Empirical Project: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What if I want to work in a group?

If your supervisor agrees, then you can collaborate in a group of up to four students. Joint Empirical Projects can include shared planning, field work, data gathering, and hypotheses. However, each student in the group is required to independently write up both the Literature Review and the Research Paper. Write-ups will be closely monitored for copying and plagiarism.


How long will participant recruitment take?

It is important to plan how long data collection will take. For example, if you have to send out questionnaires, then make a realistic assessment of how long it will take to organise sending questionnaires out and for them to come back. If you are eligible to use the Participant Pool and you have ethics approval for your project, then you should think about how long you will need to recruit and to run participants. Assume that it will take longer than you think. 


Do I need police clearance?

You will need to obtain police clearance for any project involving children up to 16 years of age or vulnerable adults such as the elderly or adults with mental health problems. Your application can take up to two months and you need to allow time for this process.


How do I get access to schools?

School access is coordinated centrally by Gwen Gordon (Email: gg@soton.ac.uk). If you would like Gwen to approach a school on your behalf, then you will need to fill out a School Access Form available from your Student Office. This form asks for a brief description of your project and it important so schools can be matched to your specific needs. Finding a school can take some time and it should be factored into your research plans.


Can I request an extension on my Literature Review or Research Paper?

No. The deadline for both is final, except under exceptional circumstances. Do not undertake a project that you cannot complete on time. 


How many figures, tables, or references do I need?

There is no right or wrong number. You need enough figures and tables to illustrate your results clearly. You need enough reference to document the points you make. Compare the following question: How much furniture does a house need? The quality and position of the furniture matter more than the number of items of furniture.


Where can I access helpful online materials to help me write-up my Empirical Project?

There is unit on Blackboard that provides these materials. Go to: http://blackboard.soton.ac.uk/

And search for  PSYC3003 17-18 Literature Review


How much help can a supervisor give?

You can expect to receive regular supervision, normally about half an hour every two weeks. There will be some differences in level assistance given, depending on the style of the supervisor, the nature of the project, and the aptitude of a student. This is normal and appropriate. When marking, supervisors will take into account student capacity to work by themselves, but also their capacity to seek assistance where necessary. These issues are covered in greater detail in the Student-Supervisor Checklist.


Can I get help with my statistics?

Like everything else in your project, collecting and analyzing your data is your responsibility. You should have thought through how you intend to analyse the data before you collect it. Your supervisor will be able to give you required guidance on experimental design and methodological issues that relate to data analysis and the use of SPSS. Required guidance does not include re-explaining how to do simple things like conduct a t-test or make a table.


Can I get help with software and apparatus?

You should aim to use existing equipment and software in your projects. Your supervisor may request small scale modifications from the Experimental Officers. If your supervisor wants such small scale work undertaken you should arrange a meeting early in the Autumn Term with Pete Dargie, the supervisor and yourself. The decision as to the work to be undertaken made at that meeting will be part of the protocol to be submitted with your Ethics Committee submission. 


How much can I spend on my project?

Please discuss costs with your supervisor. We ask all students to make an estimate that will be incurred in carrying out the project. Costs might include, for example, photocopying of necessary materials (e.g., questionnaires and postage). The Academic Unit can help with some of these costs to a maximum of £20.00. However, this cannot currently be used for paying participants. To request financial support for your project you need to complete a Project Exceptional Costs Form, which is available to collect from your Student Office. No costs can be met without a receipt. Photocopying can be arranged centrally for you. Please speak to the Student Office for advice.


Will my supervisor read a draft of the Literature Review or Research Paper?

Your supervisor may read up to 1200 words of your Lit Review, assuming you will provide the draft by the 1st December. Then they will schedule a meeting with you to provide a feedback before 15th December. Your supervisor may also comment on either a plan of your Literature Review or Research Paper, or individual phrases taken from them. This is to help ensure equity in supervisor input.


What happens to my Project Write-ups?

Permanent electronic copies of your write-ups are retained by the Academic Unit on its databases.

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