The scheme provides you with the opportunity to gain research experience. You’ll gain transferable skills that will benefit you in your academic studies and chosen career.
If you’d like to get hands-on experience working on a research project, this opportunity is ideal. If you’re looking to work on your methodological, analytic or literature-review skills, you’ll benefit from working with a particular research question.
If you’re considering postgraduate study such as a Masters or PhD, the scheme is a good testing ground for your own interests and strengths. Or, if you’re uncertain about what you want to purse, the scheme provides an opportunity to clarify your interests.
You’ll be trained to be a research assistant and conduct research with a member of staff within your research group.
Activities can involve anything from construction of stimuli, experimental design, data collection, data coding, and data analysis. You’ll also be encouraged to read the literature in the research area to support your activities.
The scheme is aimed at second year psychology students, as this is the best time to dive into a research area of your own choice. By this time, you’ll have a general sense of the different sub-fields of psychology. This background is helpful to make an informed decision about what type of research you want to be involved with. There is still flexibility, and you are not yet occupied with the specialised topic of your final year project.
Applications may still be considered from first year students depending on your suitability, and third year students are not prohibited from taking part.
The scheme is competitive and when more than one student is interested in a project, the staff member responsible will normally select the student based on their application and short interviews.
Positions can be advertised throughout the year, but are most common in the first trimester. Most research activities occur during term time, but Research Assistants can be involved with research at other times, including during the summer. In some cases, you may be taken on to support a specific research project. In other cases, you will assist on various on-going projects and research activities.
The scheme has been designed to complement and not interfere with your studies. At most, you would be expected to contribute no more than six hours a week.
Before applying, it is important to realise that taking part in the scheme involves a significant commitment and responsibility. If your work is unsatisfactory, the Assistantship can be discontinued by the responsible staff member. Assitantships will typically last a trimester, but can be renewed by mutual arrangement.
Assistantships will be advertised periodically through emails sent to the year group. You can apply for an apprenticeship by sending your CV, which should include all of your university grades so far, along with a short statement on why you are applying and what would make you a good assistant. If there is a particular staff member you would like to work with, but they have not advertised a place, you are welcome to contact them and register your interest.