PSYC22001 - Research Methods in Clinical Psychology
Term 1 - 2017


All details in this unit profile for PSYC22001 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student). The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.

Overview

This unit is part of the sequence of units that culminates in the degree of Master in Clinical Psychology. This unit is intended to provide advanced knowledge in research knowledge and skills in Clinical Psychology, to assist in carrying out a thesis and as a founcation for a career as a Clinical Psychologist.

Details

Career Level Postgraduate
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Academic Course = CG17

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Offerings

Term 1 - 2017
  • Rockhampton

Website

This unit has a website, within the Moodle system, which is available two weeks before the start of term. It is important that you visit your Moodle site throughout the term. Go to Moodle

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Postgraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Assessment Overview

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Presentation and Written Assessment 25%
2. In-class Test(s) 25%
3. Written Assessment 30%
4. In-class Test(s) 20%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades.

All University policies are available on the IMPortal.

You may wish to view these policies:

  • Grades and Results Procedure
  • Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework)
  • Review of Grade Procedure
  • Academic Misconduct Procedure
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – Domestic Students
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – International Students
  • Refund and Excess Payments (Credit Balances) Policy and Procedure
  • Student Feedback – Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure
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This list is not an exhaustive list of all University policies. The full list of University policies are available on the IMPortal.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback Source Recommendation
A different lecturer for the Qualitative component needed Student feedback Consider changing the guest lecturer for the qualitative component
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Specific Outcomes/Skills Development: a. Advanced research knowledge and skills to assist in planning for, carrying out a thesis and as a foundation for a career as a Clinical Psychologist

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1
1 - Presentation and Written Assessment
2 - In-class Test(s)
3 - Written Assessment
4 - In-class Test(s)

Textbook Information

There are no required textbooks. Note:

All readings will be provided for this course.

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • Internet
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
All submissions for this unit must use the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style (details can be obtained here). For further information, see the Assessment Tasks below.
Unit CoordinatorLisel O'Dwyer (l.odwyer@cqu.edu.au)
Note: Check the Term-Specific section for any additional contact information provided by the teaching team
Week Begin Date Module/Topic Chapter Events and Submissions
Week 1 06-03-2017

Research Methods in Clinical Psychology: Overview of the Course

Kazdin (1995) Preparing and Evaluating Research Reports. Psychological Assessment, 7(3): 228-237.

2. Chapter 2 of 'Research Methods in Clinical Psychology'

Week 2 13-03-2017

Design and analysis of small-n and single-case research

Kazdin (2003) (ch11 - on single case research studies - examine the examples given which illustrate issues of validity).

Week 3 20-03-2017

Survey design and analysis

Questionnaire design, interviewing, and attitude measurement" by A.N. Oppenheim. The library has several copes of this in Rockhampton and other campuses.

Week 4 27-03-2017

Quantitative research: Design and analysis

Readings will be available in Moodle

Week 5 03-04-2017

Presentations

Presentation and Written Assessment Due Thursday (06 Apr 17) 09:00 AM AEST
Vacation Week 10-04-2017
Week 6 17-04-2017

Qualitative Designs

Readings will be available in Moodle

In-class Test(s): First Half of the Course Due Thursday (20 Apr 17) 09:00 AM AEST
Week 7 24-04-2017

Mid-term exam

Week 8 01-05-2017

Introduction to meta-analysis

Week 9 08-05-2017

Statistics intensive

Statistics Workshop during Residential School

Readings to be confirmed

Week 10 15-05-2017

Beyond p: Effect size, clinically significant change and reliable change

Readings to be confirmed

Week 11 22-05-2017

Categorical data (chi-squared and loglinear analysis)

Written statisics assignment

Readings to be confirmed

Written Assessment: Second Half of Course Due Thursday (25 May 17) 09:00 AM AEST
Week 12 29-05-2017

End of term exam

In-class Test(s): Second Half of Course Due Thursday (01 Jun 17) 09:00 AM AEST
Review/Exam Week 05-06-2017
Exam Week 12-06-2017

Dr Lisel O'Dwyer

l.odwyer@cqu.edu.au

Mobile 0412 199 385

1 Presentation and Written Assessment

Assessment Title Presentation and Written Assessment
Task Description

The idea here is to develop skill of critical evaluation of research that can assist with increased critical understanding and application of research findings.  Another objective is to begin to use those skills to plan and carry out the thesis. You will need to find four (4) journal articles that are relevant to your chosen thesis topic. You should critically evaluate these articles in terms of their method, discussion, and application to the field of psychology. You should consider how these articles contribute to the rationale or design of your chosen research topic or method. 

There are two aspects to this assessment:

Oral: You will prepare a 15 minute presentation based on the four (4) articles to give to the class in week 5. This is worth 10% of the final grade (10/25).

Written: You will submit a 1500 word critique of the four (4) articles. This is worth 15% of the final grade (15/25).

 

Assessment Due Date Week 5 Thursday (06-Apr-2017) 09:00 AM AEST
Return Date to Students Week 7 Thursday (27-Apr-2017)
Weighting 25%
Assessment Criteria

Oral presentation: This is worth 10% of the final grade (10/25). Discussion of each of the four (4) research articles will be graded out of 2 (for a total of 8/25). Two points (2/25) will be allocated to communication ability.

Written presentation: This is worth 15% of the final grade (15/25). The critique of each of the four (4) research articles will be graded out of 3 (for a total of 12/25). Three points (3/25) will be allocated to the connection between each of the articles and the research methodology and/or rationale. 

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online
Hard copy

Student choice of off- or on-line submission

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Specific Outcomes/Skills Development: a. Advanced research knowledge and skills to assist in planning for, carrying out a thesis and as a foundation for a career as a Clinical Psychologist



2 In-class Test(s)

Assessment Title In-class Test(s): First Half of the Course
Task Description

Test on first half of the course focused on design and methodology in clinical psychology research including several research-related core capabilities underpinning clinical psychology training.

Assessment Due Date Week 6 Thursday (20-Apr-2017) 09:00 AM AEST
2 hour in class exam
Return Date to Students Week 8 Friday (05-May-2017)
two week turnaround
Weighting 25%
Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Hard copy

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Specific Outcomes/Skills Development: a. Advanced research knowledge and skills to assist in planning for, carrying out a thesis and as a foundation for a career as a Clinical Psychologist



3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Written Assessment: Second Half of Course
Task Description

Research is an integrated process consisting of many steps including data analysis and results reporting. Without a clear and accurate results section the report will not be as effective as it would be no matter how well the design was or how important the topic is. A poor or ineffective results section can result in either readers not paying attention to your report at all or getting wrong conclusions from it. In this assignment you need to provide a 1500 word (plus or minus 10%) critique of the results section of a journal article. You can use an article that you reviewed in Assignment 1 or pick a new one. Please attach the journal article to the assignment.

When critiquing a results section you should consider the points below:

Excluded participants: Were any participants excluded from the analyses and if so why? Did the researchers justify any exclusions appropriately? For a good discussion on the reasons to exclude outliers, see Osborne and Overbay (2004).

Missing data: If participants leave questions or items blank, we end up with what we call missing data. There are various different methods of dealing with missing data (Schafer & Graham, 2002). Did the researchers choose the most appropriate method?

Validity and reliability of dependent variables: Did the researchers provide convincing evidence for the validity of each of the dependent variables that they used (including psychometric scales)? In other words, did each dependent variable show significant and appropriately sized correlations with the variables that it was supposed to be related to (convergent validity) and, equally importantly, weak nonsignificant relationships with the variables that it was not supposed to be related to (discriminant validity)? Also, was there good evidence of the internal reliability of the dependent variables? For example, did each psychometric scale have a suitable factor structure and/or acceptable Cronbach alpha coefficients (> .70)?

Sufficient statistical power: If researchers find a significant effect, then, ipso facto, they must have had sufficient statistical power to detect this effect. Consequently, it would be inappropriate to criticise the researchers for have low statistical power due to small sample size even if the researchers' sample size is smaller than that used in previous research. However, if the researchers found null findings, then this can either be interpreted as indicating that there is no effect present or that an effect is present but the researchers had insufficient statistical power to detect this effect (i.e., a Type II error; see Cohen, 1988, 1992). Hence, statistical power is a critical concern when interpreting null findings. When interpreting a null finding, consider whether the research contained enough participants to detect the effect. Look back at previous research that has found the effect in order to see how many participants were used in that research. Meta-analyses and other reviews are good sources for this information. Does the research use significantly fewer participants than previous successful research? If so, then the null findings may be due to a lack of statistical power. Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, and Buchner (2007) provide a free downloadable power analysis software that you can use to investigate whether researchers have sufficient power. It is available at: http://www.psycho.uni-duesseldorf.de/abteilungen/aap/gpower3/download-and-register In addition, Maxwell (2004) provides some useful calculations regarding recommended sample sizes. Assume that researchers want to conduct a statistical test with Cohen's (1992) recommended power of .80 to detect a medium-sized effect using an alpha value of .05 and with equal numbers of participants in each condition. If the researchers are using a 2 x 2 between-subjects ANOVA and a single dependent variable, then, in order to detect a single, prespecified effect (e.g., a main effect), the researchers should use 30 participants in each of the four cells of the 2 x 2 design (i.e., 120 participants). In order to detect all three effects (i.e., both main effects and the interaction), the researchers should use 48 participants in each cell (i.e., 192 participants). Obviously, cell sizes will need to be larger if (a) cell sizes are unequal, (b) the ANOVA is larger (e.g., 2 x 3 ANOVA), or (c) there is more than one dependent variable.

Statistical assumptions: Did the researchers meet all of the assumptions that are associated with the particular statistical tests that they used (e.g., equal cell sizes, normal distribution, homogeneity of variance).

Correct use of inferential statistics: All statistical techniques have their limitations. Did the researchers take these limitations into account. Have a look at some general introductions to the techniques of exploratory factor analysis (Floyd & Widaman, 1995; Russell, 2002), path analysis (Stage, Nora, & Carter, 2004), or structural equation modelling and confirmatory factor analysis (MacCallum & Austin, 2000; Schrieber, Stage, King, Nora, & Barlow, 2006) correctly? Was their dichotomization of quantitative variables appropriate (MacCallum, Zhang, Preacher, & Rucker, 2002; Maxwell & Delaney, 1993)?

Correct interpretation of analyses: Did the researchers interpret the results correctly? Look back at the precise predictions that the researchers made and match them against the actual pattern of results. Researchers are like politicians: They will try to place a positive spin on their results, emphasize supportive evidence, and downplay unsupportive evidence. As a critical analyst, it's your job to see through the rhetoric and spin and analyze the cold hard facts!

Alternative analyses: Different statistical tests can be used to address different questions. However, different statistical tests can also be used to address the same question. Did the researchers use the correct (i.e., most powerful, most precise) statistical test to investigate their hypotheses? Were there any alternative, more appropriate statistical analyses that could have been used to test the researchers' hypotheses?

Assessment Due Date Week 11 Thursday (25-May-2017) 09:00 AM AEST
Due by classtime
Return Date to Students Review/Exam Week Friday (09-Jun-2017)
Weighting 30%
Assessment Criteria

This assessment is worth 30% of your final grade.Marks will be allocated based on the criteria below:

- Identification of strengths and weaknesses in the results section. You should try to identify all of the strengths and weaknesses in the results; some articles will have more than others: 10/30

- Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses with justification (provide references to support your argument) and outline the impact this may have on the interpretation of results: 5/30

- Discussion of whether weakness/es might have been avoided, what might've been done differently in terms of research design or analysis: 5/30

- Comment on the the correct interpretation of analyses: are the conclusions of the authors justified? You will need to look at the hypotheses, results and discussion section: 5/30

- Clarity of argument and writing style: 5/30

 

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Hard copy

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Specific Outcomes/Skills Development: a. Advanced research knowledge and skills to assist in planning for, carrying out a thesis and as a foundation for a career as a Clinical Psychologist



4 In-class Test(s)

Assessment Title In-class Test(s): Second Half of Course
Task Description

This end of the term exam examines the second half of the course, including reading and lecture material, and is intended to cover important Data Analysis, Research and Evaluation core capabilities.

Assessment Due Date Week 12 Thursday (01-Jun-2017) 09:00 AM AEST
2 hour in class exam
Return Date to Students Exam Week Thursday (15-Jun-2017)
two week turnaround
Weighting 20%
Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Hard copy

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Specific Outcomes/Skills Development: a. Advanced research knowledge and skills to assist in planning for, carrying out a thesis and as a foundation for a career as a Clinical Psychologist




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