PSYCHOL 4200B - Honours Thesis in Psychology: Part 2

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

This component encompasses the write-up of the thesis, including the preparation of a full literature review, data analysis, reporting of results and thesis submission. A small number of information seminars will be held to assist students with their thesis writing and to plan out future course-work applications.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 4200B
    Course Honours Thesis in Psychology: Part 2
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 12
    Contact 4 x 2 hour seminars
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites 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: Professor Carolyn Semmler

    School of Psychology Office:; ph +61 8313 5693
    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 Monday 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
    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
    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
    Research Participation Pool
    Ethics Committee and Sub-Committee

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The seminars in semester 2 are held in weeks 1-6 and are 2 hours in duration (depending on the topic and amount of interaction).

    All other course content is placed online.

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

    Please note that workload is across 1 year for thesis components

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

    Lectures:  6 x 2 hours  = 12 hours
    Ethics Application & Proposal: 20 hours
    Research Presentation preparation:  30 hours
    Independent research:  65 hours
    Final submission: 3 hours
    Supervision Meetings: 26 hours

    Total: 156

    Learning Activities Summary
    Seminars require students to bring along drafts of the components of the thesis for workshops and interactive feedback

    Seminar 1: Abstract and Introduction

    Seminar 2: Method

    Seminar 3: Results and Figures

    Seminar 4: Discussion

    Seminar 5: Thesis submission & Assessment procedures

    Seminar 6: Life after thesis: Postgraduate pathways to professional practice and research careers
  • 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
    The thesis represented 50% of the weighting for the final Honours result (and 100% of the assessment within the PSYCHOL 4200A/B course).

    It assesses all Learning Outcomes in the course and represents a substantial piece of independent research work carried out under supervision.
    Assessment Detail
    Research Thesis Requirement

    The School offers opportunity for both quantitative and qualitative research without bias and across a wide range of topics.  Our concern is that the methodology and report should be appropriate for the nature of the research.  Given that quantitative and qualitative research have different conventions, the following should be read with care:

    The Australian Psychological Society Course Accreditation Guidelines for Fourth Year courses (June 2010) stipulates a research project with the  following requirements:

    1.1.11     The research project must include an individual research question, individual intensive empirical literature review, individual data analysis, individual reporting of results and discussion, but may involve shared data collection. The research project should be structured so that students participate in all of the steps involved in research including the formulation of research questions, the design of the study including selection of appropriate methodology, the collection and analysis of data to test the
    research question, the interpretation of the findings and the writing up of the report. The research question being pursued should be psychological in nature.

    4.1.12    The research question being pursued must address issues specifically relevant to the field of psychology.

    4.1.13     The research project may be supervised either solely or jointly, but in all cases at least one supervisor must be a member of the academic staff from the Psychology AOU.

    4.1.14    The research project should be written up, adhering to APA format, and presented as a report for assessment. The report should include a substantial literature review and may take the final form of a traditional thesis, or a literature review accompanied by a report of the research presented in the format of a peer-reviewed scientific journal article.

    4.1.15   The total length of the text of the written research report should be 9000 words. Data collected for the research project must be available for inspection by APAC on request.

    At the University of Adelaide: The thesis is required to be of a 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 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. 

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

    Honours Thesis Criteria

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

    (a)   originality and/or a useful contribution to psychological 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;

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


    Further details regarding the assessment criteria and assessment process for theses can be obtained from the Psychology Honours handbook.
    The submission of the thesis is electronic and will be outlined in week 5 of the seminar series. Submission of data, consent forms and return of equipment to the School must concurrently with the submission of the thesis. Please refer to the Psychology Honours Handbook for details.
    Course Grading

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

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    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.

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