Last week I attended the celebration evening for the Nuffield Research Placement 2018 which I volunteered to help with over the summer. This post is about supervising two lovely students for the Nuffield Research Placement.
The Nuffield Research Placement
A group of A level students applied for an opportunity to take part in a 4-week project at Coventry University in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). These talented young people got to spend time at the University experiencing what it is like to be a student and work with academics on a project. This is a really important and useful project to provide young people with opportunities to develop their skills and understand what they want to do, including going to university.
My students both had an interest in psychology but didn’t really know if it was something they wanted to do at University. As a bonus for me, it was a great opportunity to gain some supervision experience.
The Nuffield Project gives students an idea about what it’s like at university to be a student. A large part of my work as a PhD student is reading – understanding the literature, finding gaps in the research and working out ways to fill them.
My students started off their projects reading some of the literature around the use of mobile phone apps and wearable technology. We had interesting discussions about the use of this technology and how it may be useful for increasing physical activity levels.
My students asked some great questions about the area to build their knowledge and understanding before developing their own research question and aims for their project. They both took some great initiative exploring their questions in detail.
Both students conducted a literature search of academic literature in google scholar on their specific topics. They read some complex and in-depth studies (far beyond their usual text books) and both did a really great job of understanding and collating the research to come to some conclusions and answer their research questions.
By the end of the placement the students were required to submit a 20-page report as well as a poster outlining what their project involved and the results of their research.
Overall, I could really see how their research skills, writing and critical analysis skills developed over the 4 weeks and how the experience they gained would be invaluable when they head off to University next year.
By no means was this an easy 4-week holiday for them. Getting involved in a project, learning about the area and then doing some research for themselves in such a short space of time was a challenging task. With basic A-level psychology knowledge they really took it upon themselves to gain as much knowledge as they could of the area. Not having written an academic report or produced an academic poster before too was a real accomplishment.
A huge thank you to both my students for a really stimulating 4 weeks. It was so lovely to meet you both and work with you. I wish you both the very best with your studies and university applications!
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