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Research Methodology 1 2017/2018

  • 5 ECTS
  • Taught in Portuguese
  • Both continuous and final Assessment


The course aims to introduce the students to the epistemological cut between common sense and scientific knowledge.
At the end of the school year the students should:
1. Understand the difference between common sense and the scientific method in the construction of knowledge
2. To have the theoretical knowledge underlying the implementation of research methodologies in the social sciences
3. Know the stages of scientific research in the fields of psychology
4. Know how to:
- Define the research problem
- Formulate research questions/hypotheses
- Identify/operationalize variables
- Identify/differentiate the research population, universe of the study and sample
- Identify different research methods
- Identify different types of samples and sampling techniques
- Use of bibliographic research tools
- Conduct a literature review
- Use APA norms

Recommended Prerequisites


Teaching Metodology

The Expositive theoretical/practical classes will reconcile expository and active methodologies: supported both on slides, in the discussion and review of the recommended and supplementary bibliography, and the completion of practical groups activities operationalizing the stages of a research project in psychology. It will use practical examples to clarify the theoretical concepts presented, complemented with knowledge of exercises to be performed by students.

The evaluation methodology is mixed, consisting of a final examination of assessment of knowledge (60%) and practical work of literature review (40%).

Body of Work

1. Introduction
1.1. Science and common sense
1.2. Demands/Characteristics of the scientific method
1.3. Basic and applied research
2. Stages
2.1. Research problem
2.2. Theory, aims, exploratory studies
2.3. Construct the research question/aims
2.4. Hypotheses
- Inductive/Deductive Process
- Experimental Hyp.
- Testing hyp. and inferential errors
2.5. Analytic model: from the research question/hyp. to the study variables
- Type/classification of the study variables
- Measurement scales
- Control variables
2.6. Population & Sample
- Pop. and target-population
- Sample: type and size
- Sampling
2.7. Design and method
- Experimental Vs Observational
- Cross-sectional Vs Longitudinal
- Epidemiological, correlational, experimental and clinical methods
3. Literature review
3.1. Bibliographic research
3.2. A

Recommended Bibliography

American Psychological Association (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Alferes, V. A. (1997). Investigação científica em psicologia: teoria e prática. Coimbra: Almedina. Retrieved from:

Almeida, L.S., e Freire, T. (2010). Metodologia da Investigação em Psicologia e Educação (5.ª Ed.). Braga: Psiquilibrios.

Coutinho, C. (2011). Metodologia de investigação em ciências sociais e humanas: teoria e prática. Coimbra: Livraria Almedina.

Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Complementary Bibliography

Howitt, D. & Cramer, D. (2011). Introduction to research methods in psychology (3rd Ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Pais-Ribeiro, J.L. (2007). Metodologia de investigação em Psicologia e Saúde. Porto: Legis Editora.

Pinto, A.C. (1990). Metodologia da investigação psicológica. Porto: Ediçoes Jornal de Psicologia.

Pocinho, M. (2012). Metodologia de Investigação e Comunicação do Conhecimento Científico. Lisboa: Lidel.
Quivy, R. & Campenhoudt, L. (2013). Manual de Investigação em Ciências Sociais (6.ª Ed.). Lisboa: Gradiva.

Santos, A., e Madureira, J. (2001). Metodologia das Ciências Sociais. Porto: Ed. Afrontamento.
Smith, J.A. (2008). Qualitative Psychology. A practical guide to research methods. London: Sage.

Sternberg, R., & Sternberg, K. (2010). The Psychologist’s Companion: A Guide to Scientific Writing for Students and Researchers (5th Ed.)New York: Cambridge Univer

Weekly Planning

1 - Presentation of the course: aims, teaching-learning method, contents, evaluation method and recommended bibliography. Introduction to the scientific method: Science and common sense;
2 - Introduction to the scientific method: Requirements/features of the scientific method, basic and applied research

3 - Research Stages: Research Problem; Theory, objectives, exploratory studies; Formulating the research question/aims

4 - Research Stages: Formulating hypotheses (inductive and deductive process, experimental hypothesis, test hypotheses and inferential errors)

5 - Practical exercises: formulation of the research question, aims and hypotheses

6 - Research Steps: Type and variable classification, scales of measurement, control variables

7 - Practical exercises: definition and operationalization of variables.

8 - Research Steps: Population and Sample. Read and comment of examples of research in psychology.

9 - Research Steps: Design and method. Read and comment of examples of research in psychology.

10 - Literature review: Literature search

11 - Practical exercises of literature review

12 - Practical exercises of literature review

13 - Literature review: APA rules of scientific writing and writing a literature review.

14 - Practical training in the application of the APA.

15 - Ethics and ethics in research. Delivery of group assignments.

Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The specific aims are a pragmatic operationalization of the general aim of the course: introduction to the thought and scientific method, leading to the acquisition of skills necessary to the development of a research project in social sciences.

The contents follow the learning aims. The specific objectives 1, 2 and 3 are directly related to paragraph 1 of program content, while goals 4:05 relate to points 2 and 3 of the UC program.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The teaching methods are varied, combining theoretical exposure and the application of theoretical knowledge through practical activities. These methods aim at promoting the students’ interest in scientific research. Students will apply the acquired knowledge through reading, commentary and supporting text for discussion, individual and group practical exercises.

relevant generic skillimproved?assessed?
Achieving practical application of theoretical knowledgeYesYes
Adapting to new situationsYes 
Analytical and synthetic skillsYesYes
Balanced decision makingYes 
Bargaining ability  
Commitment to effectivenessYesYes
Commitment to qualityYesYes
Cultural awareness  
Ethical and responsible behaviourYesYes
Event organization, planning and managementYesYes
Foreign language proficiency  
Information and learning management  
Initiative and entrepreneurship capability  
IT and technology proficiencyYesYes
Problem Analysis and AssessmentYesYes
Relating to others  
Research skillsYesYes
Understanding multiculturalism and valuing diversity  
Working in international context  
Written and verbal communications skillsYesYes
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