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. The module is divided into two parts; trainees write a research proposal (with support and supervision from the module coordinator and local educational authority (LEA) supervisors) which forms the assessment for RESM 6012. Once the proposal is marked and approved, trainees gain approval for their project from the University of Southampton Ethics and Research Governance Office. 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

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

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:

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.. 


Assessment Strategy

Resit will be by resubmission of the learning log and essay. The research project is designed as an empirical analysis of political behaviour. This may employ either qualitative or quantitative methods, e.g. it may use descriptive/inferential statistics or undertake a case study of a particular event or set of events. Key is that you must make use of empirical data to test theories encountered on the course. You will make use of an existing dataset (e.g. the British Election Study) or with your group create your own data.


MethodPercentage contribution
Report  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Report  (4000 words) 100%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: RESM6009 AND RESM6010 AND RESM6011 AND RESM6012


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

RESM6009Applied Research Methods: Qualitative Methods
RESM6012Applied Research Methods (ARM): Planning & Designing Research
RESM6011Applied Research Methods (ARM): Correlational Methods
RESM6010Applied Research Methods: Statistical Analysis of Comparisons & Group Differences
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