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PSYC210 Principles of Psychological Research

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Develops an understanding of the methods, procedures and logic used in psychological research and the ability to think critically about research design and outcomes in Psychology.

This paper aims to familiarise students with psychological theory, standard designs, measures and analyses used in psychological research and with the underlying rationale and evidence used to interpret effects from experiments, correlational studies and qualitative investigations. Students will learn about the techniques used for the measurement of behaviours, abilities, attitudes and psychophysiological states, primarily in humans, but also in some animal models.

Paper title Principles of Psychological Research
Paper code PSYC210
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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PSYC 111 and PSYC 112
PSYC 202
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
(i) For Neuroscience students the prerequisite is PSYC111. (ii) A student who has attempted one only of PSYC111 and PSYC112, but who has achieved a grade of at least B and has passed additional papers worth at least 90 points, may take the other 100-level PSYC paper concurrently with any of PSYC203, PSYC210-PSYC212.

Teaching staff

Lecturers: Associate Professor Janice Murray
Associate Professor Gareth Treharne
Professor Liz Franz

Paper Structure
This paper involves self-directed laboratory work supported by tutorials and lectures.
Topics covered include:
  • Designing a psychological experiment
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Cognitive neuroscience approaches
  • Psychophysiological and neural measures of psychological processes
  • Ethical principles of psychological research
  • Approaches to collecting qualitative data
Laboratory Work:
Topics in the laboratory programme are related to those covered in the lectures.

  • Eight homework assignments worth 3% each (24% in total)
  • Test 26%
  • Final examination 50%
Teaching Arrangements
Three 50-minute lectures each week; 38 lectures in total.
A one-hour per week optional tutorial programme.

Recommended Readings:
Goodwin, K. A., & Goodwin, C. J. (2016). Research in psychology methods and design (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Additional required and supplementary readings will be set. These will be detailed in lectures and on Blackboard.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will have the ability to

  • Think critically about research design and outcomes in psychology
  • Choose an appropriate method for investigating a psychological issue, to justify that choice and to interpret the results obtained

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
Tuesday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22
Wednesday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 10, 12, 15-21
A2 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 10, 12, 15-21
A3 Thursday 13:00-13:50 10, 12, 15-21
A4 Thursday 14:00-14:50 10, 12, 15-21
A5 Thursday 15:00-15:50 10, 12, 15-21