We asked some of our research apprentices to tell us about their experiences:
My apprenticeship involved collecting data in the EEG labs for Dr Jeremy Goslin
, the work was rather intense but provided me with a firm understanding of the research that is being carried out in modern psychology, along with showing me the amount of time, work and effort it takes to produce high level results. I learnt how to run an experiment from start to finish, from booking rooms and students to preparing the EEG equipment, maintenance, troubleshooting and analysis. I loved working in the labs and so want to continue part time this year. The research was both very interesting and varied. From the placement I worked on psycho-linguistic studies of affordances, which has now become the basis for my own research and dissertation. I hope to further my work in the field and then continue on to complete a PhD and become a researcher/lecturer full time.
My research apprenticeship gave me some really great experiences! The research I was involved with investigated the mirror neuron system using fMRI. The main part of my role involved being the hand model for the video clips which the participants were shown. Doesn’t sound very interesting but it gave an insight into the preparation required for experiments. I was able to go up to Exeter and spend a couple of days watching participants in the scanner. This was a fantastic experience; being able to see the image of the brain “live” was, forgive the pun, mind blowing! I also had the opportunity to be part of the data analysis. Using the program Brain Voyager I assisted in the first step of aligning the scans to talairach space. This was a sometimes laborious task but I loved it! I would recommend being an apprentice to anyone, and if you’re really lucky you may get the chance to have your name on a paper!
Ever since I heard about the opportunity for undergraduates to assist in running actual psychological experiments within the School, i.e. the research apprenticeship scheme, I was very keen to take part. I found it incredible that almost from the beginning of my course I would be allowed to witness first hand how the psychological laboratories operate, and have a chance to assist lecturers in their work. Over stages 1 and 2 I have been involved in a number of projects, including cognitive, social, behavioural, etc. The experience not only brought me in to a closer contact with academics, who are always happy to have an informal discussion on the topics involved, and are generally really friendly and fun to work with; but also gave me the confidence and skills that are going to be essential for my own final year project (dissertation), e.g. feeling comfortable with participants and using lab equipment on my own, data entry techniques, etc. Finally, one of the experiments I was helping with got published in the scientific journal and... my name got mentioned!