Year abroad and Research Methods and Statistics

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Year abroad and Research Methods and Statistics

A key area of BPS accreditation is research methodology. If you choose to take a year abroad, it is important that you still receive adequate training in this area.

The British Psychological Society requires that students studying abroad must demonstrate a level of research methods training sufficient to undertake a research-based Final Year Dissertation (see www.bps.org.uk/internationalaccreditation).

Students who do not take a year abroad take two methodology courses in Year 3 at Edinburgh:
1. Research Methods and Statistics 2 (RMS2): This course covers the linear model (multiple regression with a continuous outcome), ANOVA as a special case of the linear model, generalized linear model (regression with binary and count outcomes – logistic and Poisson respectively), and related modelling issues. This course is taught in R.
2. Research Methods and Statistics 3 (RMS3): This course combines 5 weeks of quantitative and 5 weeks of qualitative methods. The quantitative aspect of the course covers principal components analysis, factor analysis, reliability and validity, and the relation of these methods to scale construction. This course is taught in R. The qualitative aspect of the course provides an introduction to qualitative methods, interviewing, data collection and design, as well as covering discursive psychology and interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Selecting research methods courses abroad: You should select methodology courses at your host University that are similar in content to RMS2 and RMS3. When you are looking at the methodology courses offered there, pay attention to the specific statistical techniques that they will cover. They do not need to be taught in R, but it is important that you receive appropriate training in the statistical methods that are likely to be needed in Year 4 (for example, in your dissertation project). You should also select a course that offers training in qualitative methods. 

If you are unsure whether the courses you found are suitable, please contact the Exchange Coordinator (Nicolas.Chevalier@ed.ac.uk) in the first instance.

Overview for those spending a Year Abroad

1. Before going abroad 
- Find information about the methodology courses on offer at your host University and compare them to RMS2 and RMS3. 
- Then discuss with Dr Nic Chevalier (exchange coordinator) which courses to enrol on. The goal is to enrol on courses that are the most similar in content to the ones we offer in Edinburgh. Please bear in mind that, at this stage, the agreed course list is only tentative. 

2. While abroad 
- You will likely need to modify your course list (some courses will not be offered anymore, others will be full, etc.). You will agree with your exchange coordinators in Edinburgh and abroad on a final course list. This final course list will determine whether or not you need to enrol on RMS2 and/or RMS3 in your year 4 at Edinburgh.

3. After returning to Edinburgh
- If you enrolled on and passed courses equivalent to both RMS2 and RMS3 while abroad, you will NOT need to take RMS2 or RMS3 during your 4th year. 
- If you enrolled on and passed courses equivalent to only one of the RMS courses (e.g., RMS2) while abroad, you will need to take the remaining RMS course in your 4th year (e.g., RMS3). This will NOT add 10 extra credits. Instead, RMS2 or RMS3 credits will replace 10 credits that you would have otherwise spent on the Tutorial course. In all cases, you will only take 120 credits in total in year 4 and Single Honours students will need to sit the General Paper exam (which is a BPS requirement).
- If you did not enroll on any courses equivalent to RMS2-3 (or did not pass) while abroad, you will need to take both RMS2 and RMS3 in your 4th year. This will NOT add 20 extra credits. Instead, RMS2 and RMS3 credits will replace 20 credits that you would have otherwise spent on the Tutorial course and one of the option courses. In all cases, you will only take 120 credits in total in year 4 and Single Honours students will need to sit the General Paper exam (which is a BPS requirement).