Conceptions of research methods learning among psychology undergraduates: A Q methodology study

Kieran Balloo, Regina Pauli, Marcia Worrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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A range of conceptions held about research methods learning have previously been identified. The current study aimed to examine in-depth shared conceptions among undergraduate psychology students. Utilising Q methodology, which links both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to uncover the subjective viewpoints that a group of individuals hold towards a particular domain, participants ranked statements reflecting different conceptions of research methods learning. Ranks were then factor analysed and four distinct profiles of student conceptions were identified, labelled and described in qualitative detail: Research methods as integral to psychology, Research methods as a digression from psychology, Research methods as disconnected from psychology and Research methods as beneficial to psychology. Some of the perspectives displayed a clear understanding about the reasons for undertaking research and learning about research methods in psychology, whereas other standpoints saw research as being something that was difficult to relate to the practice of psychology. Findings are considered in terms of how some conceptions appear to be more beneficial or problematic to hold than others and recommendations are made to educators about how they could support students to change their views.

© 2018, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The attached document (embargoed until 01/06/2020) is an author produced version of a paper published in COGNITION AND INSTRUCTION uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCognition and Instruction
Early online date1 Dec 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2018


  • Conceptions of Research
  • Research Methods Learning
  • Adult Learners
  • Epistemological Beliefs
  • Q methodology

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