Excerpts from past students reports on their research experience.
I worked during the summer within a research team which provided a real working environment, allowing collaboration and the sharing of ideas in a friendly and relaxed way.
We were encouraged to take an active role in every stage of the investigation, from the initial thoughts on experimental design and stimulus preparation to script writing and data collection and analysis. As a result of this I became proficient using various computer software programmes, including Presentation, Adobe Photoshop and specific functions within the MEG analysis packages.
I was delighted to have the opportunity of running the experiment and to gain invaluable experience using the unique facilities at the York Neuroimaging Centre, continually supported by leaders in this field. The knowledge I have acquired and skills I developed will no doubt aid me in my forthcoming 3rd year project, for which I have been lucky enough to be allowed to make use of the neuroimaging equipment again in an attempt to localise the M170, a neural potential consistently activated 170ms after a face is seen.
To be able to see an experiment run from essentially beginning to end was a great experience, allowing me to develop my research ideas. It was a perfect opportunity to test my own capabilities and as I intend to make applications for postgraduate study in the field of neuroscience and the experience has given me numerous transferable skills. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire studentship and felt it was a wonderful chance to be able to contribute knowledge to an area of science where there is active, international debate
The undergraduate Summer research bursary presents an opportunity of immersing an undergraduate student in an experimental psychology environment for a period of time over the summer vacation. Within these four weeks, I was able to experience how a cognitive neuroscientific research project is conducted, from start to finish. This was one of the major advantages of my particular experience. This allowed me to contribute to the experiment, at all levels of its design. Such an opportunity, particularly in a neuroimaging environment, is extremely rare, and has been of enormous benefit to my understanding of psychological research and was also helpful in confirming my desire to undertake postgraduate research upon completion of my MSc course.
During this six week placement, we used the Ring of Sound lab to measure the ability of adults and children to use asynchrony and mistuning to segregate sounds. We then pilot the study using MEG to examine the neural basis of this ability.
We presented a poster describing this work at a meeting of the British Society of Audiology. I really enjoyed the chance to meet other researchers in the field, and I was also able to chat to several people about PhD opportunities. It was very useful to be able to see what is involved in a presenting a poster at a conference.
Overall, this bursary increased my knowledge of both behavioural and neuroimaging techniques and data analysis. I enjoyed the opportunity to carry out actual research, and it gave me a very valuable insight into the day-to-day work carried out by academics. This has helped me to decide that I definitely wish to do a PhD, and given me some ideas about which areas I would like to work in. I found the placement an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
The opportunity to take part on research validating a peer review scale of aggressiveness has proved an invaluable insight into the practicalities of academic research, as well as providing me with the chance to put into practice and develop skills learnt in my undergraduate degree, particularly those related to statistical analysis of experimental data. It was a challenging experience pushing me to explore and use research tools to a far greater depth than required in the course itself, but do so in a familiar environment with a supportive supervisor was immensely rewarding. Such a real practical application of psychological knowledge and skills has provided me with the confidence to think seriously and far more realistically, about pursuing further academic research as a graduate.
I feel the experience has been very beneficial as the knowledge gained will be particularly useful for my studies of the forensic psychology advanced modules later this year, and the research skills that I have acquired will provide firm bases for further development and study in this research domain.
During my final undergraduate year I helped to collect data on children's paired associate learning, which I found to be a truly valuable experience. Not only did I discover that research could be genuinely interesting and enjoyable, but it also gave me an appreciation of research at large, and a greater interest in my degree. I really would recommend undertaking some research experience
For me, the chance to experience real research was extremely valuable. It gave me an insight into the daily routine in research, better knowledge of that area of psychology and a lot of useful skills. Needless to say, the experience also looks very good on a CV afterwards!!