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The University of Southampton

PSYC8042 Small Scale Research Projects (SSRP)

Module Overview

This unit aims to offer students the opportunity to conduct a practically relevant, real-world small scale research project. Through small group supervision meetings trainees design a research project, and gain approval for their project from the University of Southampton Ethics and Research Governance Office and any Local Authority ethics committee as required. Following ethical approval, trainees then gain valuable experience conducting research, collecting and analysing data, and writing up the findings in an academic style at doctoral level. Trainees are encouraged to develop a research question and implement a project that generates new knowledge in a specific area in the field of educational psychology and serves to extend the discipline. Publication in academic or practice journals is encouraged and well supported by research staff (See PSYC8039 Dissemination and User Engagement Module).

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To build on first year research units and provide an opportunity to develop, design and conduct a research project in an educational psychology setting. The objectives are to develop your ability to design and conduct research in the field setting; this includes embedding your project within a relevant theoretical and empirical framework, critically appraising published studies, and using this literature to develop and support a research question. You will enhance your practical skills in applying research techniques, and your academic writing and thinking skills in the write up of the report, and your communication and professional practice skills in your work with professionals and academics.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Ability to work increasingly independently to: (1) identify relevant research questions and generate testable hypotheses (for quantitative methods); (2) support research questions with a relevant empirical literature and embed hypotheses in a clear theoretical framework; (3) think through and implement appropriate methods of data collection to achieve specific research objectives; (4) analyse data using appropriate statistical techniques including use of appropriate methods of data presentation (graphs, tables); (5) write up a research project to disseminate the results to specialised and non-specialised audiences and (6) demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of the project for educational psychology in practice.


This module consists of a small number of group and individual supervisory and problem solving meetings that aim to support students at all stages in the development of their SSRP. Initial meetings focus on the identification of a research question that is theoretically and empirically justifiable and that is sufficiently specific to allow the generation of one or more testable hypotheses. As the project develops trainees are expected to take initiative and responsibility in moving the project forwards (to identify participants and appropriate measures, to think through the project at a procedural level, to generate data and analyse it appropriately and to understand the educational implications of the project).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This is a 35 CATS (17.5 ECTS) module, which translates into a total study time of 350 hours. These 350 hours are split into 10 teaching/supervision hours and 340 hours of independent study. The 10 teaching hours will consist of two taught sessions, each lasting two hours and the remaining 6 hours will consist of group/individual research supervision. Sessions are organised to introduce the module, problem solve, and deal with specifics of writing up empirical research. You will be spending the majority of your time for this module on independent study, reading and interpreting empirical and theoretical research, developing your research question and hypotheses, choosing and implementing appropriate methods, analysing and interpreting your data, and writing this work up in an academic style. You will have support from the SSRP module coordinator for all aspects of this course. Individual supervision sessions are by appointment. The module assumes basic prior knowledge of research methods equivalent to that provided during the masters year of your doctorate.

Guided independent study350
Total study time350

Resources & Reading list

A variety of resources will be available on Blackboard. These will include any lecture slides and related materials, reading lists, key papers, and links to useful websites.. 

Software requirements. You will require access to statistical packages (e.g., SPSS or NVivo) which are available on the University’s computer workstations and can be downloaded to your own computer for use during your studies. This is available through iSolutions:

Denscombe, M. (2014). The Good research Guide: For Small Scale Social Research Projects. 


Assessment Strategy

Trainees work in small groups with a Local authority Partner and the module lead to think through the research design, methods, apply for ethics, collect data and conduct analysis. The assessment requires trainees to write a 4000 word project of which the method and results sections are collaborative group work. The introduction, and discussion section should be written independently.


MethodPercentage contribution
Report  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Report  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: RESM6012 and RESM6009 and RESM6011 and RESM6010

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