Guest Post: The Write Stuff

Emily is a student in Year 13 at a local secondary school. This week, she spent time on a work experience placement, in the Department of Psychology, with me. Here, she reflects on her experiences. 

This week I have been helping out Siân with all of the general time consuming paperwork involved with being a researcher. I’ve met several other people who work at Oxford Brookes and have been able to get a real feel for what life as a researcher is like. I’ve transcribed, summarised and organised lots of data from feedback forms to interviews.


I’d already met Siân when I’d visited Oxford Brookes for a Sixth Form Psychology conference earlier this year, it was there that Siân kindly offered to me some work experience (a really amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to study psychology). So I arrived at Oxford Brookes and made my way up to the Psychology Department. There Siân greeted me before presenting me with a large pile of A5 sheets of paper. In the tutorial room that was to be my office, Siân explained that she needed me to write up the results of the feedback sheets she’d handed out at her Friendship Workshops. Only slightly daunted by the masses of paper I sat down and got to work.

Several hours later and I finished the stack at number 400 and something (although I did start at 152). My next job was to work out the averages and summarise the data for Siân. However this would have to wait till tomorrow!


Sat down in front of the computer and set to work summarising and present the data I had collected yesterday for Siân. I impressed her with my highlighting skills (at least I think so). Siân’s next job for me was to write a leaflet for teachers who were going to have the friendship workshop done in their school. My first design was amazing. It had colour. It had style. It had some pictures.

It didn’t fit the university’s theme though.

So back to square seven whereby I copied and pasted all the information over to a university approved PowerPoint and made everything a kind of swampy green (there’s just no accounting for taste is there).

Lastly I wrote up some signs and certificates for Siân to use at her next workshop, as well as some short acting out scenarios for the kids to do (Siân had me conduct thorough research for these in the form of Charlie and Lola…).


Woohoo! Lie In!

Well a short one anyways. Joined Siân and some of her colleagues for a Writing Retreat at a Hotel on Banbury Road. Spent the afternoon writing out three short stories about intra-friendship bullying (being very careful to stay ethnic friendly). It was a rather nice way to spend the day since it was for once actually pleasant weather (although possibly too sunny).

reteat2 retreat1


Transcriptions today. Namely eleven transcriptions of five year-olds playing with Playmobil. The research was all about how children feel about other children with disabilities (e.g. being in a wheelchair, and to see how they would use the Playmobil child in a wheelchair). Lots of long silences and pauses as I typed up the cute but inane musings of children. Secretly I felt that Lego pieces should have been used, I mean Playmobil doesn’t have a movie does it!

Siân showed me the mirror tracing device and I became suitably annoyed with the thing after ten minutes of failing to write a legible version of ‘Twinkle Twinkle little star’.

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Finished writing out some more scenarios for Siân and added pictures.


More transcriptions!

This time I was doing some work for Sarah who needed transcriptions of interviews conducted with Mini E test drivers. I now know all about how absolutely lovely T’s Mini E was. Sarah also talked to me about how Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis works so I shall be able to go back to school come September and wow my teacher with my inexhaustible knowledge (and large ego ;D).

I end the day by writing up this blog post for Siân and wincing at the photos she has sneakily taken of me!

Overall I have had an excellent week and am glad to finally have something decent to put in my personal statement!!! (Aside from reading about it there is almost nothing psychology-related to put in a personal statement thanks to all sorts of ethical guidelines).

And, as last year, I have no regrets about having taken on a work experience student. Emily did impress me with her initiative, the speed at which she picked up what I was after, and with her story-writing and design skills (which we did dovetail with the university’s requirements in the end) – and with her enthusiasm for Psychology as a discipline. She’s even coming back next week as a research participant. So I haven’t put her off 🙂