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Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
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Thursday 16:30-17:00
Quentin Cooper reports on developments across the sciences. Each week scientists describe their work, conveying the excitement they feel for their research projects.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 30 August
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 30 August 2007
MRI Scan courtesy of R Deangelo (Creative Commons)
MRI Scan of the brain © R Deangelo

During August Material World is broadcasting four programmes made in association with the Open University. For more information about science courses at the Open University, click here

This week, Quentin Cooper goes to Durham to meet students on course DXR222, Exploring Psychology Project.

The week-long residential course aims to make students aware of the practical, moral and ethical issues that have to be taken into account when designing a psychological investigation.

The students are invited to develop their own investigations into either memory or communication. They have to frame their investigations in either qualitative or quantitative mode.

Quentin talks to groups of students as they discuss topics for their projects. Topics include the impact of the smoking ban on smokers, whether chewing gum aids memory, and the difference between implicit and explicit memory.

Quentin then talks to Dr Ilona Roth, the Course Tutor, and Dr Alex Easton, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Durham University, about the interplay of qualitative and quantitative research.

Dr Easton argues that psychology is still a young academic discipline. This is why psychologists need to describe human behaviour in qualitative terms, to enable them to develop meaningful quantitative frameworks. Dr Roth explains how she applies both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to an analysis of poetry.

Quentin also meets Chris Gibbons, an OU psychology tutor and research fellow at Queen's University Belfast. Chris is working with the group who are trying to measure implicit and explicit memory. He talks about the ethical issues raised when an experiment requires deception.

NEXT WEEK:  Back to the studio todiscover what we throw away and Odysseus' island home.
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