School study journeys, Student news

From DE300 dissertation to journal publication

Congratulations to former OU psychology student, Pascale Hodge, who has recently published a journal article based on her dissertation for the School module DE300 Investigating Psychology 3. Here she writes about her research and the path to academic publication. 

Tell us about your Open University studies. When did you begin and what modules did you study?

I started my BSc(Honours) Degree in Psychology with the Open University in October, 2014. 

I studied three optional modules; 

  • E102 – Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology;
  • DD210 – Living psychology; and
  • DD310 – Counselling and forensic psychology.

As well as three compulsory modules;

  • DE100 – Investigating psychology 1;
  • DE200 – Investigating psychology 2; and
  • DE300 – Investigating psychology 3.

You’ve turned your Level 3 dissertation into a published article. This is a huge achievement. Congratulations! Tell us about the research you did for DE300.

The research I carried out for DE300 was underpinned by an interest in contributing to a greater understanding of the uncertainties and logical frailties of eyewitness testimony and how this impacts the accuracy of the criminal justice system’s factual determinations.

A great deal of my research was focused on cognitive psychology within social psychology. Specifically, my research looked in depth at the work of (i) Sir Frederic Bartlett on ‘remembering’ linked to social context, (ii) Elizabeth Loftus on human memory, its fallibility and malleability and the misinformation effect, (iii) Marcia Johnson’s source monitoring framework and (iv) Solomon Asch on conformity and social influence.

When did you decide to turn it into an article, and what was the process?

I decided to turn my dissertation into an article in the Autumn of 2019 after receiving encouragement from Axelle Philippon, my tutor. Through Axelle I obtained consent from the Open University to be able to approach journals to publish my research. With Axelle’s support, the process started with my revising the original dissertation and reformatting it. Once I had completed these tasks, at the end of March 2020, I submitted the paper to The Undergraduate Journal of Psychology, and the submission then went through the journal’s review process. 

After the first review, I had to make revisions to the paper. However, there were no further amendments necessary after the second review. From the journal receiving the paper to accepting the paper for publication took approximately one year, and the article was published on 15thApril, 2021.

What are your plans for the future? Do you want to do further study/are you studying further now?

While I am working at the moment, I continue to have an active interest in cognitive, social and forensic psychology and I would very much like to resume my studies in psychology at MSc level in the foreseeable future.

What advice would you give students who are currently studying in the School, and on DE300?

There are two pieces of advice I would like to give to students studying DE300. The first is to explore their area of interest and research in great depth. Psychology is a lifelong learning process with no inarguable truths. Therefore, think critically and read extensively to advance your own trajectory. The second is to take advantage of opportunities, including your tutor’s feedback after each assignment and the guidance given at tutorials.

May I take this opportunity of thanking Axelle so much for (i) her unwavering support, (ii) her belief in my ability, (iii) her endless guidance and contribution with my research,  and to all the dedicated staff within The Open University’s School of Psychology & Counselling.

Pascale Hodge and Axelle Philippon (2021) Informational Social Influence Intensifies The Misinformation Effect When Applied To Immutable Item and Temporal Order Memory Undergraduate Journal of Psychology Volume 32, No. 1 pp.101-115


The importance surrounding the fallibility of eyewitness testimony is evident from the literature (Loftus, 2005) and its unreliability is cited as a leading cause for wrongful convictions (The Innocence Project, 2017). The present study examined the misinformation effect linked to temporal order and immutable item memories from an episodic event. It also investigated whether informational social influence would intensify this effect. Fifty-two participants (33 women and 19 men) carried out the study using the misinformation paradigm’s three-stage standard suggestibility procedure. Supporting the first hypothesis, participants exposed to informational social influence did yield to higher levels of misinformation. Indeed, in terms of immutable item memory, informational social influence was shown to be a causal factor in increasing the misinformation effect threefold. Congruent with the second hypothesis, participant’s memory recognition accuracy did differ when information type was distorted. However, contrary to its prediction, participants demonstrated that temporal order memory was less susceptible to misinformation than that of immutable item memory. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for real-life eyewitness testimonies and the accuracy of the criminal justice system’s factual determinations.

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