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Infusing research-mindedness in a Psychology Honours module
Start: 16/03/2023, 12:45
End: 16/03/2023, 13:45
Contact:Dr Karin Cattell-Holden - 0218084502
Location: Education Faculty, 3008

​You are invited to attend the next Division for Learning and Teaching seminar.
*face-to-face only, limited seating available

Speaker:  Prof. Ashraf Kagee (Department   of Psychology, FASS) (TAU   Fellow, 2021-2022)
Topic:  Infusing research-mindedness in a Psychology Honours module

Date:  16 March 2023, 12:45-14:00
Venue:  Education Faculty, 3008

Summary of seminar

I have been teaching research methods modules at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels since 2003. I usually emphasize that it is not only what students know but how they come to know it. Thus, the research module in Psychology Honours brings into focus a reliance on an evidentiary base to support claims to truth in psychology. Yet, I have encountered various barriers to teaching research methods.

Some psychology students do not understand the need to learn research methods; some are dismayed at having to take compulsory modules in research methods; for some, scientific thinking is inappropriately applied to psychology; there is sometimes scepticism about whether psychological experiences can and should be measured; and methodology and ideology are seen to coincide by some students and academics.

The aim of my TAU research project, therefore, was to develop an approach to teaching research methods that engages with these barriers and convinces students that research methods are integral to learning about psychology and can be interesting and fun. At the same time, research methods are not apolitical. Like science, they are contextually embedded and influenced by history, power, and material conditions. My aim was thus to negotiate the barriers identified above and bring into focus how technical knowledge of research methods can be applied in the service of a greater social good.  

Biography of speaker

Prof. Ashraf Kagee is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at SU, co-Director of the Alan Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. With over 200 academic publications, he is rated as an internationally acclaimed researcher with the National Research Foundation. He received the Rector's Awards for Excellence in Research in 2006, in Teaching in 2007, and in Community Interaction in 2009. In 2018 he received the Chancellor's Award for Sustained Excellent Career Performance.

Prof. Kagee's research has focused on common mental disorders among persons living with HIV, psychological and structural factors influencing adherence to antiretroviral therapy, and common mental disorders in various populations. He teaches cognitive psychotherapy and research methods in the Department of Psychology. He chairs the Board of Trustees of the Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture in Cape Town and does capacity-building work at the Gaza Community Mental Health Centre in Gaza, Palestine.

As the recipient of several SOTL grants, Prof. Kagee has also conducted research on teaching research methods in psychology, an area where he focuses on critical thinking, scepticism, and empirical-mindedness. He completed a TAU (Teaching Advancement at University) Fellowship in 2022, focusing on infusing research-mindedness in a Psychology Honours module.  


Diab, M., Veronese, G., Jamei, Y. A., & Kagee, A. (2020). The interplay of paradigms: Decolonizing a psychology curriculum in the context of the siege of Gaza. Nordic Psychology, 72(3), 183–198.

Howard, C., & Brady, M. (2015). Teaching social research methods after the critical turn: challenges and benefits of a constructivist pedagogy. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(5), 511–525.

Kagee, A. (2006b). Where is the evidence in South African clinical psychology? South African Journal of Psychology, 36(2).

Kagee, A. (2011). Training psychology students to think critically: Revisiting psychology as science. Africa Education Review, 8(1), 102–114.

Kagee, A., Allie, S., & Lesch, A. (2010). Effect of a course in research methods on scientific thinking among psychology students. South African Journal of Psychology40(3), 272-281.

Kagee, A, Harper, M., & Spies, G. (2008). Judgments of widely held beliefs about psychological phenomena among South African postgraduate psychology students. South African Journal of Higher Education, 22(4), 789–798.

Kagee, A, & Lund, C. (2012). Psychology training directors' reflections on evidence-based practice in South Africa. South African Journal of Psychology, 42(1).

Stanistreet, P. (2017). Hume's scepticism and the science of human nature. Routledge.

Please contact Ms Lucinda Lucks to reserve your seat: (limited seating available)