Evaluating Evidence: Becoming a Smart Research Consumer - SP636

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) PROF R Giner-Sorolla checkmark-circle


The module systematically explores common logical and psychological barriers to understanding and critically analysing empirical research. Major topics considered include common fallacies of deductive and inductive reasoning, judgmental heuristics relevant to evaluating empirical research claims, essentials of a scientific method, misleading statistical and graphical techniques, establishing genuine associations, the role of inferential statistics for identifying illusory associations, essentials of causal inference, and threats to the validity of experimental and non-experimental research.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

22 hours


Available as a 'wild' module. Available to short-term credit students at discretion of school/convenor.

Method of assessment

This module is assessed by 60% examination and 40% coursework.

Indicative reading

The module reading list can be found online at http://resourcelists.kent.ac.uk/index.html

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Acquire essential skills required by consumers of psychological or behavioural research
8.2 Recognise common threats to internal validity of experimental studies
8.3 Demonstrate skill in recognising when sufficient information has been provided to establish predictive and causal relationships
8.4 Recognise and critically evaluate common ways of using statistics and graphs to inform and to misinform
8.5 Demonstrate familiarity with typical flaws in non-experimental research (including survey, evaluation research, quasi-experimental designs)
8.6 Develop skills in the critical analysis of psychological research claims.
8.7 Develop awareness of how evidence can relate to society
8.8 Develop understanding of the range of approaches available for evaluating evidence for applying psychology

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Demonstrate skill in distinguishing between questions that can and cannot be addressed empirically and scientifically
9.2 Develop skills in the critical analysis of any empirical research claim
9.3 Show appreciation and understanding of the variety of empirical and methodological approaches used in psychology
9.4 Self-reflect on constructive feedback from staff in order to improve understanding and academic performance
9.5 Develop independent learning and research skills required to support academic learning and development
9.6 Develop self-regulation skills in the form of study planning and overall time management
9.7 Develop information technology skills required to obtain key learning resources (e.g., use of online journals and learning resources as directed by lecturer).


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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