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Research Assistant in Early Maths Development
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I decided to do a placement to gain practical skills within Psychology and also because I want to pursue a career in Educational Psychology. I really enjoyed my Developmental Psychology module throughout first and second year so when I saw this placement I thought it would be really interesting.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Department email

Application process

I had to submit my CV and cover letter which was accepted. Following that I had a Skype interview with the lead researcher and her supervisor and I was contacted later that day offering me the placement.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

I'd enjoyed my developmental lectures and so thought this would be a good team to work within to gain more knowledge and experience.

Main responsibilities

I had to extract data from research papers for a systematic review on the relationship between home learning activities and children's maths ability. Following this, I then produced a poster discussing what I had found. I had biweekly reading groups and had to choose some of the papers for the group to read. I also posted information and activities for children and parents on the Sheffield Cognitive Development social media pages.

Typical day

Typically I would go through the papers found for the systematic review and decide whether they met the required inclusion criteria. The papers that could be included I read and extracted information such as the participants, the different measures and results. Throughout the week I would also read the paper for the reading group and post on the social media pages.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I enjoyed reading the different research papers and becoming more familiar with the research area itself. I also enjoyed the reading groups as it was a good chance to talk to academics with more knowledge and experience from me and learn from them.

Challenging aspects

Occasionally some research papers had quite complex methods or analysis so it sometimes took a bit longer to understand them and extract the relevant findings. In the beginning when I was also less familiar with certain methods it was harder to know what information I needed to take out from the papers.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

For my course I often have to read research papers for essays so I certain skills in reading academic papers I used during my placement in order to find the information I needed. I also used my knowledge from my research methods module to understand some of the methods and analyses used.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

It has influenced my career choice as I'm more certain that I want to pursue a career within Educational or Developmental Psychology.

As a result of your placement/internship, what are your next steps in planning what you want to do after graduation?

After graduation I would like to gain some experience working in a school or nursery and then go on to do a PhD in Educational Psychology

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Organise your time especially if you have a set amount of hours to work. Having a timetable at the beginning of the week can be really helpful.

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Form completed: 03 Jul 2020

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