Investigating psychology 1
Drawing on a wide range of studies and some classic pieces of psychological research, this OU level 1 module provides an accessible and engaging introduction to the study of psychology. You will explore the different ways in which psychologists investigate the human mind and behaviour, and find out how psychological research addresses real-life issues with an opportunity to conduct a psychological study of your own. You will be provided with two textbooks and access to a comprehensive website containing an online study guide, audio-visual material and interactive activities which are designed to help you develop your knowledge and skills.
What you will study
Investigating psychology 1 introduces the diversity and breadth of approaches in the discipline of psychology and the many different ways psychologists study the human mind and behaviour.
The module is organised into three parts with an introductory four-week block.
In the introduction you will learn about the topic of intelligence, and the various successes and failures in the attempt by psychologists to measure and assess human intellectual functioning. Using research on intelligence as an example this opening block introduces the main themes of Investigating psychology 1 and sets the scene for the rest of your study.
Part 1 explores why people do harm to others. Using this as an example, you’ll look at how human behaviour may be influenced by personality and situational factors, and the ways in which learning also plays a role.
Part 2 focuses on what determines human behaviour more widely, including the role of evolution and the importance of social relations. What makes people change their behaviour? What is the basis of a child’s attachment to caregivers? How important is friendship, especially in childhood? These are just some of the intriguing questions answered in this part.
Part 3 centres on a key question in psychology – how can we study psychological processes that cannot be directly observed, such as language, attention or memory?
Throughout the module you will learn also about a variety of different research methods used by psychologists, and you will have an opportunity to conduct a psychological study of your own.
Supporting study materials
The module is built around two textbooks, Investigating Psychology and Investigating Methods, and a website containing activities and audio-visual material that will form part of your core study time. There is also a booklet, Investigating Intelligence, which you will engage with in the first four weeks of the module. Throughout the module, you will be provided with an online study guide.
The online material will extend your understanding of the topics and issues discussed in the books in a number of different ways:
- the audio-visual material picks up on specific questions addressed in each chapter
- the interactive exercises will develop your understanding of the research methods used in psychology and will help you consolidate your understanding of key psychological concepts
- the online activities will help you develop the skills needed for your own learning.
The website also provides resources on how psychology is used in a range of workplaces and careers.
You will learn
You will learn about:
- some of the topics that psychologists investigate
- how the research process develops from asking questions, through collecting evidence to evaluating the findings.
You will develop skills in:
- accessing and interpreting information
- constructing arguments
- presenting and communicating information
- managing your time effectively.
You will also have the opportunity to reflect on how these skills could be applied to a variety of different settings.
This is an OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to OU level 2 study. Although you may study this module on its own, we recommend that you start your studies with Introducing the social sciences (DD102).
To see a taster of some of the module content please go to our OpenLearn site.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
Three textbooks, other printed materials and a website containing an online study guide, audio-visual material and activities.
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with either:
- Windows 7 or higher
- macOS 10.7 or higher
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To participate in our online discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.