The Psychological Research Methods (PRM) course provides broad training in the fundamentals of psychological science - the modern approach to studying mind and behaviour. PRM combines training in psychological theory with practical skills development, preparing our students for a future career in psychology. Individual modules provide a thorough introduction to quantitative and qualitative research, the analysis and interpretation of data, and a critical skeptical approach to psychological science.
Opportunities for practical hands-on skills development are built in, ranging from low-tech observational assessment to high-tech eye-tracking, and including training on giving oral presentations. A self-reflective approach to personal development is encouraged, and students on this course are an integral part of Stirling Psychology's research community, housed within a dedicated MSc office. The course will appeal to students wishing to develop a career in psychological research, either working towards a PhD in Psychology, or working in the wider public, private or third sector.
Course objectivesThe primary aim of the course is to provide advanced training as a preparation for a research career in Psychology. The course develops the theoretical understanding and practical and interpersonal skills required for carrying out research. Postgraduates are an integral part of our research community. Students are based in a dedicated MSc office, or within an appropriate research group, and allocated a peer mentor. Students have an academic supervisor in Psychology who supports and guides their development - including the research dissertation project. Our aim is to encourage students to make the complex transition to become a fully independent research scientist.
The course consists of different modules designed to provide training in the fundamentals of Psychological Research Methods. We aim to be flexible in meeting personal training needs and students may select some alternative modules from other taught MSc courses at the discretion of the Course Coordinator.
This course includes the following modules:
* Psychological Research Methods I and II: These modules cover a wide range of techniques used in research and demonstrate these techniques in relation to topics in a range of areas, including social, cognitive, comparative and developmental work
* Research Methods in Cognition and Neuropsychology: A series of seminars and practical classes covering the range of methods that are used to study issues in cognition, including the use of eye-tracking, neuropsychological case studies of brain-injured patients and the application of neuroimaging methods.
* Advanced Statistics: The teaching is aimed at introducing the packages available to psychologists, at advanced methods such as multivariate statistics and at the rationale of using statistical methods
* Qualitative Research Methods: This module provides a broad but solid grounding in qualitative research methodology
* Key Skills for Psychology Researchers:This module focuses on the research process, including ethical conduct and disseminating research to both academic peers and non-specialist audiences.
* Research Placement: This month-long placement is carried out in January/February, allowing students to broaden their practical research experience. The placement may be external to the department and can be in a non-academic research environment.
The different modules emphasise different types of skills, from explicit hands-on demonstrations of tools, to discussion of different approaches to research. All our postgraduates are also expected to attend regular research seminars and relevant research group meetings.
Students are also encouraged to attend Scottish Postgraduates in Psychology Research Training events in participating universities across Scotland.
Finally, for those who go onto the MSc:
* Research dissertation: Approximately half of your time is devoted to a research project, leading to a 12,000-word dissertation.
There are typically five £1,000 bursaries to contribute towards fees or maintenance costs for students beginning a taught MSc course. All students, including international students, formally accepted onto the MSc course are eligible to apply for these awards. Awards will be decided on both previous experience and academic record but preference will be given to applicants intending to stay at Stirling to pursue a PhD following the MSc course.
Information on other possible sources of funding
RAE rating70 percent of research in Psychology at Stirling was recognised as being of a quality that is internationally recognised in terms of originality, significance and rigour in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).