Research in Psychopathology
Full course description
Research is the keystone to the development of knowledge. This module offers a first experience in conducting scientific research within the domain of psychopathology. Since research starts with curiosity and formulating questions, students will choose a psychopathology topic that has their specific personal interest. They perform a thorough literature search on this topic, and formulate a specific research question. They will select the appropriate study design, perform statistical data analyses, and report their findings in both a scientific research paper and an oral presentation.
The group process and buddy-system are important in this module. During the weekly group meetings, students will actively share, discuss, and reflect about the individual progress in their research under guidance of the course tutor. Topics that are discussed include: searching and selecting appropriate literature, organizing (subsections of) the research paper, processing feedback, importance of ethics in research, selecting and conducting appropriate statistical analyses needed to answer the research question, etc... . In these meetings, there will be ample opportunity to discuss and find solutions to common pitfalls in the empirical research cycle. The buddy system serves to learn how to provide constructive feedback to one another by repeatedly reviewing each other's work.
The course combines diverse learning methods. Weekly 2-hour group meetings are complemented with language center tutorials that focus specifically on scientific writing skills. Plenary lectures provide students with the necessary theoretical background on the empirical research cycle, research methodology, statistics, and ethics in research. Furthermore, practical sessions are organized throughout the course in which students get hands-on experience with preparing their data file, running analyses in SPSS, and presenting their research to a broad audience.
Important aspects of course evaluation include active group and buddy participation, as well as attendance during practical meetings and timely submission of practical (writing) assignments. In the third course week, students submit a research proposal containing the outline of their planned research. In the final course week, students report on their research (from theoretical background supporting the research question to interpreting results of analyses and formulating a final conclusion) via a scientific presentation and submission of a full scientific research paper.
To gain knowledge and insight in:
- the empirical research cycle
- different forms of research and their application potential;
- psychopathology-related topic of choice by reading relevant literature;
- statistical methods;
- ethical aspects of research;
- good practices in conducting empirical research in the domain of psychopathology
To gain understanding of:
- advantages and disadvantages of the chosen form of research
- how to apply statistical knowledge on own research data;
- common pitfalls in statistical analyses;
- how to communicate about scientific research in written ( full scientific research paper) and oral ( scientific presentation in powerpoint) form.
After this module, students should be well prepared to proceed with and learn more about advanced research skills during their bachelor (and master) trajectory. This module offers a particular good preparation for bachelor (and master) thesis.