PSYCHOL 4200A - Honours Thesis in Psychology Part 1

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This component involves a series of tasks necessarily for the preparation of the Honours thesis, including the selection of a topic and supervisor, preparation of a research proposal, ethics proposal, seminar presentation and various other independent tasks. Students will be expected to attend a series of seminars relevant to Honours research.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 4200A
    Course Honours Thesis in Psychology Part 1
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Contact 12 x 2 hour Seminars
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Corequisites PSYCHOL 4201
    Assumed Knowledge PSYCHOL 3020 or equivalent
    Restrictions Available to Honours year of BPsych (Hons) students only
    Assessment Research proposal; ethics application; oral presentation
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Matthew Dry

    Room 507 Hughes Building
    Ph: +61 8 8313 4628
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Students will attend 6 Research seminars designed to introduce the research process and develop the skills necessary for successful completion of the research project component:

    The seminars are held on Wednesday afternoons and we treat attendance at the seminars as an important component of the assessment and development of students. Attendance at 75% of the seminars for the full seminar time is a requirement and the thesis will not be marked if this requirement is not met.

    An attendance sheet will be circulated during each seminar to keep a record and non-attendance is only accepted under exceptional circumstances (illness, deaths in the family, serious accidents). Seminar attendance also requires professional behaviour and apologies should be submitted prior to the seminar if students cannot attend.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    1.  Demonstrated original and useful contribution to psychological knowledge;

    2.  Mastery of the content psychology areas across the discipline

    3. Ability to develop clear arguments that justify the research aims and cogently discuss the extent to which the aims have been borne out in the findings of the research thesis;

    4.  Deep understanding of sound research methodology in psychology

    5. The ability to apply appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis; and

    6. A critical awareness of the implications of the findings as well as the strengths and limitations of the research thesis. 

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2,3,4,5 & 6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1,2,3,4,5 & 6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    5,4,3,& 2
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The required resources in Honours are defined by supervisors of the research thesis.

    Students will be introduced to key resources required to complete their research thesis within the school including;

    Test Library
    Rsearch Participation Pool
    Ethics Committee and Sub-Comittee
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Students will attend the 2 hour seminars in Semester 1 over the entire course of the semester with face-to-face activities emphasised as part of the professional development aspect of the year.

    Interaction during seminars and pre-reading of materials/activites will be advised within MyUni under the Course Modules for each week.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Details will be made available on MyUni.
    Learning Activities Summary

    The course will consist of Seminars (2 hours) and Research Presentations (10 minutes) throughout the semester with exact content to be found in the Honours Psychology Guide on MyUni
    1) Communication of methodology (both written and oral) via presentations of research and final written thesis

    2) Use of effective search in databases

    3) Presentation and communication of research to expert audiences

    4) Psychological wellbeing during honours

    5) Introduction to the Australian Psychological Society

    6) Ethical conduct of research

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Honours Research Thesis - 50% weighting for overall Honours Result

    An outstanding thesis in Honours Psychology should reflect all of the following qualities. It should

    (a)     originality or a meaningful contribution to knowledge;

    (b)      mastery of the content area;

    (c)    the ability to develop clear arguments that justify the research aims and cogently discuss the extent to which the
    aims have been borne out in the findings;

    (d)      clarity and quality of written expression including appropriate figures and tables;

    (e)      a sound research methodology;

    (f)      the ability to apply appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis; and,

    (g)    a critical awareness of the implications of the findings as well as the strengths and limitations of the study.

    The thesis is to be no more than 9,000 words in length (as stipulated by the APAC Accreditation guidelines) and must be formatted in APA format (6th Edn).

    Assessment of the thesis involves expert review by 2 independent examiners with substantial research skill in psychology. Theses are graded according to the following scheme;

    Grade Determination: 1 and 2A range

    A thesis that receives the highest grade possible (1-I) will demonstrate excellence in all of the areas described above. Other grades in the 1 and 2A range will reflect the extent to which the student’s thesis deviates from the standards described in the above criteria. Lower grades (as described below) would indicate a failure to meet these criteria or even, in particularly poor instances, the basic requirements of a thesis in Honours Psychology.


    Second Class Honours Level B – 2B

    Theses in this range meet the basic procedural requirements for the conduct and reporting of a psychological thesis, but have major flaws in most of the areas (a) - (f) described above. The problems would be severe enough that the thesis does not provide a meaningful and/or comprehensible contribution to knowledge.


    Third Class Honours – 3

    The thesis does not demonstrate evidence that the student has developed levels of proficiency in the program objectives. For example, the thesis has failed to provide an adequate literature review, description of their methodology and results, or meaningfully discussed the findings. A grade in this range reflects fundamental deficits in the ability to communicate ideas, to organise material, or to apply the scientific method to a research problem.   

    Honours not awarded

    The thesis cannot be considered as a serious attempt to complete the basic requirements of a fourth year thesis. Fundamental components of the thesis process, including the requirement to deal approriately with data, produce a literature review, analyse the data and/or discuss the results have not been completed.


    Assessment Detail

    The research thesis is required to be of a maximum length of 9,000 words NOT INCLUDING the abstract, declaration, acknowledgements, title page, table of contents, in-text tables, in-test figures, title of tables and figures, references in the Reference section and the appendicies (which are NOT marked by the examiner and are simply there to clarify any in-text materials). The word count INCLUDES the Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, in-text citations, quotes and references, and in-text statistics.

    The presentation of the thesis must adhere to APA (Publication Manual of American Psychological Association, 6th Edn.) format for
    an Empirical Study as per Chapter 2 of the APA manual and a copy of the APA guide is available from the school office for use by Honours students. Some theses (ie., qualitative or discourse analytic theses) will not fit into this format and as such an non-empirical thesis format should be used.  An example thesis (empirical and non-empirical) is provided in Appendix of the honours thesis information guide and the format for presentation should adhere to this structure. The additional pages (front matter) are outlined for student during the thesis writing workshops in semester 2.

    Theses will be stored electronically in the Digital Thesis Repository of the Barr Smith Library. Those theses successfuly submitted for publication may be elegible for an award (please see the School of Psychology home page for details).

    The thesis submission process will be detailed in the second semester - and in the second semester seminars. All theses are submitted online/electronically via MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    NOG (No Grade Associated)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

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    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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