Evaluating psychology: research and practice

This module presents recent research from cognitive, social, counselling and forensic psychology, showing its relevance to real-world problems in three broad domains – the home, workplace and society. The socially relevant topics showcase the research and methodological expertise of academics from the School of Psychology and elsewhere. The varied assessment tasks will equip you to evaluate psychological, theories and research studies, and communicate psychological knowledge to academic and non-academic audiences. In the second part of the module, you’ll develop your own dissertation project on an area of psychology and research question that interests you. By the end of the module, you'll have gained the confidence to find and use advanced psychological knowledge in a range of contexts.

Vocational relevance

The module has vocational relevance for anyone who feels that an advanced understanding of cognitive, social, counselling and forensic psychology topics will complement their existing skills and knowledge, and broaden their professional perspective. This includes working in business, human resources, health (physical and mental), education, social work, the legal and criminal justice system, government departments, and third sector organisations.


DD803 is a compulsory module in our:


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

Following on from Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801), this module provides an advanced understanding of recent research on topics in cognitive, social, counselling and forensic psychology. These topics include: Expertise, Visual Perception, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Attacks, Sexual Harassment, Motherhood, Sexual Offenders and Child Witnesses. There is also content on psychology research methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and material on how to use psychological research findings to create impact and raise public awareness.

This module demonstrates the real world, personal and employment relevance of psychology. It is organised around three broad areas – home, work and public life – focusing on engaging topics with strong contemporary interest.

In the second part of the module, you'll have the opportunity to engage in an independent project/dissertation portfolio on your chosen topic, working with guidance from a dissertation tutor. You'll prepare for the dissertation work in the earlier assessment tasks, developing skills relevant to academic work and employment in a range of areas. You'll also create outputs to communicate psychological research to lay or professional audiences.

By studying this module you'll become equipped to evaluate psychological knowledge, including, theories and research, and to understand its potential applications. The module will also enable you to confidently communicate advanced psychological knowledge to a variety of academic and non-academic audiences. The assessment develops communication skills relevant to both academic and non-academic audiences.

This module is suitable for people interested in psychology, whether or not they have previously studied the subject. It will therefore appeal to those who have a Psychology degree, and/or work in related areas, and to anyone who feels that knowing more about psychological topics will complement their existing skills and knowledge.

You will learn

By studying this module you will learn how to: 

  • read, critically evaluate and apply research in cognitive, counselling, forensic and social psychology
  • conduct a comprehensive literature search
  • write standard academic essays
  • write a literature review
  • select journal articles/research relevant to applied questions
  • write reports and other outputs for different audiences (e.g. policy makers, charities, the public)
  • effectively present information to different types of audience (e.g. other academics, practitioners, or policy makers

You will also learn about the: 

  • relevance of academic research in cognitive, counselling, forensic and social psychology for real world issues/cases
  • key concepts and research in cognitive, counselling, forensic and social psychology

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be supported throughout your studies by a tutor who has relevant knowledge of psychology. You will be allocated one tutor who will support you through the topic weeks of the module, and a second tutor who will provide you with specialist support for your dissertation project. Teaching is all online and will be delivered via online tutorials, forum interactions and where needed, email contact.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Professional recognition

This module is part of the MSc in Psychology (F74) which is not suitable for psychology graduates who specifically want to achieve British Psychological Society recognised status as a chartered Forensic or Counselling Psychologist. Students wishing to pursue Chartership are advised to seek out an accredited MSc (Forensic Psychology) or Professional Doctorate (Counselling Psychology) programme. Psychology graduates with ambitions to pursue a PhD in Psychology may require additional research methods training.  

Course work includes

6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Evaluating psychology: research and practice starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2027.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

This module cannot be studied on a stand-alone basis. To register you will need to have successfully completed Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801), and satisfied the entry requirements for MSc in Psychology (F74).

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Oct 2025 £5435.00

Registration closes 12/09/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2027.

Future availability

Evaluating psychology: research and practice starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2027.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

The module is delivered entirely online. Comprehensive guidance and support is available via a module website which includes:

  • a week-by-week online study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • online tutorial access to tutor group forums and tutor-led learning events
  • audio and video content
  • access to OU library services.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader (and where applicable: musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future. Where independent literature searches are conducted the module team cannot guarantee that all materials found via the library are screen reader compatible, however there will always be sufficient alternatives to ensure students can complete compulsory assignments.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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