Produce a research report that is based on designing and testing a unique scale containing a pool of new psychometric items.


The Coursework Assessment

The module is assessed by one piece of coursework: A research report. This report should be written following research report guidelines and should be approximately 2500-3000 words plus references and relevant appendices. You will be supported in developing this report through the lecture/seminar programme and be able to ask questions and gain further information.

The Assessment outline

You are required to produce a research report that is based on designing and testing a unique scale containing a pool of new psychometric items. The items will be grounded in existing theories of personality that are relevant to the scale being developed, for example, you could develop a new set of items measuring neuroticism, for which the relevant theory would be Eysenck’s biological approach. The report must contain a clear rationale of why you have chosen to develop a particular scale and how it relates to relevant theories in personality. The report should cover the design and the application of the new measures in an applied setting, including details of how ethical issues have been considered and met. Note this research report does not require a hypothesis. Further details will be discussed at the seminars including the analysis required. You should reference your work using the CU Harvard style.

The following steps should be followed in order to complete the report, word counts are given only as estimations:

Step one: Title, Abstract and Introduction (900 words)

In this section of the report you should complete a review of the literature that is related to the personality trait for which you have chosen to develop new items (e.g. altruism). It is important you research the trait in depth and relate it to relevant theories of personality (e.g. altruism would relate to evolutionary and also trait based approaches in personality). The course set books will support you in starting to review appropriate theories related to the approaches, and relevant journal papers will help you to research the chosen trait in more depth. Consider the application for the scale and the implications these may have on this audience.

Step two: Design and Method (300-500 words)

The main aim of this research is to design a new scale. This section of the report should, therefore, describe the scale development procedure used to develop the items. You should have developed and design a unique pool (minimum 10 items, but no more than 20 items) to form a psychometric scale grounded in existing theories and models of personality. This will form the design and method sections of your report. There will be a lecture and seminar on the development of scale items to support this section. The web site www.ipip/org.uk/ will be useful in looking for ideas for scale items, please do not copy these.

Do not develop any items which are negatively based, all of your items must be positively focused (e.g., I enjoy spending time reading, as opposed to I do not enjoy spending time reading). The main aim is to write new items and to test these on your fellow students. To do this you will need a participant information sheet, consent form and debrief, giving consideration to research ethics. You should review existing items to ensure that you are being unique and provide a suitable way of scoring the measures (e.g. a 5 point Likert-type rating scale). You could refer to existing scales for ideas (16PF, Costa and McCrae’s Big Five etc.). Examples will also be provided in seminars to help you. Reference should be made to the British Psychological Society’s guidance on test development and other related information regarding test construction (see www.psychtesting.org.uk) .

Step three: Results (300-500 words)

In this section of the report you will need to conduct relevant descriptive statistics of your results (e.g., means, standard deviation, distribution and histograms for the scale totals). The Cronbach’s Alpha method should be conducted using SPSS to test the internal reliability of your items. You should then remove an item from the scale and repeat the CA analysis.

At this stage you should also consider the face validity of the items by getting feedback from those that have undertaken your scale. You are not expected to complete predictive or content validity but could mention in your discussion write up how these could be undertaken in the future. Reliability and validity issues will be covered in the lecture series and you can review this yourself through various research methods books (see the essential reading list). Your results must be reported scientifically and interpreted for this section of your report. You will be given assistance and specific guidance in the seminars on how to complete the analysis and results section of the report.

Step Four: Discussion (900 words)

In this section of the report you need to discuss your findings and refer back to your original literature on personality and the trait which you have based the items on. You will need to answer questions such as: Did your scale of items work? This means looking at the reliability results from Cronbach’s Alpha and commenting on these. You should also review the feedback from your face validity checks. You should also cover the limitations of your study and what your recommendations would be for future research and development. You must also cover the application of the measure in an applied setting and return to your introduction to show how you have related to the literature.

Total word count 2500-3000 words as a guide

References & Appendices (not included in the word count)

A reference section should be included and you should include your new scale including revisions in an appendix, along with a copy of the participant sheet, copy consent form and debrief sheet. Appendix items should only relate directly to support your answer. Lengthy appendices should be avoided and you will be penalised if these are not relevant.

The module is assessed by one piece of coursework: A research report. This report should be written following research report guidelines and should be approximately 2500-3000 words plus references and relevant appendices.  You are required to produce a research report that is based on designing and testing a unique scale containing a pool of new psychometric items.

The items will be grounded in existing theories of personality that are relevant to the scale being developed, for example, you could develop a new set of items measuring neuroticism, for which the relevant theory would be Eysenck’s biological approach.

The report must contain a clear rationale of why you have chosen to develop a particular scale and how it relates to relevant theories in personality. The report should cover the design and the application of the new measures in an applied setting, including details of how ethical issues have been considered and met. Note this research report does not require a hypothesis.

Critically assess the various major theoretical models of personality and intelligence
Critically evaluate the possible effects of intelligence and personality on various skills and attitudes
Discuss the applications of these effects in applied areas such as education, health and business
Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles of test construction, ethical research practice and additional qualifications in test use

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