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Your Undergraduate Psychology Project. A Student Guide. 2nd Edition

  • ID: 2243099
  • Book
  • April 2013
  • Region: Global
  • 176 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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  This book provides an accessible and informative introduction which will be invaluable to undergraduate students carrying out their final year projects.  From finding a research topic, to planning, right the way through to writing up, the book offers practical advice on how to avoid common pitfalls and how to produce a project that not only succeeds in terms of good marks, but also facilitates the student in carrying out a worthwhile and original piece of research. Dr Julie Hulme, Discipline Lead for Psychology, The Higher Education Academy, UK

Getting started on your final year psychology research project?

Not sure where to look for extra help?

Terrified at the prospect?

Your Undergraduate Psychology Project: A Student Guide has been designed with the needs of the student in mind. Packed with hints and tips, and written in a simple, informal style, this second supervisor is designed to ease you further into the world of research.

The second edition has been completely revised and updated with new material on focus groups and ethics, and includes a new section entitled How to Lose Marks Instantly .

A host of special features allow you the best possible chance of success:

  • Structured chronologically around planning a project, carrying it out, and then writing it up
  • Gives practical advice on how to deal with day–to–day problems, such as software failures or uncommunicative interviewees
  • Written in consultation with a number of experienced academics and students of psychology
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Preface xi

Acknowledgements xiii

1. Planning Research 1

Choosing a Research Topic 1

The textbook method 2

The television method 3

The pub chat or coffee bar method 4

The internet method 5

The lecturer method 5

Think again! 5

Self–interest 6

Replication versus Novelty 7

Pure versus Applied Research 8

Researching the Project: Finding Literature 9

Using internet search engines 10

Snowballing and searching via citations 10

Using electronic databases 12

Boolean operators 12

Narrowing searches 13

How many references? 15

Statistics on the internet 16

Choosing a Method 16

Single–case designs 17

Case studies 17

Choosing qualitative methods 18

Differences or relationships? 21

Primary or secondary data? 22

Observational methods 23

Protocol analysis 24

Multiple methods 25

Control Groups 25

Matching Methods to Analysis 26

Power Analysis 27

To Pilot or Not to Pilot 28

Developing Materials 29

Experimental stimuli 29

Questionnaires 31

Looking professional 35

Interviews 36

Cross–cultural studies and translation of materials 39

Borrowing Materials 40

The Internet as a Research Tool 40

Managing Time: Keeping on Track 42

Start early 42

Match the project to the time available 42

Overplanning 43

Plan B 43

Response rates 45

Your supervisor s time 46

Project milestones 46

Tips on managing time 47

Writing a Proposal 51

Research Ethics 52

Informed consent 53

Undue pressure 55

Deception 55

Protection of participants from harm and acceptable risk 55

Incentives 56

Withdrawal 56

Confidentiality 56

Debriefing 57

Personal safety 57

Obtaining Ethical Clearance 58

Getting Started 59

2. Doing Research: Collecting Data 61

Student Supervisor Relations 62

Pilot Studies 65

Dealing with People 66

Being an ambassador 67

Working with participants 70

When participants don t understand or make mistakes 75

Conducting Interviews: The Practicalities 76

Focus Groups 77

Observational Studies 78

Relying on Equipment 81

Making Back–ups 81

Adjusting Your Project Milestones 82

Taking Part Yourself 82

Revisiting Data 83

Transcribing Interviews 84

The Paper Trail 85

Knowing When to Stop 86

Data Preparation 86

Conducting Statistical Analyses 87

3. Writing Up Research 91

An Overview 92

Notes on Style 93

A Note on Plagiarism 94

Section by Section 96

Title 96

Abstract 99

Introduction 100

Method 103

Replicability 112

Results 113

Discussion 120

Generalising your findings 123

References 124

Appendices 128

Qualitative Reports 129

The first person 129

Introduction 130

Methods 130

Results/Analysis/Discussion 131

First, Second and Third Drafts 132

Common Mistakes 133

Affect and effect 134

Data 134

Experiment and study 134

Joining words together 134

Incorrect apostrophes 135

Incorrect sentences 136

Latin phrases and other borrowings 137

Non–significant 137

Number and amount 137

Prefixes 138

Presenting numbers 139

Proof 139

Reporting probabilities 140

Separating words 140

Significant diff erences 141

Spelling IV and DV 141

When It s All Over 143

4. How To Lose Marks Instantly 145

List of Things NOT to do! 145

Go it alone and ignore your supervisor s advice 145

Be precious about your work 146

Ignore the required format 146

Conduct research with no point to it 146

Bite off more than you can chew 147

Ignore relevant literature, or fail to look hard enough for it 147

Run out of time 147

Use the wrong reference format 148

Argue yourself out of a perfectly good result 148

Plagiarise 149

Conduct the wrong analysis 149

Collect data without ethical approval 149

Set out the entire project with a massive design flaw in it 150

The Moral of the Tale 150

References 151

Further Reading 153

Index 155

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Mark Forshaw is Director of Endpoint Development and Outcomes Assessment at Adelphi Values, UK, having previously been a Principal Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Centre for Health Psychology at Staffordshire University. He is Chair of the BPS Membership Standards Board, and a Trustee of the BPS, and the winner of the BPS Division of Health Psychology Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Health Psychology 2011. He is the author of many books, including Critical Thinking for Psychology: A Student Guide (Wiley, 2012).

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