Your Undergraduate Psychology Project: A BPS Guide / Edition 1

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Getting started on your final year psychology research project?

Not sure where to look for extra help?

Terrified at the prospect?

Your Undergraduate Psychology Project: A BPS Guide has been designed with the needs of the student in mind. Packed with hints and tips, and written in a simple, informal style, this ‘second supervisor’ is designed to ease you further into the world of research. A host of special features allow you the best possible chance of success:

  • Structured chronologically around planning a project, carrying it out, and then writing it up;
  • Gives practical advice on how to deal with day-to-day problems such as software failures or uncommunicative interviewees;
  • Written in consultation with a number of experienced academics and students of psychology.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An essential, practical guide for students conducting a final year study in psychology. This text provides guidance on many questions, enabling the student to make full use of valuable yet limited time with his or her supervisor. This text should be viewed as an invaluable asset to the project student." Paul Castle, Senior Lecturer in Sport Psychology, University College Worcester

"This book is practical, easily accessible, well written and brimming with good advice. It offers guidelines to the psychology student on the often daunting task of designing and writing a final year dissertation. It begins by including helpful material on how to find relevant information about the chosen topic and helps steer the student through the entire research process, concluding the journey with the presentation of the final report. This book should not be too far away from any student's side." Karen Monaghan, BSc (Hons) Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University, BPS Student Members' Group - Chair 2004/5

"Final year psychology students carrying out a substantial empirical project should find this book very useful indeed. They should keep it by them and consult each section thoroughly at the start of each phase of their work: planning the project, gathering data, analysing data and, most importantly of all, writing it up. The text is crammed with the useful insight and experiences of an author who has clearly witnessed the passage of very many project students through their empirical trials; students should benefit from this experience by avoiding many of the pitfalls and blind alleys that lie in wait for the unwary and naïve psychological researcher. Despite its topic the book is not dry and the author’s own zest for research and generally humorous outlook on life shine through from most pages. When possible, and when it is appropriate, the author chooses highly entertaining examples to get across what could otherwise be a dreary point to the young reader ... The information on general writing is useful and perhaps students will pay more attention to it here (in an official and entertaining book) than they mostly do to the yards of similar information handed out by lecturers each year and steadfastly ignored in student reports. Overall, I found this a pleasant read and something which most research methods supervisors will be happy to add to the strongly recommended reading of their project students. Thoroughly read, it should give students no excuse not to obtain good marks with well-planned, executed and written up research projects." Hugh Coolican, author, ‘Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology’

"It will be useful for students of psychology at every stage, but particularly for final year students. It encourages students to think practically about how to design, conduct and write up project work, and it is a mine of useful information and guidelines. I would recommend it to any student of psychology who was conducting practical work." J.M. Carroll, British Journal of Educational Psychology (2006), 76.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405119368
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/22/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 136
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Forshaw is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is a Chartered Health Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He is the author of Essential Health Psychology (2002), Advanced Psychology: Health Psychology (2003) and Understanding Headaches and Migraines (2004).

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Table of Contents



1. Planning Research.

Choosing a Research Topic.

The Textbook Method.

The Television Method.

The Pub Chat or Coffee Bar Method.

The Internet Method.

Think Again!.


Replication Versus Novelty.

Pure Versus Applied Research.

Researching the Project: Finding Literature.

Using Internet Search Engines.

Snowballing and Searching via Citations.

Using Electronic Databases.

Boolean Operators.

Narrowing Searches.

Storing Search Results.

How Many References?.

Statistics on the Internet.

Choosing a Method.

Single-Case Designs.

Case Studies.

Choosing Qualitative Methods.

Differences or Relationships?.

Primary or Secondary Data?.

Observational Methods.

Protocol Analysis.

Multiple Methods.

Control Groups.

Matching Methods to Analysis.

Power Analysis.

Developing Materials.

Experimental Stimuli.


Looking Professional.


Cross-cultural Studies and Translation of Materials.

‘Borrowing’ Materials.

The Internet as a Research Tool.

Managing Time: Keeping on Track.

Start Early.

Match the Project to the Time Available.


Plan B.

Response Rates.

Your Supervisor’s Time.

Project Milestones.

Tips on Managing Time.

Writing a Proposal.

Research Ethics.

Informed Consent.

Undue Pressure.


Protection of Participants from Harm and ‘Acceptable’ Risk.





Personal Safety.

Obtaining Ethical Clearance.

Getting Started.

2. Doing Research: Collecting Data.

Student–Supervisor Relations.

Pilot Studies.

Dealing with People.

Being an Ambassador.

Working with Participants When Participants Don’t Understand or Make Mistakes Conducting Interviews: The Practicalities.

Observational Studies.

Relying on Equipment.

Making Backups.

Adjusting Your Project Milestones.

Taking Part Yourself.

Revisiting Data.

Transcribing Interviews.

The Paper Trail.

Knowing When to Stop.

Data Preparation.

Conducting Statistical Analyses.

3. Writing Up Research.

An Overview.

Notes on Style.

A Note on Plagiarism.

Section by Section.








Generalising Your Findings.


Qualitative Reports.

The First Person.




First, Second and Third Drafts.

Common Mistakes.

Affect and Effect.


Experiment and Study.

Joining Words Together.

Incorrect Apostrophes.

Incorrect Sentences.

Latin Phrases and Other Borrowings.


Number and Amount.


Presenting Numbers.


Reporting Probabilities.

Separating Words.

Significant Differences.

Spelling IV and DV.

When It’s All Over.


Further Reading.


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