Methods in Psychology

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectivePS7064

Semester and Year Offered: Winter (4th Semester)

Course Coordinator and Team: Bibinaz Thokchom

Email of course coordinator: bibinaz[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: Students should have completed Cognitive Psychology and Social Psychology

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

This is an innovative course that introduces students to the issues of research and the methods of data generation through some works in Psychology. Students will read work that has employed diverse methods including laboratory and field experiments, observation, case study, correlational studies and qualitative research. Issues of sample selection, the determination of variables and designs will be discussed through the studies we chose. The course will help to understand the multiple ways of doing psychology, to see the relationship between the questions asked and the methods followed and the impossibility of determining any one method to grasp the entire complexity of humans.

Aim: To familiarise students with various methods of data collection in Psychology discipline.

Course Outcomes:

  • On successful completion of this course students will be able to
  • Locate the role of methodology in the Sciences and Psychology
  • Establish the relationship of method to the paradigms in Psychology
  • Acquaint students with the goals of qualitative and quantitative research
  • Create an interest in reading psychological research
  • Initiate the designing of research


The nature of Psychological research: In this module, students will be familiarised with the nature, paradigms and purpose of psychological research. They will also be taught the epistemological and ethical concerns set by international psychological associations in performing Psychological research and the tedious preparations required to conduct a psychological research.

Quantitative and Qualitative Research: This unit makes the broad distinctions between the qualitative and quantitative frameworks of research in Psychology. The debates around advantages and disadvantages of both framworks will be discussed critically illustrating with examples taken from some classical researches done in the field of social and clinical psychology.

Designs in Quantitative Research: Students will be introduced to the concept of variables, hypothesis, controls, experimental conditions in quantitative research . Quantitative research designs such as Experimental designs i.e independent measures, repeated measures, counterbalancing, match pairs and Correlational Designs i.e. 2*2, factor analysis will be taught.

Collecting data in quantitative research: In this module, popular tools of data collection in quantitative researches such as experiments, surveys, observation and structured interviews will be familiarised. The unit will provide students with a brief introduction to each and their uses in specific researches with examples from texts provided.

Collecting qualitative data: Semi and unstructured interviews, narratives, case study, content analysis as methods of data collection in qualitative research will be introduced and discussed. This unit explores the methods more frequently employed in qualitative Psychology with examples taken from published qualitative researches done in the field of child and clinical psychology.

Writing up the research: Students will be helped to understand how to write reports. The emphasis here will be on styles of writing and the relationship of this to questions of epistemology.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Assessment 1: Take home assignment (30%)
  • Assessment 2: In class mid-semester exam (40%)
  • Assessment 3: Research project proposal writing (30%)

Reading List:

  • Guba E.G. & Lincoln, Y.S. (1994). Competing Paradigms in qualitative research. In N. K Denzin & Y. S Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 105-117). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
  • Nicky Hayes: Doing Psychological Research, Gathering and Analysing Data, Philadelphia, USA, 2000
  • Dana.S.Dunn : The Practical Researcher, A Student Guide To Conducting Psychological Research, Second Edition
  • ( for Experiments: Ch6, Quasi Experiments, Co Relation and Surveys:ch7, How to review literature: Ch 11, Writing research report: Ch 12)
  • Paul G Nestor & Russell K Schutt: Research Methods in Psychology, Investigating Human Behavior, second Edition
  • (for Qualitative Research:ch11 & Ethics in Behavioral Researchch:3)
  • Dennis Howitt: Introduction to Qualitative Methods in Psychology (3rd edition), Loughborough University, Pearson, UK.
  • (Part 2: Qualitative data collection Ch 3, 4 & 5)