As part of the Psychology Plus scheme - which offers students free, added value opportunities - second-year student Craig Williams is spending the summer working as a research assistant to a Cognitive Psychologist.
I choose this placement as not only is Cognitive Psychology one of the areas I am most interested in, but it was a rare and valuable opportunity to learn beyond basic research methods and statistics and gain practical experience of applied research.
The placement has been great.
So far, I have been involved in a research project from start to finish, which has given me valuable experience in a number of tasks, including:
I have learned something new every day and found a new passion for Psychology, and a much greater understanding.
I have become a lot more confident in my abilities. Before beginning the placement, I could be quite anxious in social situations. However, running experiments on my own and having to talk to groups of students has allowed me to overcome these anxieties.
As well as giving me valuable work experience to add to my CV, the placement has really helped my academic studies too.
I have learned to use statistical packages, correctly structure a scientific report (what goes in each section), report different findings, understand the ways of gathering literature, determine what is useful and what is not, correctly reference materials and develop an evidence-based rationale for projects.
Most importantly, it has led to me being a co-author of a conference paper and manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.