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PSYC421 Advanced Research Methods

Development of critical reading, writing and thinking skills necessary for designing research and assessing the usefulness of the research of others.

This paper investigates issues in the design, analysis and reporting of experimental and naturalistic studies in psychology. It is designed to develop a wide range of advanced skills used in psychological research. The aim is to provide training in skills required for carrying out a research project in any area of psychology (or in the biological and social sciences, more generally) - from literature search and grant writing, to the ability to critically appraise published research. Recommended for postgraduate students interested in advanced research skills.

Paper title Advanced Research Methods
Paper code PSYC421
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $666.57
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,895.09

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PSYC 461

Entry into Psychology 400-level normally requires a major in Psychology, a B+ average or higher in Psychology 300-level papers, and a pass in PSYC 311 Quantitative Methods. We highly recommend that students have completed PSYC 310. Students from other universities must show evidence of an equivalent level of competence.


Dr Ann Reynolds (

Teaching staff

Dr Ann Reynolds

Paper Structure

The first half-semester will introduce students to practical research skills. They will learn to use search engines and critically review research articles. Students will also be given experience in writing up research grants and presenting information. Most of the information in this half will be presented in lecture format. In the second half-semester students will be introduced to some of the problems faced by psychological researchers working in a field in which research funding is limited and highly competitive and will be expected to contribute to class discussions about these issues. The second half-semester will be presented as seminars and will involve discussing readings in class.

There is no exam component to this paper. Students are expected to prepare and present a 15-minute talk on their dissertation/thesis topic. They are also expected to constructively comment on the presentations of their fellow students and contribute to class discussions. The main assignment however will be the partial write-up of a Marsden research grant application. There will be an essay-based test at the end of the semester.


  • Oral presentation 15%
  • Research grant application 50%
  • In-class discussion/comments 10%
  • Test 25%

There is no textbook for this paper. Class readings will be provided.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Independently write up a formal research grant application.
  2. Understand the basics of good experimental design.
  3. Critically read and analyse published research from within, and without the field.
  4.  Present information effectively to others in a seminar format.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 11:00-12:50 9-12, 18-22