The Critical Appraisal of a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology(DClinPsych) Research Process

17 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2022

Date Written: June 3, 2022


This is a self contained interrogation of the research process of my doctorate in clinical psychology (DClinPsych) from the University of Leicester in 2007. In summary, what the author learnt about the research process is that there was actually no research process. Only a series of events, whose relationship to one another was internalised by the researcher. This cognitive task involved acknowledging that this understanding may not be shared but that accepting others alternative understandings can be useful in maintaining a coalition in favour of the research.

The author experienced the research process as hard work, requiring commitment, charm and a thick skin. When talking to people, the researcher was required to focus on positive aspects in order to retain confidence in the study. In this way, once the decisions regarding the project have been made and finalised for ethical committee approval, research seemed to be a marketing task in which the clarity of the message is crucial. To be effective that message has to outline clear benefits for participants and those allowing access to said participants.

The levers, which the author employed to help in progressing the research, were primarily interpersonal and are as follows. First, once broad agreement to the project had been secured, the relevant professionals were generally obliged to the entire process. Second, the relationship of the person distributing the questionnaires with the relevant professionals appeared to have an influence on the response rate at that particular site. Other sites cited pride in having the highest response rate as a motivating factor in completing questionnaires. The barriers to progress in the research were centred on the attitudes of potential sources of support and participants, in particular individuals who avoided replying to phone calls, emails or other communication. In addition, some people approached were sceptical of the research project or opted out of commitment to the project. These interpersonal factors in the success of research suggest that relying on any one individual for their support, permission or co-operation would be hazardous. In summary, the author has developed a realistic appreciation of the pitfalls and pleasures of research. Particularly an understanding of the timescale required to complete even relatively straightforward research. In addition, the need for the researcher to acknowledge participant’s additional realities to those realities presented by the research in order to maintain participants cooperation and respect.

Keywords: appraisal

JEL Classification: I

Suggested Citation

Perry, Andrew, The Critical Appraisal of a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology(DClinPsych) Research Process (June 3, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

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