Sadieleigh95
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I’m starting MSc Psychology in September and have lots of questions about the dissertation


- can you do a literature review? do I have to do either quantitative or qualitative and use SPSS for undertaking research? I did a lit review for my BSc diss and did really well because I really struggle with SPSS.


- should I choose a topic that hasn’t got much research on it? Or would this backfire as I would struggle to find enough research?


- I did my BSc diss on anxiety because mental health is the career I want to work in. In terms of employment, would it be best to do anxiety again for my MSc or would it be best to choose another area of mental health?


- What is different about a BSc dissertation and an MSc dissertation in psychology? How can I prepare for the jump? More references? Only use recent research? Just journals or a range of sources?


- will I have a hard time getting ethically approved because the topic is mental health?
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Noodlzzz
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1. This depends on the uni, but I doubt you could do just a lit review for dissertation. And there will probably be a stats module on top of the dissertation. I too struggled with SPSS and stats, went from failing stats at undergrad to a first in stats at masters - I used Andy Field's textbook and online youtube lectures

2. If you're looking for publication then yes, otherwise you may struggle with the background lit review, but this up to you

3. I really don't think the topic will make much difference to job prospectus - pick something you'll enjoy and have good knowledge of (or are willing to learn about!)

4. I didn't find any difference between undergrad and postgrad dissertation, only less support from supervisor, but that could have just been the uni

5. For me it was recommended to study mental health in a student population where ethics will be easier and quicker to get, NHS ethics approval is really outside of your grasp as a masters student
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Sadieleigh95
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(Original post by Noodlzzz)
1. This depends on the uni, but I doubt you could do just a lit review for dissertation. And there will probably be a stats module on top of the dissertation. I too struggled with SPSS and stats, went from failing stats at undergrad to a first in stats at masters - I used Andy Field's textbook and online youtube lectures

2. If you're looking for publication then yes, otherwise you may struggle with the background lit review, but this up to you

3. I really don't think the topic will make much difference to job prospectus - pick something you'll enjoy and have good knowledge of (or are willing to learn about!)

4. I didn't find any difference between undergrad and postgrad dissertation, only less support from supervisor, but that could have just been the uni

5. For me it was recommended to study mental health in a student population where ethics will be easier and quicker to get, NHS ethics approval is really outside of your grasp as a masters student

Thank you so much for such a detailed reply! Apologies for the delay in replying, had some ‘home issues’ haha.



1 Can you recommend any other ways to work on my SPSS skills? It was always my weakest module during my BSc and I don’t even understand the basics. I managed to avoid SPSS in my diss as I did a lit review and got a first, but like you said I might have to do quan/qual at MSc level.



2 I don’t know much about publication, how important is it? Would this effect my mark or benefit me somehow? Should all MSc students go for publication? Is publication something I should start researching now?



3 Thanks, I agree I’m going to stick with the mental health field but do something different to ‘anxiety’ which is what I did for my BSc.



4 I’ve heard a lot that MSc dissertations have less supervision which is understandable. The course is also distance learning so I’m aware the academic support will be very distant. Obviously every course is different, but can I expect the MSc word count to be much higher? Roughly how much does an MSc dissertation weigh for the overall award? I’m assuming you did MSc Psychology, was the marking scheme different? At BSc we were marked a lot on critical analysis, is this the same for MSc?



5 What was your dissertation title? Did you struggle to get ethical approval? In terms of mental health research using student participants, what kind of research questions would be possible to conduct? I’m struggling to think of a research question that even has a chance of being ethically approved
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Noodlzzz
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(Original post by Sadieleigh95)
Thank you so much for such a detailed reply! Apologies for the delay in replying, had some ‘home issues’ haha.



1 Can you recommend any other ways to work on my SPSS skills? It was always my weakest module during my BSc and I don’t even understand the basics. I managed to avoid SPSS in my diss as I did a lit review and got a first, but like you said I might have to do quan/qual at MSc level.



2 I don’t know much about publication, how important is it? Would this effect my mark or benefit me somehow? Should all MSc students go for publication? Is publication something I should start researching now?



3 Thanks, I agree I’m going to stick with the mental health field but do something different to ‘anxiety’ which is what I did for my BSc.



4 I’ve heard a lot that MSc dissertations have less supervision which is understandable. The course is also distance learning so I’m aware the academic support will be very distant. Obviously every course is different, but can I expect the MSc word count to be much higher? Roughly how much does an MSc dissertation weigh for the overall award? I’m assuming you did MSc Psychology, was the marking scheme different? At BSc we were marked a lot on critical analysis, is this the same for MSc?



5 What was your dissertation title? Did you struggle to get ethical approval? In terms of mental health research using student participants, what kind of research questions would be possible to conduct? I’m struggling to think of a research question that even has a chance of being ethically approved
1. SPSS takes practice, just use youtube or lectures to learn and then practice as much as you can - it does get easier!

2. Not many publish at masters, wouldn't effect mark but is beneficial for applying for academic positions.

4. I think supervision is dependent on university and your supervisor. And I think masters is often longer than undergrad for word count. For my course it was a 60 points unit whereas all other modules were 30 points. Marking schemes were similar

5. I won't give exact title but it was bayesian inference in mental health - I used only students so need for NHS ethics approval and the ethics approval itself was very easy to do and get from the university. I would approach a supervisor in mental health and see if they have any ideas or current projects if you're struggling for titles.
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