DEP: Year 2 – 4.2 Research Thesis

Trainees start to think about, and formulate, a question for their research thesis towards the end of Year 1. Trainees are asked to identify potential research topics for their thesis and work with the research director to identify supervisors are identified from the Department of Psychology. All projects require a supervisory team of at least two supervisors. At least one supervisor should be a member of the academic staff in Psychology. Co-supervisors can include additional members of staff or appropriately qualified individuals who are external to the university (eg. staff from other institutions or educational psychologists). Trainees will start to consolidate this process by writing (with their supervisor) a research proposal early in their second year. The proposal is reviewed by the supervisor and the Research Director.

In Year 2, trainees develop their thinking in terms of their thesis area and start to formulate a clear question for their thesis.

The research thesis represents an opportunity for trainees to pull together the research skills developed in the first year of training. It consists of two sections: a systematic review and an empirical paper. Trainees work with their research supervisors to develop a set of primary and secondary research questions. They will also think of a question to inform their systematic review, refining search terms and synthesising their work. The empirical paper involves working closely with supervisors to design and implement a study, using appropriate data-analysis techniques.

The research thesis represents a more substantial piece of work than the SSRP. It must make an original contribution to knowledge in the field of child and educational psychology. Research design, execution, analysis, and interpretation should be of a high standard and appropriate to the research problem.

On completion of the thesis, trainees should be able to:

  • demonstrate skills involved in formulating a research question
  • place a research question clearly within a broad theoretical and empirical psychological literature
  • think through appropriate methodologies to test a research question
  • collect, analyse, and interpret data for the generation of new knowledge
  • disseminate results through the production of a clear and concise empirical paper to extend the discipline.