Trainees will identify a core research topic that will form the basis of their research thesis. The thesis will need to include a review relevant theoretical, empirical and professional practice literatures and trainees will be required to generate clearly defined research questions and select appropriate research methods for data collection and analysis. Trainees will engage with the implications of their proposed research for educational psychology science and practice, and associated ethical implications. Trainees will gain experience of managing a research project and research budget.
Towards the end of year 1 trainees will be supported by the Research Director to identify a team of supervisors (one of whom must be a member of Academic Staff in the School Psychology) who will provide research supervision and guidance throughout the thesis. Trainees work with their supervisory team to develop a research proposal that provides a clear rationale for the project, identifies testable research questions and hypotheses (if appropriate) or clear research questions and aims, and specifies the participants, methods of data collection and analysis as well as data storage via a Data Management Plan. The research proposal is submitted in December of Yr 2 for approval by supervisors and with oversight of the module coordinator. Following approval, trainees conduct a risk assessment and submit the final project plans for approval by the University of Southampton Ethics and Research Governance Office (ERGO) (trainees are responsible for also checking whether any external ethics committees and/or R&D departments where appropriate). Data collection and analysis is completed throughout years 2 and 3.
The written thesis takes the form of a two paper thesis – a systematic review and an empirical study written in publishable form, with a substantiative introduction that demonstrates understanding of the broader field in which the research is situated. The thesis is submitted towards the end of Sem 2 Yr 3. Trainees present their thesis findings at the annual Postgraduate Research Conference (June, Yr 3), and for viva in the summer of Yr 3. Trainees subsequently amend their thesis in accordance with the examiner reports and archive the ratified thesis with the Graduate School and on efolio. Where appropraite, trainees are asked to prepare their research for submission to a suitable peer-reviewed journal prior to completing the Programme.