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Type: Thesis
Title: Psychological Literacy in Undergraduate Psychology Learning and Teaching
Author: Newell, Samantha Jane
Issue Date: 2022
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: A higher education qualification should equip students with the attributes needed for success in employment and personal contexts. The attributes that should be developed through any higher education degree are usually determined at each university, with lists differing between institutions. Efforts to develop discipline-specific graduate attributes have been occurring sporadically. The push to determine discipline-specific attributes for psychology has been classified broadly as ‘psychological literacy’. Study 1 is a systematic review of the research that has measured psychological literacy. This review showed that the attributes of the concept of psychological literacy differed among the included papers, which raised questions about the validity of the concept. A recommendation from the review was the need to conduct a construct validity assessment of psychological literacy from a range of resources, including the grey literature. Accordingly, Study 2 is an investigation of threats to the construct validity of psychological literacy. Construct validity analyses resulted in several recommendations to address the methodological and conceptual limitations of previous research. Within the analyses of Study 2, an assessment of consensus for psychological literacy attributes was conducted. Although the consensus in existing literature was limited, a working definition of psychological literacy is presented. A key recommendation from Study 2 was the need for the working definition to be redefined by identifying key undergraduate psychology attributes among stakeholders. Thus, I interviewed psychology educators (n=18) from three countries (US, UK, and Australia) in Study 3, and explored their understanding of psychological literacy and undergraduate attributes. As a result of participants’ perceived barriers to embedding psychological literacy in the undergraduate degree, recommendations for implementation were developed. Qualitative content analysis was applied in Study 3 to produce a revised definition of psychological literacy. The definition was based on a stakeholder consensus of psychological literacy attributes identified in Study 3, the working definition from Study 2, and the student perspective gained through the supplementary study presented in this thesis. The revised definition of psychological literacy is the ability to: (1) critically analyse psychological phenomena, including findings drawn from a range of methodologies, with a consideration of biases or limitations; (2) use scientific methodology and principles to investigate real-world issues across a range of contexts, both personal and professional, drawing upon an understanding of human behaviour and thinking processes; and (3) communicate an understanding of psychological processes to others by offering concise, evidence-based solutions to real-world issues. The revised definition of psychological literacy provides a shared language for the concept, with implications for researchers in the field and for higher education psychology programs. Undergraduate psychology programs can utilise this consensus-driven definition as a foundation for program learning outcomes, to increase uniformity of graduate attributes. Psychology education and training accreditation bodies might consider incorporating this definition into their undergraduate standards and guidelines, to support institutions in embedding psychological literacy into their program outcomes.
Advisor: Chur-Hansen, Anna
Strelan, Peter
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2022
Keywords: Psychological literacy
Graduate attributes
Psychology curriculum
Undergraduate psychology
Psychology education
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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