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Regular version of the site
Master 2019/2020

Research Seminar "Social and Cross-cultural Psychology"

Type: Elective course (Applied Social Psychology)
Area of studies: Psychology
Delivered by: School of Psychology
When: 1 year, 1-4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Master’s programme: Applied Social Psychology
Language: English
ECTS credits: 8
Contact hours: 116

Course Syllabus


The course is designed for the first year master students, and is based on the previously learned courses (“Social psychology”, “Cross-cultural psychology”, “Research Methods in Psychology” and “Experimental psychology”). The research seminar is aimed to introduce to students the international standards of good quality research in the field of social and cross-cultural psychology, to help them to choose the topic of their own study and to facilitate their work during first several stages of planning and conducting the research. During the seminar students will learn about the standards of contemporary scientific research, will know how to plan and organize their own research in the area of social and cross-cultural psychology, will develop their own project proposals, will train to create convincing presentations of their studies in order to participate in the scientific discussion. Novelty of the course lies in the facts that (1) the course is aimed to integrate international and Russian standards of scientific work, which is a new practice in the training of master students in the field of psychology in Russia; (2) the integration is achieved through the adjustment of APA standards for conducting and presenting psychological study to the requirements of Higher School of Economics for master’s 1st year paper and thesis; (3) course format is usual for master students training in Higher School of Economics, however it does not have analogues for master students training in “Social and Cross-Cultural Psychology” area in Russia. Methodical novelty of the course may be explained in terms of (1) use of reviews as an instrument for understanding and differentiating a good quality research (students are asked to write reviews three times: at the beginning of the year they review a published article, then they participate in the conference, and review two presentations, and at the end of the year they review two 1st year papers written by their group mates); (2) group discussions at all stages of the development of students’ research projects (this gives students a unique opportunity to receive feedback not only from teachers, but also from the group, which helps to understand the weaknesses of the project, and improve it); (3) all work is organized in a way that students can always connect the tasks with their own research interest, which increases students’ motivation significantly.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To introduce to students the international standards of good quality research in the field of social and cross-cultural psychology;
  • To develop students' abilities to participate in the scientific discussion;
  • To help students to develop their own research projects;
  • To teach students how to plan and organize their own research.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Know the international standards of high quality research in the fields of social and cross-cultural psychology
  • Are able to assess critically perspectives, scientific and societal relevance of particular research directions
  • Are able to formulate problem statement, research questions, and hypotheses of the proposed study
  • Know how to develop their own research projects
  • Are able to critically analyze existing theories and articles in order to generate own text
  • Are able to structure scientific text in a coherent way
  • Know how to plan and organize their own research
  • Are able to describe and justify chosen research design and methodology
  • Are able to participate in the scientific discussion
  • Are able to present effectively the results of the study
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Topic 1. Introduction: Standards and evaluation criteria of academic work
    Introduction to the course: thematic plan, homeworks’ structure and content, methods of assessment and grading procedures. Lecture, followed by discussion about the types of articles according to APA, standards of conducting and reporting empirical research, criteria for writing a master thesis. Presentation of HSE library’s electronic resources. Practical session on using library’s electronic resources, work with keywords and search for literature. Students conduct an overview and analysis of psychological studies that impressed them the most. Group discussion about students’ research experience. Interests and possible topics for the 1st year term paper. At the end of this part of the course students prepare assignment 1 – a rationale for the chosen topic of the research.
  • Topic 2. Introduction to the research: structure and content. Formulating research questions and hypotheses
    Discussion of the purpose of research introduction in the process of planning and conducting an empirical study. Description and discussion of the standards, structure and content of the introduction to the study. A special emphasis is put on how to formulate problem statement, research questions, and hypotheses. As a result of this part of the course, students are required to prepare assignment 2 – an introduction to the year essay.
  • Topic 3. Writing a theoretical overview: information search and quality standards
    The guidelines for writing a good-quality theoretical overview are given, and the criteria for its assessment are discussed. Students perform a series of related assignments that lead them at the end to a logically organized, fully-developed theoretical overview. They describe the operationalization of the key concepts of their study, describe the key ideas of the future overview, and present the contents of this overview. Instructors and students in the group give feedback at all stages. As a result, students prepare assignment 3– a theoretical overview of their research topic.
  • Topic 4. Research design and methods in social psychology
    The purpose of this topic is to discuss different types of design and research methods (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed) in psychological studies. This topic also covers issues of the choice of appropriate design and test adaptation for different cultures based on the international experience, standards, and ethics. Particular attention is paid to psychometrical properties of the instruments (tests validity and reliability), and how to test them. As a result, students acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills that will enable them to choose a research design and develop appropriate instruments for their own research. At the end of this part of the course students prepare assignment 4 – Research design.
  • Topic 5. Finalizing a year essay
    Students integrate all the knowledge and skills acquired during the course (reviewing research papers, creating an introduction, writing a theoretical overview), to finalize the text of their 1st year paper (year essay). Student also train to make a presentation of a research. As a result, students prepare the final text of their 1st year paper and present it at the last class of the research seminar before the official defense (for the details, see Appendices 2 and 3).
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Home work 1
  • non-blocking Home work 2
  • non-blocking Home work 3
  • non-blocking Home work 4
  • non-blocking Participation in class activities
  • non-blocking Final exam - predefence of term paper
    The exam is conducted orally (in a form of pre-defense of students’ term papers). The exam is conducted on the MS Teams platform. Students must connect to the exam according to the schedule of presentations created beforehand. The student's computer must meet the following requirements: a working camera and microphone, and MS Teams support. To participate in the exam, the student must: appear for the exam according to the exact schedule, and turn on the camera and microphone when answering. During the exam, students can turn off the camera (if its use worsen the connection) and can use notes. A short-term connection failure is considered to be any connection failure during the exam which gives student a possibility to continue showing the presentation of the term paper during the exam time. A long-term connection failure is considered to be a connection failure which doesn’t give student any possibility to continue showing the presentation of the term paper during the exam time. If there is a long-term connection failure, the student cannot continue to participate in the exam. The retake procedure involves the use of the same task and procedure.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * Final exam - predefence of term paper + 0.1 * Home work 1 + 0.2 * Home work 2 + 0.2 * Home work 3 + 0.1 * Home work 4 + 0.2 * Participation in class activities


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Coolican, H. (2014). Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology (Vol. Sixth edition). East Sussex: Psychology Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=753537
  • Goodwin, C. J., & Goodwin, K. A. (2017). Research in Psychology : Methods and Design (Vol. Eighth edition). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1639428
  • Green, B. N., Johnson, C. D., & Adams, A. (2006). Writing narrative literature reviews for peer-reviewed journals: secrets of the trade. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.86A0B01A
  • McGuire, W. J. (1997). Creative hypothesis generating in psychology: Some useful heuristics. Annual Review of Psychology, 48(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.48.1.1
  • References/Bibliography APA Based on the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association ” 6 th edition. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.BC8916D8
  • Rosenthal, R., & DiMatteo, M. R. (2001). META-ANALYSIS: Recent Developments in Quantitative Methods for Literature Reviews. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 59. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.59
  • White, L. (2005). Writes of Passage: Writing an Empirical Journal Article. Journal of Marriage & Family, 67(4), 791–798. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00175.x

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Gavin, H. (2008). Understanding Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=518813
  • Hastings, C., & Herbert, B. E. (2016). Effective Strategies in Writing and Research: Workshop Presentations. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.29A7997F
  • Horst, J. S. (2016). The Psychology Research Companion : From Student Project to Working Life. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1067605
  • Janusheva, V. (2017). Choice and Formulation of the Topic in the Five-Paragraph Essay and Quality of the Students’ Written Expression in Rm. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.2BC3AF8
  • Kaul, A. (2005). The Effective Presentation : Talk Your Way To Success. New Delhi: Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=283706
  • Patten, M. L. (2017). Educational and Psychological Research : A Cross-Section of Journal Articles for Analysis and Evaluation (Vol. Third edition). London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1360606
  • Ylijoki, O.-H. (2001). Master’s Thesis Writing from a Narrative Approach. Studies in Higher Education, 26(1), 21–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070020030698