PSYC2012 Psychology: An Evidence-Based Approach 2

Graduate Diploma Unit

PSYC2012 Psychology: An Evidence-Based Approach 2

Duration: One trimester

Level: 2nd year

Credit points: 3 (out of total of 24 points)

Prerequisites: PSYC1012

Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus and Online Delivery

Core/elective: Core

Unit co-ordinator: Dr Fiona Ann Papps

Unit description

This aim of the unit is to provide a further understanding of issues addressed and methods used in psychological research that develop on those presented in PSYC1012 Psychology: An Evidence-Based Approach 1. Topics to be addressed include experimental design and the analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistical procedure including multiple comparisons, simple effects, and repeated measures ANOVA; nonparametric ANOVA; scale construction; questionnaire design; and reliability and validity.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • evaluate research papers
  • understand the importance of ethics in research
  • demonstrate an understanding of survey and questionnaire design and be able to develop a questionnaire
  • demonstrate an understanding of experimental design and univariate analyses
  • demonstrate an understanding of reliability and validity and the importance of these concepts
  • run univariate data analyses using SPSS
  • interpret data analyses

Unit content

  • The science and practice of psychology: Evidence-based interventions
  • Critical appraisal of published literature
  • Steps in designing and implementing a psychological research; project proposal; ethical considerations; identifying a population; sampling
  • Fundamentals of survey and questionnaire design and construction; administration of surveys; internet surveys
  • Survey and questionnaire analysis
  • Reliability and validity of testing instruments
  • Confidence intervals and statistical power
  • Parametric tests of difference: Comparing several means (ANOVA)
  • Parametric tests of difference: Repeated measures ANOVA
  • Non-parametric tests of difference: Comparing several means (Kruskal-Wallis and Friedman's ANOVA).

Learning and teaching process

This unit comprises 10 weekly three hour lectures and nine weekly one hour tutorial/laboratories. Attendance at tutorial/laboratories is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is highly recommended. However, lectures will be captured electronically at the time of delivery and will be available later the same day for downloading of the slide content and the oral presentation.

Graduate attributes

The material covered in this unit will contribute to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of core topics in psychology. These topics include abnormal psychology, biological bases of behaviour, cognition, information processing and language, learning, lifespan developmental psychology, perception, social psychology and intercultural diversity and indigenous psychology.
  2. Research methods in psychology. This attribute covers an understanding of the characteristics of the science of psychology and the different and varied research methods used by psychologists. It also includes the acquisition of practical skills in laboratory-based research and other methods, the design of studies to address psychological questions, critical analysis, the formulation of testable hypotheses, the choice of an appropriate methodology, the question of reliability and validity and their meanings and operations, the analysis of data, and the writing of reports.
  3. Critical thinking skills. The attribute includes the application of scientific method to the study of mental and behavioural problems, the examination of other modes of understanding the world and the development of other world views, and recognition of the fallacies and the biases that can affect human thinking and analysis.
  4. Values, research and professional ethics. This attribute includes the evaluation of the behaviour of psychologists in psychological research and other professional contexts and is in the context of the Australian Psychological Society “Code of Ethics” and the Australian “National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce”. Values and professional ethics must also be understood and evaluated in the context of social ethical principles and ethical conduct in legal, medical and institutional behaviour.
  5. Communication skills. Students need to learn how to communicate effectively orally in various settings (group discussion, presentations, both formal and informal) for various purposes. Written communication, in the form of written reports, should be according to professionally accepted formats. In psychology we follow the American Psychological Association structure and formatting conventions.
  6. Learning and the application of psychology. This attribute includes the application of knowledge of legislative frameworks and the application of knowledge about laws and conventions in work settings, consumer and carer participation and in the general matter of the conduct of application of psychology. It also considers how there may be variation of legislation across different areas of application. 
    Students also need to be cognisant of the need to sustain independent learning for professional and personal development over their life, in the changing social and cultural practices in society and in the practice and development of the scientific basis of psychology.

Assessment summary



Word Count

Submission Week

Group project - Design a questionnaire

Students work in small groups to design a questionnaire
on a particular topic.

Learning outcomes: c


1500 words

5 (Jul. 8, 2012)

SPSS based assessment

Students will be provided with large data sets and expected to analyse these using SPSS, document the steps taken, justify analysis decisions and present the findings from the

Learning outcomes: d, f, g


Word count not
given as a 
large component
of the assignment
will be SPSS

9 (Aug. 12, 2012)


The examination will consist of multiple-choice questions
covering the unit curriculum including material presented in
lectures, laboratories and in prescribed reading.

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d, e, f, g


No word count 

12 (Aug. 28, 2012)

Special provisions

Attendance at scheduled tutorial/laboratories is compulsory.

Submission of the two assignments and sitting the examination are required for completion of the unit.

Recommended text

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS (4th ed.). London, England: Sage.

Other significant references

American Psychological Association. (2009). Concise rule of APA style (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Australian Psychological Society. (2010). Evidence based psychological interventions in the treatment of mental disorders: A literature review. (3rd ed.). Retrieved from 

Cozby, P. C. (2009). Methods in behavioural research (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

de Vaus, D. (2002). Surveys in social research (5th ed.). Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Francis, R. D. (2009). Ethics for psychologists (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Langdridge, D., & Hagger-Johnson, D. (2009). Introduction to research methods and data analysis in psychology(2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson.

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2007). National statement on ethical conduct in human research. Canberra, Australia: Author.

O'Shea, R. P., Moss, S. A., & McKenzie, W. A. (2007). Writing for psychology (5th ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Cengage.

Salkind, N. J. (2011). Exploring research (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Relevant journals

As the unit covers research methods and statistical techniques, knowledge and understanding of these topics will be enhanced by wide reading of international peer-reviewed journal articles from various domains in psychology, which can be accessed via the ACAP Library's journal databases.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it throughout the trimester. Your lecturer will advise when there are updates on the site and also when readings are available for class discussion.