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Psychology Ma, Research methods and Etics, 7.5 Credits

General data

Code: PS036A
Subject/Main field: Psykologi
Cycle: Second cycle
Credits: 7.5
Progressive specialization: A1N - Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Answerable department: Psychology and Social Work
Answerable faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Established: 3/12/2014
Date of change: 3/18/2014
Version valid from: 8/15/2014


The aim of the course is to give a general basis for the choice and use of
appropriate research methods to answer specific research questions. Furthermore
to provide an orientation on contemporary research ethics perspectives applicable
to psychological research.

Course objectives

After the course the student is expected to be able to:

Knowledge and understanding (Kunskap och förståelse)
• To show understanding of the main characteristics and the logical basis of the
different types of methods used in research in Psychology.
• To show insight into the conventions, agreements, principles laws and
regulations regarding research ethics, in the scientific society and applied to
Swedish circumstances.

Competence and skills (Färdighet och förmåga)
• To show ability to choose appropriate research methods to answer specific
research problems and to design a scientific study departing from a chosen
empirical question.
• To be able to apply the conventions, agreements, principles laws and regulations
regarding research ethics to contemporary research problems

Judgement and approach (Värderingsförmåga och förhållningssätt)
• To show ability to criticize empirical studies from the methodological point of
view and to suggest improvements to research designs.
• To be able to pinpoint ethical dilemmas in own and other research, and to
suggest solutions in such situations


The course will give the opportunity to discuss advantages and problems with the
different types of methods used in psychological research, and the importance of
correct methodological choices to address the objectives of different studies. The
focus will be on the training of competencies that will allow the student to apply in
his/her own research project the knowledge acquired. Ethical principles for
research, from both a national and an international perspective, are covered, as
well as Swedish laws and regulations in the area. Ethical dilemmas are discussed
and evaluated.

In order to achieve that, the main topics are:
• Review of the general research methods used in Psychology, including the
possible integration of qualitative and quantitative methods.
• Experimental and quasi-experimental designs, focusing on validity problems
and the limitations of causal inferences.
• Critical analysis of research and ability to suggest improvements.
• Critical analysis of the relationship between the methods and the inferences
• Ethical principles applied to research from an international and national
• Laws and regulations in Sweden concerning research ethics
• Ethical dilemmas in various research examples

Entry requirements

Degree of Bachelor with 90 credits in psychology, including thesis work of at least 15 credits, or corresponding foreign education.

Selection rules and procedures

The selectionprocess is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance and the local order of admission.

Teaching form

Teaching is in the form of project work, theoretical and/or empirical, where the
student in close cooperation with a supervisor focus on, apply, and evaluate the
body of knowledge in research methods and ethics.

Examination form

The course is examined through a written report which will be orally presented
and discussed in seminar form.
Grades given are A, B, C, D, E, Fx and F. A - E means Pass, while Fx and F means

Grading system

The grades A, B, C, D, E, Fx and F are given on the course. On this scale the grades A through E represent pass levels, whereas Fx and F represent fail levels.

Course reading

Required literature

Comment: Forskningsartiklar väljs i samråd med handledare Research articles chosen in collaboration with the supervisor

Author: Oliver, P
Title: The student’s guide to research ethic
Edition: Senaste upplagan, 154 p
Publisher: Berkshire, CA: Open University Press

Author: Shadish, W.R., Cook, T.D., & Campbell
Title: Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
Edition: Senaste upplagan
Publisher: Belmont, USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Author: Vetenskapsrådet
Title: Good research practice.
Edition: 2011
Publisher: Stockholm, Vetenskapsrådets Rapportserie 3:2011, (87 p.)

Reference literature

Author: Svartdal, F.
Title: Psykologins forskningsmetoder - en introduktion
Edition: Senaste upplagan
Publisher: Liber

Author: Todd, Z., et al. (Eds)
Title: Mixing methods in psychology
Edition: Senaste upplagan
Publisher: Hove, U.K: Psychological Press.