Archive for the ‘Open University’ Category

DXR222 Exploring Psychology Project: Day 5

The morning starts off with the preparation of the second more complete project proposal which takes a surprising amount of time. That has to be handed in around 11am after which there’s a wait for an hour or so while the tutors evaluate each proposal. In our case, they’d picked up a couple of inconsistencies and wanted a couple more research papers to back it up. That set us off looking for the papers which used up the afternoon.

The evening saw a choice of two optional lectures which unfortunately were in two quite closely related areas.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

DXR222 Exploring Psychology Project: Day 4

Having finished the preparatory steps, the project work began this morning.

From 9am to 10am was allocated to forming the groups and choosing topics. The only organisation imposed was that there was one room allocated for the people interested in a communications project and another for those interested in memory so it was a little chaotic to begin with but settled down surprisingly quickly and in 15 minutes or so most project groups had been formed.

That notionally left an hour to work up the initial project proposal though several groups needed an extension on that for one reason or another (e.g. our original idea was vetoed on ethical grounds and required a few adjustments to the approach). After that, we’d a break for an hour to let the tutors sort out which groups they were looking after before a brief meeting with them and then we were off for the day.

I figured that I couldn’t leave Bath without seeing the Roman baths so it was off to town for me. Upfront the £14.50 seems a bit expensive but it’s actually quite good value given the sheer scale of the place and considering that both an audio guide and a tour led by a very knowledgeable and engaging guide is included. It takes around two hours to work your way around.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

DXR222 Exploring Psychology Project: Day 3

It was the turn of memory today with three distinct modules followed by a session on ethics and the project briefing before an optional lecture.

The first module looked at different strategies for learning word pairs (forming a sentence containing both words is the way to go as it engages deeper processing which in turn helps encoding and recall). We analysed our results using ANOVA in SPSS.

Next up was a consideration of a variation of Bartlett’s demonstration of the usefulness of schemas in recalling meaningful material and events. Even just omitting a title from a text can make it much more difficult to recall. This session finished with a brief look at autobiographical memory which looks like it would be quite difficult to study.

Finally, we looked at Edwards and Middleton’s approach to looking at collective memory which felt like a complicated way of describing the obvious i.e. If a couple if people get together to describe a film then they’ll remember more than either would individually.

The obligatory session on ethics was much more engaging than I had expected to be and the time flew in.

With our preparatory sessions over it was into the project briefing. That ran through the eight basic areas in which we can choose to do our project i.e. one for each broad topic covered over Sunday and Monday. It seems to have served to confuse most people in terms of what they might do but it’ll sort itself out in the morning.

The optional lecture was on the use of psychology in lion conservation projects in Africa and was thoroughly engaging.

Thanks to massively reduced numbers on the final residentials compared to a few years ago, the students union don’t organise their customary social events so there are some unofficial ones in their place, tonight being karoke night.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

DXR222 Exploring Psychology Project: Day 2

This is the first of two days of preparation for the project that we’ll start on Tuesday.

For me, it was the day to look at various aspects of communication, split into three quite distinct modules.

The observational approach looked at a recording of a discussion on “talking proper” which we worked through with the aim of picking out appropriate psychological theories to explain how the group members interacted. As usual with the qualitative approaches, we finished with an attempt at a reflexive analysis of our analysis.

Next up was a quantitive approach to analysing a different discussion. This looked at several different countable features of the discussion from rating scales, to counting gestures to how long each person spoke via interval sampling and highlighted the difficulty in getting consistency between observers.

Finally, we looked at the use of Chi-Squared to do a content analysis on a series of texts and finished off with a thematic analysis of a couple of newspaper articles.

It felt very much a whistle-stop tour of techniques which is, of course, exactly what it was intended to be.

Outside the communications strands, we had a short introduction to the computer suite and how we might search for articles for our project.

Last, but not least, was a choice between a lecture on thematic analysis (compulsory for those who started the main course in February) and the optional one on interpretation of dreams.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

DXR222 Exploring Psychology Project: Day 1

The Saturday was quite restful for me as I flew over to Bristol yesterday though the lengthy trip on the A4 bus followed by the much shorter one on the 18 made it quite a trek. It was a leisurely start today with a late breakfast at the Limetree followed by several hours wandering round Bath (which wasn’t as crowded as I had expected).

Registration at 2pm left me several more spare hours before the introduction to the residential at 5.45. Next was tea before the first lecture from our tutor which was basically a refresher of several concepts from quantitative and qualitative research but which showed that we all really needed a refresher.

After that we’d just to collect our usernames and passwords before they finished off with a little ice-breaker party though most people has slipped away before that.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.