newPsychLogo

    SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES - DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

    VOLUNTARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT SCHEME

    The Voluntary Research Assistant Scheme (VRAs) is an experience offered to UG students (year 2 to 4) enrolled in a Psychology programme at Heriot Watt University.

    Aims

    1. Increase your employability profile by including the scheme in your CV
    2. Develop further your transferable skills in terms of data handling and reports preparation
    3. Get greater knowledge of a research environment, including team work, and of the research environment in general
    4. Get hands-on research experience on a specific topic of Psychology of your interest


    How?

    By taking part in a research project led by a staff member.

    Minimum duration: 2 months; Maximum duration: 12 months
    Minimum hours/week: 2 hours; Maximum hours/week: 8 hours

    The number of hours undertaken will depend on the time of year and your commitments in relation to your studies and should be discussed and agreed with your supervisor.

    Is there a selection process?
    The VRA experience is agreed with the supervisor. If the supervisor accepts the application and there are places available, then no further selection is needed. If there are more applications than places available, then there is a selection process.

    The selection is based on:

    • CV (qualifications acquired up until the application and extracurricular relevant activities)
    • Personal statement highlighting the reason for pursuing this opportunity ( e.g. experience useful for pursuing Masters programme or PhD position; experience useful for developing particular skills; experience useful for deciding between clinical and research career)
    • Match between abilities-project (e.g. if project requires use of SPSS independently, unlikely to benefit year 2 student).

    If you are interested in becoming a VRA for any of the projects below, please email the relevant staff contact copying in VRA Coordinator: Dr Mel McKendrick M.McKendrick@hw.ac.uk

     

    Project

    Validation of a potential training paradigm for student presentation skills

    Description  The aim of the current study is to trial a combination of exposure and cognitive restructuring in a training paradigm with live social performance situations (student presentations) in order to provide the basis for research development in a virtual training application programme                                                       
    VRA Role

    We are looking for students who can help running the study which will involve groups sessions where students engage in presentation practice. You will help with administering feedback exercises and in analysing speech, motion and eye tracking data. 

    Start Date March 2019
    Duration The study will involve 15 two hour sessions and the analysis period will extend some weeks after this but your involvement will depend on your role. 
    Benefits to VRA You will gain experience of working with groups of participants in a lab based study and learn about social anxiety in relation to speech content, gestures and attention. You will also gain knowledge of analysis and statistics depending on your role. 
    Staff Contact Dr Mel McKendrick
    Email M.McKendrick@hw.ac.uk

     

    Project

    Playing for boosting reading

    Description  Learning to read can be a hard and laborious task, especially when the child is underachieving and feeling the pressure of lagging behind. Having difficulty in learning to read can lead to demotivation and discouragement for engaging in reading activities                                                         
    VRA Role

    We are looking for an enthusiast person, keen to work independently and to interact with children to pilot a set of on-line games aiming at boosting reading in children at the early stage of primary school.

    Start Date To be agreed with supervisor
    Duration We request that you be available 6 hours per week.
    Benefits to VRA To be discussed with supervisor
    Staff Contact Dr Maria Garraffa
    Email m.garraffa@hw.ac.uk

     

    Project  

    Adaptation of the Comprehensive Aphasia Test in Malay and Italian

    Description  Are you a student in Psychology native speaker of Malay or Italian? Are you interested in Neuropsychology and Language disorders? The LangLife Lab is interested in adapting the Comprehensive Aphasia Test  (CAT; Porter, Howard and Swinborn, 2004) in Malay and Italian, as part of a bigger research project.
    VRA Role

    We are looking for a student who would like to gain experience in testing language abilities in adults and to learn psychometric properties related to language.

     

    Start Date To be agreed with supervisor
    Duration We request that you be available 8 hours per week, but we are also interested in arranging placements during the summer break. Please note that some days will be spent working out of office.
    Benefits to VRA  To be discussed with supervisor
    Staff Contact Dr Maria Garraffa
    Email m.garraffa@hw.ac.uk

     

    Project

    Media communication experience at LangLife Lab

    Description  

    At the LangLife Lab, we offer volunteer experience for students interested in media and communications and to use their knowledge on the Psychology of language as a strategic concept.

                                          
    VRA Role

    The LangLife Lab is interested in promoting language acquisition in special circumstances and we would like this message to receive media coverage not only in the UK but internationally as well. Therefore we are looking for a student who would like to gain more experience in running advertising campaigns, maintaining public relations and writing press releases.

    Start Date  To be agreed with supervisor
    Duration We request that you be available 8 hours per week, but we are also interested in arranging placements during the summer break. Please note that some days will be spent working out of office.
    Benefits to VRA  To be discussed with supervisor
    Staff Contact Dr Maria Garraffa
    Email m.garraffa@hw.ac.uk

     

    Project 

    Objective, automatic measures of depression – can data from a mobile phone be related to depression?

    Description                  Participants will be asked to complete some baseline measures assessing cognition, personality and mood. All participants will need to download an app for their phone.
    VRA Role
    • Check the tests on Qualtrics
    • Help recruit participants (approx. 80 students)
    • Answer any queries regarding downloading the app or the tests on Qualtrics
    Start Date                         The beginning of the semester will be the busiest as this is when the recruitment and setting of the study takes place.
    Duration  The post is for approximately 4 weeks.
    Benefits to VRA The VRA will gain experience in measures of depression, emotion, personality and cognition.
    Staff Contact             Dr Mary E. Stewart
    Email M.E.Stewart@hw.ac.uk

     

    Project

    Driver Distraction

    Description An existing dataset concerning self-report driver distraction behaviours requires analysis.                                                                    
    VRA Role Investigation and data analysis.
    Start Date Beginning of the semester
    Duration 6 months
    Benefits to VRA Development of practical data collection and analysis skills.
    Staff Contact Dr Terry Lansdown
    Email T.Lansdown@hw.ac.uk

     

     

     

     

     

    © 2019 Heriot-Watt University. Psychology Department. All Rights Reserved.