Psychology research isn’t just about dogs drooling when
hearing a bell or rebellious student inmates going mad in a university
basement. There’s so much more and this is what I am going to focus on in this
blog. I want to tell you how I got into Psychology research and what it
Before going into the more hardcore stuff, I would like to
talk a bit about myself. I am a 20-year-old Romanian studying BSc Psychology at
the University of Manchester. During high-school years, my studying profile was
on hard sciences (i.e. Computer Science, Maths, Physics, Chemistry), and I only
had one year when I was studying Psychology so it wasn’t intense at all. I did
further studying alongside what we were taught in class and I took part in a
county-level Olympiad where I achieved 4th place. In the last year
of high school, I had grown an interest in Neuroscience so I decided to apply
for the University of Manchester unique joint-honours programme – BSc Cognitive
Neuroscience and Psychology. Eventually, I chose Manchester because it was a
red-brick university and the overall living costs were cheaper than London
(which, at the time, was my dream city). All summer before coming to
university, I read a lot of Psychology-related books and articles (Freud, Jung,
Eysenck, some basic research studies, etc.). I came to university, started my
course, and after one month I have switched to the BSc Psychology course.
The first semester was hard. I didn’t exactly know what I was
supposed to do - how to look up trustworthy sources, how to reference, how to
write up an essay, what to study and read. The academic system I had just
gotten out of was completely different from the British Higher Education
system. Imagine changing the tap water from the goldfish’s bowl to distilled
water and me being the goldfish. By working my way through the referencing
guides provided by the university, paying attention to the feedback and discussing
with my academic advisor about my insecurities, I was able to feel more
confident in my studies.
My Journey into Research
At the end of the first year, I applied for a position as a
Research Assistant for a study investigating whether religion and implicit
attitudes play a part in gay men getting jobs. I had to write a cover
letter saying why I was interested in that position and show that I had the skills
needed. I had some experience in the HR field from my involvement
in societies, so I wrote about that and about my interest in social psychology
and recruitment. I also had to tailor my CV for the position by including my
research skills developed throughout 1st year’s curriculum and my
I was accepted, and over the summer I had to write
a literature review analysing previous theories and evaluating research
methods. I worked hard on it and gathered 9 pages of work - which has earned me
the appreciation of the coordinator. We started the process of testing the
participants in the second semester of the second year, as there were some
problems with the ethics of the project. As the research assistants, we guided
the participants through the research process. Unfortunately, we had to stop
when the Coronavirus situation began.
The next research project I was about to undertake, as part
of the Short Work Placement Unit, was aimed at investigating the sense of
community experienced on the BSc Psychology course. I was supposed to do a
literature review, spending some time looking at variables that might influence
this effect, and decide accordingly how the project will look like in terms of
the research methodology which thrilled me. Unfortunately, this project was put
on hold due to lockdown reasons as well. On the bright side, The University of Manchester offers a variety of research programmes and internships which I could undertake in the future, so I am not panicking.
My advice for you would be to always keep an open mind and
let yourselves be submersed by whatever you find that interests you. Explore,
research, experiment. See what appeals to you the most and pursue it
passionately. Be conscientious with your work, and always keep an open mind.
For more information, please visit these websites:
name is Minahil Qureshi and I am currently a third year medical student at the
University of Manchester, and prior to this I hold a first class degree in BSc
Clinical Sciences. It is a huge privilege to attend a Russell Group university
that is so well known for its research, and through the Manchester Medical
School, have been lucky to do my own research as part of the course.
What is the Personal Excellence Plan?
During the five years of the medical course, we undertake a module called the
‘Personal Excellence Plan’ (PEP), which becomes more advanced as each year goes
by. This is a module that we have the ability to really make our own and can
tailor it to fit our future career goals and research interests.
During my first year, I carried out a group project to create a scientific
poster about the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the possible reversal of
diabetes. I also wrote a solo report summarizing my main findings. Creating a
scientific poster is very different from the kind you may create at school, but
thankfully we had a very knowledgeable tutor who helped to facilitate our work
and guide our research in the right direction. I really enjoyed this project,
as it gave a good taste of how to create and present scientific work, and also
how to collaborate with others on research, which is so important locally and
For my second year PEP, I wrote a mini dissertation about my chosen topic: ‘The
link between mental and physical health’. I am extremely passionate about
highlighting this relationship, because knowledge of the many factors affecting
the two forms of health can help us to combat the adverse effects on our
wellbeing. My work was greatly commended by my tutor, and they asked for it to
be showcased on the website for other medical students to look to as an example.
This piece of research is definitely a noteworthy highlight for me thus far as
a medical student!
This year, I was really excited to do my third year PEP, as I had transitioned
into the clinical years of my degree, and thus the PEP was also set to be more
clinical. The work from this project had the potential to directly impact
treatments and patient care, and could have even been published in a scientific
journal or presented at an international conference! These accolades would look
brilliant on any doctor job applications in the future, and so really
emphasises how useful this PEP module is at Manchester.
I had been lucky enough to secure my first choice research project, which was
going to be based at Salford Royal Hospital in my current favourite specialty:
neurology. Neurology is all about the brain and its function, and I truly find
nothing else more fascinating, thrilling and impactful. Unfortunately, due to
COVID-19, this dream research project was cancelled.
However, I was not distraught for long, due to the wonderful kindness of my research
supervisor. Despite the fact that my supervisor is a senior neurologist on the
frontline, they took the time out to email me about the possibility of writing
a mini report that could get published! This is now something I am doing
separately from the PEP module, but this has only been possible due to the
professional networking that this module gave me the opportunity for.
I hope this report goes well so that I can repay a little bit of my supervisor’s
kindness! At the University of Manchester, it is the eagerness to teach and
generosity of talented academics that really makes the experience of being a
student here one of a kind. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Hi, my name is Abdullah. I am 21 years old and currently in
my second year studying at the University of Manchester. I study Mechanical Engineering
which I find exciting, inventive and fun! So, what is it like and what can you
do with an engineering degree?
Why I Chose Mechanical Engineering
First, let’s see the many reasons for studying it. I chose
the course so I could become an engineer primarily because I enjoy STEM subjects.
Studying engineering has enabled me to use the topics I liked the most in one
course: Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Furthermore, being an engineer provides
the opportunity to apply your knowledge to real-world situations and be
creative every day, solving real-world problems. Additionally, the rapid and
constant developments mean the subject will only become more interesting and
engineers will be more and more sought after. There are always plenty of jobs
and you will never be bored with what you do.
A Day in the Life of a Mechanical Engineering Student
On a typical day, I wake up at around 7.30 am and travel by
bus to the university which starts at 9 am most of the time. With around 6 or 7
hours at university, the day is made up of a mix of lectures and tutorials
spread over 2 campuses: Main Campus and North Campus (where engineers are
mainly based). On North Campus, lectures are always in the Renold Building. Also, there
is the George Begg Building with exceptional computer facilities. This is where
I prefer to work with friends; 2-3 hours of study is required each day. Finally,
to research for assignments, I go to North Campus’s Sackville Street Building
library for books.
In terms of work outside classes, this contains coursework,
reports based on previous lab sessions or rewatching lectures once uploaded
online to further grasp the concepts. In addition, there are tutorial sheets
that I need to attempt before the tutorial class. These are questions based on lectures
in the past week of that module then the class tutor goes through the solutions.
While this seems like a lot, there is still plenty of free time if you chose to
study Mechanical Engineering!
What Can You Do With a Mechanical Engineering Degree?
Using the Careers Service and career fairs at the
university, I have learnt about options you have after you finish the course in
lots of detail. The obvious one is to become a mechanical engineer which most
students do. Mechanical engineers are mostly hired by the aerospace, automotive
and manufacturing industries. After the course, you can also do a Master’s
degree which is another 1-year degree. With this, engineers are able to become
chartered engineers in the future which means faster career progression and increased
Surprisingly, there is considerable demand for engineering students in investment
banking too. Generally, it is working as an analyst to predict market trends
because students are taught the numerical and analytical skills applicable to
the role. Alternatively, I learnt at a university career fair that there is
also scientific research in engineering as an option but this requires an extra
Overall, I would conclude that studying Mechanical Engineering
has a lot of benefits and an extensive range of excellent career prospects that
it leads to. To learn more, details can be found on the university website in
the links below:
Hi my name’s Liz and I’m a second year PhD student in the
Geography department, where my work focuses on young people’s activism in times
of economic and political change. My research is done in collaboration with the
young engagement organisation RECLAIM, and explores the following questions: Why
might young people get involved in activism, and what kind of campaigning work
are young people doing? How does learning about politics from a young age
impact young people’s lives? And how are small charities managing after a
decade of cuts to public services?
is a Greater Manchester-based youth leadership and social change organisation
committed to supporting working class young people to have their voices heard.
Young people (aged 11 and up) working with RECLAIM campaign against a number of
issues including young people’s exclusion from political decision making, a
lack of representation within politics, and negative class stereotypes.
We know that economic cuts, also described as austerity
measures, in the UK and across parts of Europe over the last decade have had
devastating impacts on public services, and, affecting young people in
particular, youth services. These austerity measures are experienced
differently across social groups and places around the UK, and we know that
working class communities and charities have been disproportionately affected
by cuts to services and the changing funding landscape. In this context it’s
important to explore the ongoing marginalisation of young working class people
in political decision making, and how young people are campaigning and engaging
in activism in times of economic, social and political change.
of three boys on a bridge in London, one is wearing a t-shirt that says
“working class young people being seen, being heard and leading change.
My research involves working with staff and young people at
RECLAIM over a year to explore the kind of activism and campaigning young
people are doing and why, how young people feel about gaining a political
education at an early age, and what impact austerity measures have had on
RECLAIM. Each day is a bit different, but mainly the research involves going
along to events and workshops run by or for young people, going to team
meetings, hanging out in the office and doing some interviews and workshops
with staff and young people at RECLAIM. In the current global pandemic all face to face
fieldwork has stopped, and instead I am following team meetings and other
activities online and delaying some of the research with young people until the
social distancing measures are lifted and it is safe to continue with face to
I hope this research will provide some important information
about how young people are pushing for social change, what supports young
people’s activism and what acts as a barrier, and what small charities are
doing to manage a difficult funding situation.
Picture of a group of young people and RECLAIM staff and
volunteers outside Rochdale town hall holding placards.
My Route into Geography
I’ve done quite a few different things over the last 10
years and I never imagined at 18 that 10 years later I would end up doing a PhD
in Geography – as you’ll see I took quite an unusual route to get here…
I really loved languages and reading in school and I was
interested in learning about the cultures and histories of different countries so
after trawling through university prospectuses and getting advice from teachers
I decided to apply for a languages undergraduate degree. I went to Exeter
University to study French and Italian, which included a year abroad. Doing a
languages degree was great because alongside the language classes (French and
Italian grammar, speaking and translation), I also got to study French art,
Italian novels, and the history of both these countries. But the real highlight
was doing a year abroad teaching English in Rome, I made lots of friends,
visited some beautiful places, and ate A LOT of delicious pizza and ice cream!
I also did some modules outside of my degree in politics and
international relations and for the three years that I was in Exeter I was very
involved with Amnesty International and did a lot of campaigning against human
rights abuses across the world, including a lot of work on gender equality and
women’s rights, which is something I’m still passionate about.
When I left Exeter I was fortunate to get a paid internship
with a small project in London called the MsUnderstood Project, working on
young people’s experiences of gender inequality. Following this I worked
briefly as a teaching assistant in a year 1 class, and in a bookshop as a
Christmas Temp, and then got a job as a research assistant at the University of
Bedfordshire where I stayed for two and a half years. My job there involved
working with young people to think about the best ways of protecting children
from harm, and how to improve services to make sure they listen to children and
work in the best way to support children and young people.
All these experiences instilled in me a real desire to work
to support young people to have their voices heard in a variety of settings, to
make sure policies and systems work for young people, based on their expertise,
and to work to challenge
wider structural systems that typically exclude children and young people from
power and decision making. When the opportunity came up to do a PhD in
collaboration with RECLAIM, who are doing brilliant work on these issues, I
thought this be a fantastic research project to work on, and so far it
- For more information about Geography at MAnchester, visit the website: https://www.seed.manchester.ac.uk/geography
- Amnesty International UK is the organisation I first started
working with when I was a student, to find out more about their work to protect
human rights across the world you can check out their website here: https://www.amnesty.org.uk
- The MsUnderstood Project was set up to improve local and
national responses to young people’s experiences of inequality. The project has
now finished but you can find information about the project and a number of
resources on their website: http://www.msunderstood.org.uk
- The University of Bedfordshire have a number of resources,
many created in collaboration with young people, aimed at improving support for
young people who have experienced harm. You can find out more about their work
- You can find out more about RECLAIM and the brilliant
campaigning work they are doing here: https://www.reclaim.org.uk
- A recent campaign run by young people at RECLAIM was the #IfWeDidThis campaign,
you can watch the video here: https://www.reclaim.org.uk/ifwedidthis
- Kids of Colour is a Manchester-based organisation which
provides a platform for young people of colour to explore race, identity and
culture and challenge the everyday, institutionalised racism that shapes their
lives. Their website has loads of brilliant videos and information about
upcoming events (when these are back on): http://kidsofcolour.com
- If you are interested in campaigning work Campaign Bootcamp
have interesting and informative blogs, along with other resources to help you
get started: https://campaignbootcamp.org
- To keep up with me, check ut my Univerisity of Manchester page: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/elizabeth.ackerley-2.html
I'm Vicki. I'm a second year PhD student in Bioethics and Medical Jurisprudence
here at the University of Manchester. I'm also part of the Greater Manchester
Patient Safety Translational Research Centre - yes, it's a very long name! The
'translational' bit means that we are developing and testing new ideas and
approaches to patient safety. My research aims to understand how effective our
healthcare regulation system is at keeping patients safe when they leave
Before starting my PhD I studied for my undergraduate degree in
Philosophy, and a master's degree in Healthcare Ethics and Law. I had no idea
when I graduated with my Philosophy degree that I’d end up where I am now. I
worked for a charity as a Fundraising Manager and studied for my master’s
degree via distance-learning. My master’s was helpful for me in switching job
roles – after graduating I spent a few years working for the General Medical
Council, which regulates doctors in the UK. This really sparked my passion for
healthcare ethics, regulation, and patient safety!
After that I applied for my PhD, which is funded by the National
Institute of Health Research. Unlike a traditional PhD, my PhD is 'by
publication'. This means that rather than writing one huge piece of writing, I
produce a series of shorter articles to be published in academic journals. But
these articles still need to relate to each other under a common theme! At the
end, they will form the middle chapter of my PhD, sandwiched between an
introduction and a conclusion.
of the main aims of healthcare regulation is to keep patients safe. This is
done by several different regulators in the UK. Some regulate healthcare
professionals (like doctors and nurses), whilst others regulate healthcare
providers (such as hospitals). The common theme of my research is how do all of
these regulators make sure patients are kept safe when they leave hospitals?
You might be surprised to learn that leaving hospital can be a really dangerous
time for patients, especially the elderly! I’m nearly halfway through my
research but I already have several ideas for how regulators could be doing
more to keep patients safe.
A friend once said to me
that when choosing her career 'it matters that it matters'. She meant it was important that her work made
a real difference to people's lives. It’s an odd quote but it sums up how I
feel about my research! I hope that it will be useful in improving safety for
patients at a time when they should be going safely home.
a useful introduction to the variety of topics that philosophy examines, see here.
- Visit this blog by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, to learn
more about the field of bioethics.
can read about my research centre here.
- Find out more about the exciting work Greater
Manchester are doing to improve patient safety.
more information on distance-learning see here