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Skip to content The Open University

Educational aims

To provide:

  • training in research methods for psychology at an advanced level
  • advanced research skills for professional psychologists
  • ESRC recognised research student training.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes describe what you should know and be able to do if you make full use of the opportunities for learning that we provide. For the MSc Psychological Research Methods, these are:

Knowledge and understanding

A range of quantitative research methods:

  • inferential statistics
  • tabular data description
  • tabular analysis with crosstabulation
  • multiple linear regression
  • factor analysis
  • ethical problems and issues related to psychological research
  • project planning and project development
  • a range of qualitative research methods.

Survey design and analysis:

  • the philosophical basis of survey research
  • sampling procedures
  • questionnaire design.

Advanced univariate statistics:

  • the General Linear Model
  • multiple comparison techniques
  • effect sizes and power
  • meta-analysis
  • the generalisation of the GLM to logistic regression and Loglinear Analysis.

Cognitive skills

You will be able to:

  • do literature review
  • develop critical analysis skills
  • develop research proposal
  • work independently on research project
  • do qualitative literature review
  • critically analyse body of published literature
  • write extended dissertation.

Use sophisticated data analysis software to:

  • do tabular data description
  • do tabular analysis with crosstabulation
  • perform Multiple Linear Regression analysis
  • interpret existing data sets.

You will also:

  • design survey questionnaires
  • perform literature searches
  • develop project plans
  • develop project proposals
  • perform sophisticated data analytic procedures based on the General Linear Model and the Generalised Linear Model
  • calculate effect sizes and perform sophisticated meta-analyses
  • analyse collected data.

Practical and/or professional skills

See above under Cognitive skills: all cognitive skills are relevant to practical research for the professional psychologist.

Key skills


  • develop writing skills appropriate to this level of work
  • discuss research project and issues with peers
  • present results.

Learning how to learn

  • developing autonomy as a researcher
  • learning from feedback.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Taught components, exercises, tutor-marked assignments and examination.

Set books teach the theory and principles of quantitative research. Purpose-written study guides take you through this material and direct you to computer-based exercises, which include illustrative teaching points from the analyses undertaken. Assignments allow tutors to give help with the understanding of the concepts. Understanding is also assessed in exams. Professional Ethical Guidelines are also supplied.

A research project leading to a dissertation forms a major assessment component.

After developing project proposals in taught modules, the dissertation module gives you much greater autonomy in the pursuit of a research project. You are encouraged to reflect on your practice with the assistance of peer discussions and tutor feedback.