Catalogue of Modules, University of Nottingham

C85ERA Early Research Assessments
(Last Updated:26 August 2017)

Year  17/18

Total Credits: 80

Level: Level 5

Target Students:  Doctorate in Clinical Psychology students. There is a limited number of places on this module. Students are reminded that enrolments which are not agreed by the Offering School in advance may be cancelled without notice.

Taught Semesters:

Autumn Assessed by end of Summer Vacation 

Prerequisites: None.

Corequisites:  None.

Summary of Content:  This module lays the foundation for the research component of the programme by introducing students to: the most influential study designs used in clinical psychology, theoretical and practical aspects of systematically searching relevant literature to answer specific clinical and research questions, and conducting applied research in healthcare settings.
In the first part of the module, students develop a defensible plan for a doctoral-level research project, acquire the skill of writing formal research proposals for university and/or NHS ethics committees (taking due account of the principles of ethical research and the requirements of the HCPC, BPS and other bodies as appropriate) and develop their literature searching and synthesis skills.
This module also provides students with an opportunity to further their research project by undertaking a systematic review of the literature in their chosen area of interest. The systematic literature review results in a publication-ready paper which becomes a component of the final research project portfolio (BRP).
This module is the first step students take toward the completion of their research project portfolio and submission-ready journal papers.
Relationship to External Bodies: Approved by HCPC. Accredited by BPS.

Method and Frequency of Class:
Specific Activities are not listed
Further Activity Details:
Lectures, student led and tutor led seminars, skills workshops, reflective practice groups, peer supervision, group and individual tutorials, personal study and group learning. Please see DClinPsy online learning systems at Nottingham (and Lincoln) for the full module timetable or see Timetables at for online module timetable.

Method of Assessment: 

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 50 Written research proposal (5,000 words). NB All components must be passed to pass the module. 
Coursework 2 50 Systematic literature review. NB All components must be passed to pass the module. 


Education Aims:  The aim of part one of this module is to prepare students for doctoral-level research by developing their ability to highlight gaps and inconsistencies in existing knowledge through critical and systematic analysis of relevant literature; utilising that knowledge to formulate suitable research aims, questions, and hypotheses; and learning how to address research questions through manageable, appropriate, and replicable research design. Students are also taught how to plan data analyses using a range of quantitative and qualitative methods, while giving due consideration to appropriate methods of dissemination and the possible impact of findings on clinical practice.
The aim of part two of this module is to consolidate and practically apply students’ knowledge of the methodology of systematic literature reviews.
The module develops students’ abilities to identify and interrogate appropriate literature sources (including but not limited to electronic databases); identify and refine search strategies; select, obtain, and critically evaluate publications; and synthesise thesourced material into an organising narrative to advance knowledge in the field of clinical psychology.
This module is embedded in the context of the core philosophy of the profession of Clinical Psychology: the module socialises trainees into the scientist-practitioner role that will be central to their professional practice.

Learning Outcomes:  
Knowledge and understanding of:

  • Quantitative and qualitative research design, methodology and analysis;
  • Quality standards relating to issues such as reliability, validity, trustworthiness and authenticity;
  • Philosophy of ethics in healthcare settings;
  • Concepts of capacity and informed consent;
  • The principles, standards and practice of systematic literature reviewing;
  • Different epistemological positions and their relationship to synthesising methods.

  • Intellectual skills – the ability to:
  • Critically appraise research to determine gaps and inconsistencies within knowledge and to identify areas requiring further investigation;
  • Formulate coherent research aims, questions and hypotheses, whilst taking account of resource constraints and project practicalities;
  • Plan an appropriate, clinically-relevant, and ethical research project.

  • Professional and practical skills – the ability to:
  • Write a persuasive ethics proposal;
  • Defend a research proposal to a selected audience of peers, academics and lay people.

  • Transferable skills – the ability to:
  • Systematically source, appraise and critically evaluate a body of literature;
  • Adopt the scientist practitioner role and demonstrate its core philosophy.
  • Offering School:  Medicine

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