By Carly Mann //
My UROS research project was conducted to find out whether class start times influence student sleep behaviours the previous night, such as bed time, sleep time and sleep duration. This data was collected using a questionnaire with demographic, lifestyle, sleep behaviour and class time questions for students who had a lecture that same day.
When being asked to conduct a study over the summer with a supervisor, I was eager to take the opportunity as it is a good experience for a future in the field of Psychology. At the beginning I was slightly worried about data collection as I had to collect 160 questionnaires within a 10-day period during exam season, however, I made it possible by managing my time and building the confidence to approach multiple students a day, something I thought I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish.
After collection, I spent a couple of weeks cleaning data which enabled me to learn a variety of new skills regarding statistics; the majority of which are not taught in Research Skills lectures, such as creating new variables in SPSS with formulas and coding. At first, I found it all quite difficult to understand, however, I received plenty of help from my supervisor who took the time to clearly explain the aspects that I was struggling with. It also became clear how much harder data analysis was when conducting a professional study, rather than analysing data within Research Skills assignments.
Despite how challenging and daunting the data analysis was, this project gave me the opportunity to learn essential statistical skills that will be extremely beneficial during my third-year dissertation and in postgraduate study. In addition, whilst writing the research paper, it was a different experience compared to writing a Research Skills assignment due to the vast amount of feedback from my supervisor regarding corrections and how to make the paper sound more professional.
Overall, although I had lots of help from my supervisor, the UROS research project was an extremely independent commitment as I didn’t have any help from other students which you receive when writing papers for Psychology during first and second year. Therefore, as a result, I have gained important skills required in order to conduct a research project fairly independently, hopefully benefiting my experience with my dissertation in final year.
*To view Carly’s project poster, please click on the thumbnail below: