Welcome to Psychology as a Science!

  • Outline of research methods modules in the next 2 years
  • Overview of the PAAS
    • Format and assessments
    • Summary of topics covered
  • Why research methods, statistics, programming?

Research methods modules

  • 4 core modules over 2 years

  • Psychology as a Science (this module)

  • Analysing Data; spring term of year 1

  • Discovering Statistics; autumn term of year 2

  • Quantitative and qualitative methods (QQM); spring term of year 2

  • Each module builds on the previous one!

Psychology as a Science (PAAS)

  • Introduction to philosophy of science
  • Research methodology
  • Basic concepts in statistics
  • Programming using the R language, data processing and visualisation

Analysing Data

  • More advanced topics in R programming and statistics
  • Introduces core statistical tests for data analysis in psychology
  • First independent data analysis

Discovering Statistics

  • More advanced statistical tests
  • Focus on more complex analytical problems
  • All data analysis and write-up in R

Quantitative and qualitative methods (QQM)

  • Advanced (multivariate) statistical techniques
  • Non-statistical, qualitative approaches to research, such as interviews


These four modules will equip you with the tools you need to be a competent researcher and data analyst. They are, however, not just precursors to your dissertation.

What we are offering you is a set of skills that you will find useful regardless of whether you not go on to be a researcher.

Skills like

  • how to find out about the world
  • how to critically examine information
  • how computers work and to talk to them.

Module structure, content, and assessment


Convenors and lecturers

Doctoral tutors

  • Ms Rhiannon Armitage
  • Ms Danielle Evans
  • Ms Jemma Forman
  • Ms Carina Hörst
  • Ms Brontë McDonald
  • Mr Ian Pennock
  • Ms Martina Sládeková
  • Ms Jenny Terry
  • Mr Nick Waugh

Module format

  • Lectures
    • One hour each week
    • Philosophy of science, scientific methodology, basic statistics
  • Weekly Quizzes
    • Open for a week (Canvas)
    • Only the best 8 of your quiz marks count toward the module grade
    • If you don’t take a quiz, you receive 0 marks for it
  • Tutorials
    • About an hour per week
    • Concepts behind computer programming and data analysis in R
  • Practicals
    • One hour each week
    • Hands-on experience with RStudio

Topics covered on PAAS

Find a complete list of all topics for each week on Canvas


  • Philosophy of science
  • Research methodology in Psychology
  • Hypotheses, data, variables
  • Using statistics to find out about the world
  • Basic statistics
  • Data visualisation

Tutorials and practicals

  • Computers: how they work and how to talk to them
  • The R and RStudio software
  • Writing documents in RStudio
  • Basics of R programming
  • Data processing
  • Pretty data visualisation in R


Assessment Length Weight Due
Weekly Quizzes Best 8 of 10 20% Every week
Research ethics exam ~30 minutes 5% Week 8
Lab Report 2,000 words 20% Check Sussex Direct
Research Participation 4 hours 5% Week 11
Unseen Exam 50 MCQs 50% A1 Exams


  • Every week, you will have a marked quiz at the start of the practical
    • 7 questions (MCQ, fill in the blank, simple calculations, etc.)
    • 9 minutes to complete
    • 10 quizzes total, in every week except this week
      • Practice quiz this week!
  • Your final quiz mark is the average of your quiz scores minus 2 lowest scores
    • Lowest two marks dropped automatically

Research ethics exam

  • Short exam in week 8 (about 30 minutes)
  • Based on a special guest lecture by Dr Bryan Singer in Week 6

Lab Report

  • Short report consisting of a research proposal and a short discussion section
  • Around 1,000 words (hard limit 2,000 words)
  • Check Sussex Direct for deadline
  • See Lab Report Information and Resources on Canvas for more details

Professional Log


  • January 2021
  • 50 multiple-choice questions
  • Only covers topics presented in Lectures, tutorials, and practicals
  • More details will be made available later in the term

Your responsibility

  • Take this module seriously; engage with the coursework
  • Attend lectures
  • Come to the practicals on time and prepared
    • Complete the week’s tutorial ahead of your practical session
    • Once in the practical, engage with the tasks and work with your colleagues
    • log into Zoom meetings with a few minutes to spare
  • Take the weekly quizzes
  • Seek help if you find yourself struggling
  • Try to figure things out for yourself
    • The module materials contain all the information you need to get a very high mark
  • Read your Sussex email! (especially messages from us)

Tips for Success

  • Take notes (preferably by hand)
  • Revise after lectures (the sooner, the better)
  • Re-watch lecture recordings (you can pause, go back, or skip ahead as you please)
  • Prepare for practicals by completing the week’s tutorial
  • Take the weekly quizzes on Canvas
  • Study continuously throughout the term
  • Ask for help if you need it!
  • Use the discussion board
  • Asking questions is great!
  • Don’t try to wing the module or just scrape by
    • It’s a demanding module but, if you put in the hours and effort, you can do it
    • The knowledge and skills from PAAS are essential for the other research methods 3 modules
  • Talk to us if you need to

This week’s tasks

  • Go on Canvas and make sure you explore it and find out where to find what information
  • Complete the first tutorial
  • Install OneDrive, connect it to your sussex account, and sync it with your computer
  • Install R and RStudio
  • Instructions are available in the tutorial.


We are here for you and we believe in you!