Research Skills

Research is the basis for practice in Clinical Psychology. Learning to select appropriately, judge critically and use relevant aspects of psychological research is an integral part of training and is one of the profession’s key strengths. The MSc Programme was developed to provide students with the necessary research and other generic skills to allow them to read research reports with critical understanding and to conduct research relevant to the field of Clinical Psychology.
The objectives of the research training programme are:

  • to familiarise students with the research base of the profession of Clinical Psychology
  • to facilitate the development of skills of critical analysis of the research base
  • to acquire competence in core aspects of research design and statistical analysis
  • to enable students to independently develop, design and execute a research dissertation
  • to teach students skills to communicate research findings for different audiences (e.g. presentations, writing papers, press releases).

Core research skills (modules RESM 6009, 6010, 6011 and 6012) are provided in joint teaching sessions with other postgraduate research students in the Psychology AU.

Data Analysis: training and facilities

Students have access to computing facilities provided by the Programme and by the Department (including site licences for SPSS, for use at home or on placement).
Research Co-ordination
Research teaching is provided by four members of the Programme team.  The Module Lead for PSY 6022 is responsible for coordinating and supporting  the research activity of students  leading to the submission of the dissertation.  All members of the research team are research active, and members of research groups based within the Department of Psychology .

Ethical Issues in Research

All research projects carried out in the Department of Psychology should meet the BPS requirements for ethical research. No project may be carried out without formal approval from the relevant ethics committee(s); these include the Psychology Ethics’ Committee, Research Governance and, if appropriate, the National Research Ethics Service (NRES).
Ethical issues in research are introduced to students in the first year Applied Research Methods training and can be found in the Code of Ethics and Conduct published by the British Psychological Society. Prior to conducting their research dissertation, students are required to obtain approval from the Psychology Ethics Committee and University’s Research Governance Office. Applications are submitted through the on-line portal, Ethics Research Governance Online (ERGO) at:  Where necessary, applications to NRES should be submitted through the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) (see

Research Governance

Once an ethical application has been approved by the Department of Psychology, it will be automatically sent electronically to the Research Governance office (RGO). The aim of the RGO is to provide researchers with sponsorship and insurance for their research projects. The University of Southampton stipulates that any member of the university should not carry out research without having received confirmation from the RGO of their sponsorship and insurance.  Further details can be found at:

Disclosure and Barring Service check

DBS check documentation should be attached to any ethics’ application that is for a study that will involve vulnerable populations.

Risk assessment

A completed Risk Assessment form should accompany all submissions to the Psychology Ethics Committee. This form should outline potential risks to researchers and participants. British Psychology Society (BPS) Ethical guidelines and support can be found at:


National Research Ethics Service (for NHS ethical approval)

If research involves participants or resources linked to the NHS then in addition to going through internal ethics and research governance procedures a further application to the NRES is needed. An NRES application is typically required if the proposed research participants fall into one of the following categories:

  1. They are patients or users of the NHS
  2. They are individuals who have some relationship to users of the NHS (such as carers of patients)
  3. They have access to past or current information about NHS patients (including “data, organs or other bodily material, fetal material and IVF”)
  4. They have recently died on NHS premises.

Or if the research involves:

  1. Using NHS facilities or premises
  2. Using NHS staff.

See for regular updates.
The National Research Ethics Service also provides guidance on informed consent and research with adults unable to consent

Comments are closed.