Doing and Communicating Psychological Research A

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Doing and Communicating Psychological Research A

In addition to learning about specific topics such as social psychology or perception, it is a good idea to develop a more general understanding of how psychology is done and what it may be useful for. Therefore, ten lectures – five in both Psychology 2A and Psychology 2B – are dedicated to a range of topics that cover different approaches to doing science, searching and summarizing psychological research findings, research ethics and science communication.

Lecture 2:
Database search and literature reviews
This lecture is about about how to efficiently use databases to find psychological literature on specific topics. For example, students will learn about accessing most key databases for psychology topics and combining keywords appropriately to efficiently filter findings. Also, they will learn about summarizing literature search findings. This lecture and the Individual Differences lectures will be accompanied by a lab that provides relevant hands-on experience. Aja Murray
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre B
Tuesday, 18 September, 2018 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 3:
Doing psychological research: Observational approaches
We often begin research by observing something unexpected, (thinking) we detect a pattern, or trying to sort things into their natural kinds. The topics of upcoming lectures – differential and abnormal psychology – both owe a lot to researchers' powers of observation. We will trace the origins of one or two personality and psychiatric diseases from observation to classification/measurement. We will begin to look at how researchers seek to explain these observed patterns, dimensions, and qualitative kinds. We’ll see how often we are forced to split what once was thought to be a singular kind into component causes, and how, by contrast, we oftentimes discover continuity where our initial intuitions point to unrelated types. I’ll be asking you questions too: What you think the list of "things" we can observe in psychology should contain and how far toward a complete lists we are. I'll leave you with a couple of questions here: If successful, would quantified observation in psychology yield a psychological "periodic table" of natural building blocks in psychology? Or perhaps as a Linnean classification system of kinds of person? Tim Bates.
Room G.03 at 50 George Square
Thursday, 20 September, 2018 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture: 16
Ethical issues in research and publishing
Ethics Committees (ECs) play a crucial role in the scientific endeavour. Researchers should be aware of ethical matters involved in their own studies and should welcome the advice offered by ECs. ECs should conceive the relationship with researchers as a way to facilitate research and better study protocols. Good ethical principles spring from the collaboration between all parties concerned. In Psychology, there is acute awareness of the need for ethical codes. The American Psychological Association (APA:, the British Psychological Society (BPS:, The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC:, all strongly promote ethics for all types of studies. However, more often than desirable, the requests by ECs are conceived as extra bureaucratic hurdles to go through to carry out research rather than suggestions aimed at promoting and improving research studies. This risks creating a hiatus between researchers and ECs rather than a fertile collaboration. The working ad purposes of ethics in research will be discussed, together with some problems that ECs, as they stand, may pose. Sergio Della Sala (Chair of Psychology Ethics Committee)
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Monday, 29 October, 2018 - 11:10 to 12:00
This lecture is about how results from multiple studies addressing the same research question can be synthesised using meta-analysis and why this is useful. It explains how meta-analysis can be used to obtain a single quantitative estimate of the size of an effect across multiple studies, how it can be used to evaluate what factors might account for differences in results across studies, and how it can be used to evaluate whether research studies are subject to publication bias (i.e. the selective publication of more ‘favourable’ findings). The lecture also highlights some limitations of meta-analysis. Aja Murray
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre B
Tuesday, 30 October, 2018 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 18:
Doing psychological research: Qualitative approaches
Qualitative research is defined as findings arrived at without use of quantitative procedures such as statistics. It aims to reveal the experience of participants, and the meaning of this experience to participants. This lecture will introduce you to the theoretical and practical aspects of qualitative research, and discuss whether qualitative approaches can form a reliable and viable alternative to the widely accepted quantitative paradigm. Anne Templeton
Room G.03 at 50 George Square
Thursday, 1 November, 2018 - 11:10 to 12:00
Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of Psychology 2A, students know about some of the most popular general approaches to carrying out psychological research along with their rationales, strengths and pitfalls, main ethical issues in research and publishing, and some possible ways how the findings of psychological research can be usefully communicated outside academia. Also, students can efficiently identify most relevant literature on particular research topics and summarize the findings, know the basic principles of designing experiments, and they can prepare short presentations for lay audiences. Students will benefit the most if they have taken both Psychology 2A and Psychology 2B, but the content of Psychology 2A does not inevitably require that students also take Psychology 2B.


There is no specific reading to go with these lectures.