Social and Cognitive Psychology

Coursework One                                     

2,000 word individual research report (plus 10%).


50% weighting of final grade


This piece of coursework assesses module learning outcomes 1 and 2


Students will be asked to carry out a cognitive study in groups of 4-5 students. However they are expected to hand in a 2,000-word research report (plus 10%) written INDIVIDUALLY.


For this part of the assessment students will design, conduct, analyse and report on an empirical study that addresses a research question relating to one of the topic areas which were discussed in the module.


Students are advised to discuss the feasibility of their study with their seminar leader



Format of Research Report:


The word limit of 2,000 words (plus 10%) includes everything except the title, abstract (maximum 150 words), reference list and appendices.


The report, which needs to be written by each student individually, should be structured using the standard psychology research report format which students have used in their first year research methods, i.e., the report needs to include: title, abstract, introduction [outlining background literature and justification for doing the study], method [to include sufficient detail for someone else to carry out the study, using design, participants, materials and procedure sub-headings; include details of how the group addressed ethical considerations], results [summarising what was found], and discussion [discussing what was found and linking it to the background literature covered in the introduction], references and appendices [Including a full copy of materials SPSS output, briefing, debriefing and any other relevant materials].


As an important aim for doing the study is to consolidate students’ knowledge of cognitive psychology, only relatively brief method and results sections are expected. Accordingly, the introduction and discussion sections are weighted more heavily during marking.


See coursework guidelines on the module pages on course resources for further details.



Topic areas:


The choice of topic area for your study is up to you and your group. The module team will provide you with pointers to possible topic areas and some starter references in their teaching sessions. We will also offer a range of activities to support CW preparation.


Students are expected to do a thorough literature search in their chosen topic area and to use previous research to inform their own study. They need to link their own study to existing studies and theories. Students should start off reading some broad background literature in the chosen area so as to familiarise themselves with it, and then focus their reading on one or two journal articles that present studies that they can build upon.


Research Question and Study Design:


Ideally students should think of a research question that can be addressed by a study replicating and extending a previous study.

You can do a genuine experiment using one or two independent variables (IVs) with two or more levels which you analyse by t-tests, ANOVAs (repeated, independent or mixed measures) or their non-parametric equivalents, or chi square. Quasi-experimental designs (designs testing for the differences in gender, age, or any other demographic as a variable) are not allowed! Instead of an experiment, you can also choose a correlational design.




When thinking of the design of your study (and when conducting your study!), you must ensure that you follow the ethical guidelines as laid out by the British Psychological Society (2011, 2013) Please also see the “Ethics considerations” document in the Coursework Information folder on the Course Resources web pages (Assessment tab).

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