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MSc Psychological Research Methods

1 Year 2 Years School Of Psychology Lincoln Campus [L] Validated

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This programme is designed to prepare students for a career which requires a solid understanding of research methods in specific areas of Psychology.

To support this aim, students have the opportunity to develop a firm scientific basis in psychological research methods, not only with the aim of making it possible to understand the state of the art, but also with the aim of making it possible to develop original research ideas, independently work out such ideas, employ rigorous methodological standards, and disseminate results and conclusions at the highest possible level.

What distinguishes this programme is its focus on learning about applied research methods and techniques in different areas of Psychological research, and the opportunity for students to put together their own programme of study by choosing between several module options. Students are asked to write up their Thesis project as a paper (6,000-8,000 words) that can in principle be submitted to a peer reviewed journal at a later date.

Days Taught

Teaching is predominantly delivered on a Monday and Tuesday, although students should expect to attend a minimal number of sessions on other days of the week.

How You Study

The training programme is designed to comprise research skills and methods, scientific, ethical and philosophical underpinnings, and research designs typically used when aiming to understand psychological structures and processes. The Thesis project as well as module option choices provide the opportunity for students to develop a specialist knowledge-base in a particular area of Psychology.

Students are asked to choose six optional modules as part of this programme. A list of these optional modules can be found in the Modules tab.

The composition and delivery for the course breaks down differently for each module and may for example include lectures, seminars, workshops, practicals, independent study research and one-to-one learning. Students are expected to engage in at least 2-3 hours of independent self study for each contact hour.

How You Are Assessed

Assessments vary from research proposals to seminar diaries, research reports, take home exams, essays and presentations.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Interviews & Applicant Days

An interview is part of the admission procedure, to make sure that students' expectations match course expectations.

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 honours psychology degree or equivalent.

Key Contacts

Dr Louise O'Hare
+44(0)1522 83 5720

+44 (0)1522 886644

Master's Level

Advanced Research Internship (Option)

As part of this module students have the opportunity to learn about a specific area of research undertaken by a member of staff. This typically involves learning about a member of staff's research publications, research support structures (e.g., grant applications and/or lab work), data collection and data analysis methods, and research dissemination activities (e.g., conferences submission, peer review submission of work).

Students can only choose this option if an appropriate member of staff has been identified and has agreed to supervise the applied research work. Students are typically involved in literature review work, data collection, data analysis and other work related to the specific research interests of the member of staff. The aim of this optional module is for a student to be immersed and engaged in a specific area of research, and to have the chance to carry out pilot research work in this area.

Advanced Research Methods and Skills

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the basic principles of a range of advanced procedures for the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, typically using appropriate software packages such as SPSS and NVIVO. Familiarity with the use of SPSS is assumed in this module. The module focuses on the use of research methods in an applied context and works towards an understanding of more complex methodologies.

Applied Neuropsychology (Option)

This module is designed to examine the implications of neuropsychological research and theory for practice across a broad spectrum of problems presented by individuals with cognitive disorders. Students can learn how the application of neuropsychological approaches and techniques guide assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a range of neurological and neurodegenerative conditions.

Where appropriate, the cognitive status of real-life patients with brain disorders can be examined. This module may be of particular interest to those students intending to pursue a career in applied areas of psychology, health related occupational professions, or research involving neuropsychological populations.

Basic Programming Skills (Option)

The aim of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop basic programming skills for data analysis and experimentation. Basic programming skills can provide a greater degree of flexibility in data analysis and experimentation than by relying on ready built software. The module typically consists of two blocks: (1) basic programming skills for data analysis, and (2) introduction to programming for experimentation.

Forensic Child Psychology (Option)

This module is designed to consider forensic issues and mental disorders and how they affect children, and the perpetration of offences by children. The focus is on providing the opportunity to develop an understanding of how critical events result in developmental pathways which lead to emotional and psychological problems and possibly of offending behaviour. The module includes developmental trauma and attachment, child protection, effects of victimisation and child/youth offending.

MSc Thesis

The thesis is designed to allow students to explore in more detail their interests in a specific area of research. It allows the opportunity to design, implement, analyse and write-up a substantial piece of empirical work.

Psychopharmocology: Drugs, the brain, and behaviour (Option)

This module will explore the science behind the effects that drugs have on mood, sensation, thinking and behaviour. The history and actions of the main medications currently in use for the treatment of mental health disorders will be described along with an overview of the known actions and effects of some illicit drug compounds. This will include drugs acting on the main neurotransmitter systems of dopamine, serotonin, GABA and norepinephrine. In addition, less researched systems such as the endocannabinoid system and compounds acting in a more complex manner will be described.

The module aims to enable students to understand further the biological mechanisms behind modern pharmaceuticals and drugs of abuse, some of the effects these have on cognitive, emotional and behavioural processes and the methods which are used to conduct psychopharmacological research. Students can develop an awareness of the current methodological, legislative and ethical issues in the field of psychopharmacological research. Important links will be made throughout the module in understanding how the use of these compounds might impact positively and negatively on the capacity of an individual psychologically and socially.

Research Methods and Skills

This module discusses research designs, research ethics, data collection, data preparation and data analysis and dissemination. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods and skills are covered in this module.

Research Methods in Developmental Psychology (Option)

This module aims to give students the opportunity to practice research-based learning by providing the chance to develop practical skills and exploring the nature of research methods in a wide variety of applications. Overall, the module aims to widen students’ understanding and appreciation of the main principles of how research methods are applied.

Research Methods in Perception and Cognition (Option)

The aim of the module is to give students an opportunity to explore the methodology used in perception and cognition research. Students have the chance to develop practical skills in laboratory settings. The module is designed to introduce psychophysical methods and computational methods, emphasising the use of theory, e.g. signal processing theory, and ways of testing these theories.

Consideration is given to individual differences, and clinical populations in perceptual research. Overall, the module aims to widen students’ understanding and appreciation of the main principles of how research methods are applied in basic science.

Seminar Diaries in Psychological Science (Option)

Students are expected to attend a series of external and internal research seminars within the School of Psychology with the aim of attending a total of 15 seminars across the academic year. Assessment is via seminar diaries submitted twice during the course of the year.


The School of Psychology's research facilities include a sleep lab, a baby lab, a motor lab, an imagination and decision lab, an eye tracking lab, an EEG lab, and a TMS lab, as well as many other general purpose lab facilities. A dedicated team of technicians are available to support research related activities.

Career and Personal Development

This masters programme is designed for students who are looking for the opportunity to develop a solid research skills base in their work or further study.

Other Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on your course. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and your meals may be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional you will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay your own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

Tuition Fees

  2017/18 Entry*
Home/EU £7,300
(including Alumni Scholarship 30% reduction)
(including Non-Alumni Scholarship 20% reduction)
International £13,800
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)
 Part-time Home/EU £41 per credit point
 Part-time International £77 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


A new system of postgraduate loans for Master's courses will be introduced in the UK, beginning from the 2016-17 academic year. Find out if you are eligible.


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.