
  • data research assistant
  • trust administrator and bid writer
  • graduate policy and strategy assistant.

*Data extracted from the Nottingham Trent University Graduate Destinations Database 2009-10 to 2013-14.

Careers and job application advice is available to all our postgraduate students and is provided by a subject specialist within the Department, supported by the University-wide careers service. We're very proud of the achievements of our many graduates and look forward to helping you achieve a successful career in psychology.

You will have access to one-to-one careers support from our postgraduate Psychology careers officer.

Specialist psychology suites include social interaction, group work and interviewing; computer gaming and cyberpsychology; and cognitive modelling.

Entry requirements

  • You will need an undergraduate degree (minimum 2.1) in Psychology or a closely related discipline; or other recognised equivalent qualification.
  • Applicants without such qualifications will be considered on an individual basis but will be required to demonstrate how their experiences and knowledge would enable them to study this course at Masters-level in their Personal Statement.
  • Good performance in research methods and statistics classes and / or in the conduct and presentation of a research project are likely to act as a mitigating factor where a 2.1 has not been achieved at undergraduate level.

Your application form requires a written statement in which you should outline reasons for wishing to undertake the MSc / MRes Psychological Research Methods course. We will be looking to ensure that you have a sound rationale for joining the course based on a realistic appreciation of the discipline and profession of psychology.

If you are unsure of your status and / or would like an informal discussion with the course leader, please contact us.

  • You will need an undergraduate degree (minimum 2.1) in Psychology or a closely related discipline; or other recognised equivalent qualification.
  • Applicants without such qualifications will be considered on an individual basis but will be required to demonstrate how their experiences and knowledge would enable them to study this course at Masters-level in their Personal Statement.
  • Good performance in research methods and statistics classes and / or in the conduct and presentation of a research project are likely to act as a mitigating factor where a 2.1 has not been achieved at undergraduate level.

Your application form requires a written statement in which you should outline reasons for wishing to undertake the MSc / MRes Psychological Research Methods course. We will be looking to ensure that you have a sound rationale for joining the course based on a realistic appreciation of the discipline and profession of psychology.

If you are unsure of your status and / or would like an informal discussion with the course leader, please contact us.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our postgraduate degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Pre-masters and foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation or pre-masters course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation and pre-masters courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.

If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our international team for advice.

International students in psychology can also access additional language and study skills support, as well as help in acclimatising, via our own International Student Support Officer.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page to complete your application. You can apply for this course throughout the year. Most of our postgraduate courses are popular and fill up quickly though, so apply as soon as you can.

The course starts in September 2017 so in order to receive enrolment materials in good time we advise that applications are submitted before the end of July 2017. Please allow additional processing time for international applications from countries that require a visa.

Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application
Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date
After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder. You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates’ guide. Here you’ll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more.

Good luck with your application!

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) formally known as a Criminal Record Bureau check

Many students choose to collect research data in the UK as part of their projects. You may be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check depending on your project topic.

Start dates
This course starts in late September. A dedicated induction day is provided for all students which introduces you to your course, to your teaching teams and to the university facilities. The day ends with an informal social event.

The course is completed in one year of full-time study (your final piece of coursework is submitted in late August) or two years part-time. The teaching terms run from late September to Christmas and then from January to Easter. Part-time students attend for two of the three days only.

Open days
The School of Social Sciences holds open events throughout the year. Come along and learn more about our courses, speak to programme leaders and find out about studying with the School. To find out more about these events visit the School of Social Sciences website.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Apply directly to the University online using the NTU online application portal.

Apply for your course as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

Keeping up to date
After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) formally known as a Criminal Record Bureau check

Many students from overseas choose to collect research data in the UK as part of their projects. DBS checks only cover students from the UK, so unless you have been resident in the UK for five years or more, we will need a criminal record check from your home country if you plan to work with vulnerable populations. Checks from overseas can sometimes be referred to by a variety of names such as a Police Check or a Good Behaviour Record. To find out what it is called in your home country and how to apply for one, please visit the government website.

If you are an overseas student and are planning to collect data for your research project from vulnerable populations in your home country, you are advised to apply for a home police check to support your research. You will need to demonstrate in your ethics form that you have met all the requirements of your home country to work with vulnerable populations.

If you are unable to obtain a home Police Check and still wish to work with vulnerable populations in your home country, discuss this with your Course Leader in the first instance. It will need to be made clear in your written correspondence with any participants / organisations that the University has been unable to engage with any disclosure and barring service checks prior to you undertaking your research.

Once you have obtained your police check, a copy of the documentation (in English) should be passed to the relevant course administrator in the School of Social Sciences Office.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding page will answer your questions.

You may be able to get a competitive scholarship to help fund your studies, We award scholarships to those students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our postgraduate funding page for information about postgraduate funding opportunities.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Please visit our postgraduate fees page for further information on course fees.

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study on eligible courses at the University.

For more information on these and other opportunities for funding please visit our international scholarships page.

For information on how to pay your fees to the University please visit our international fee payment page.

Prestigious postgraduate scholarships are available. Find out more on our postgraduate scholarships webpage.

Still need help?

School of Social Sciences Enquiries
+44 (0)115 848 4460