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PSY5050 Research Methods for Practitioners

Semester 2, 2012 On-campus Springfield
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Psychology
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Graeme Senior
Moderator: Gerry Tehan


Pre-requisite: PSY8040 and Students must be enrolled in Program: PDPP


Research skills are a necessary and important element in the training of any psychologist. Practitioners are required to provide services on a daily basis that apply their understanding derived from the research literature, their own clinical and research experiences, and the critical evaluation of evidence. The skills in designing valid research studies and the statistical procedures associated with group studies have been customarily the focus of previous courses. This course aims to focus on mastery of the research techniques, methods, and analyses that most directly inform clinical practice. Rather than the design and execution of research studies, this course will develop the skills to critically evaluate and apply statistical methods to the treatment and assessment of clients.


Students will be introduced to a wide variety of methodological and statistical techniques that will enhance their ability to utilise research findings in the assessment and treatment of their clients. These methods will include the development and evaluation of test reliability and validity, the roles of factor and cluster analyses in informing clinical practice, the selection and recombination of test data into composites, the evaluation of reliable change, monitoring and evaluation of treatment efficacy, meta-analysis and meta-norming, the computation and analysis of test operating characteristics, and the evaluation of effect sizes. Case examples and assignments are drawn from clinical practice and emphasise the value of these methods in addressing important elements of each case.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. critically evaluate the relevant research literature from which they can derive information to be applied in the treatment or assessment of clients (assessed in all assignments)
  2. demonstrate practical skills in applying the various techniques and methods to individual cases (assessed in all assignments)
  3. develop advanced skills in the application of research and clinical literature to the analysis and interpretation of psychological tests (assessed in assignments 1 and 2)
  4. develop advanced skills in the application of research and clinical literature to the evaluation of the efficacy of clinical treatments (assessed in assignment 3)
  5. develop advanced skills in the derivation and analysis of effect sizes and norms develop to guide clinical practice (assessed in assignment 4)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Workshop 1
1. Evidence-based practice: the real scientist-practitioner 5%
2. Reviewing the research and clinical literatures 5%
3. Test operating characteristics and other clinical measures 10%
4. Odds ratios, Bayesian probability, Effect sizes 5%
2. Workshop 2
5. Psychometrics 1: Methods of reliability and test construction 10%
6. Psychometrics II: Statistical procedures 5%
7. Generating composites constructing your own battery 5%
8. Measuring change in assessment and treatment 5%
3. Workshop 3
9. Factor analysis what are we measuring? 10%
10. Cluster analysis do clinical profiles exist? 10%
11. Discriminant function analysis/Logistic regression 5%
4. Workshop 4
12. Meta-analysis 15%
13. Meta-norming 10%

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • All materials required for the completion of this course will be posted to the course StudyDesk or will be distributed in class.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Students will be notified of recommended readings as appropriate throughout the semester.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Private Study 138.00
Workshops 32.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
1. Test Operating Characterist 25 25 16 Jul 2012
2. Reliable Change/Composites 25 25 16 Jul 2012
3. Factor/Cluster Analysis 25 25 16 Jul 2012
4. Meta-Analysis/Meta-Norming 25 25 16 Jul 2012

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Attendance at the four workshops is compulsory,.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late, up to ten working days, at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after the model answers have been posted

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at