Blog post by Jade Offer, Undergraduate Research Assistant (Innovative Pedagogy)
I applied to become an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) as I believed it would help me develop and learn new skills, and it did! As an accounting student, I enjoy working with numbers and that is why I initially applied. The field I choose was unrelated to my degree course and was something I knew little about: the teaching of pathophysiology to student nurses. Despite this I was fully immersed within the research and have really enjoyed my experience.
Fortunately enough I was chosen alongside a fellow student to work on a research project entitled: An Evaluation of Team-based Learning (TBL) in teaching Applied Pathophysiology to Student Nurses. Working with a fellow research assistant made the job even more fun, and was extremely helpful as we could talk and meet with each other to analyse the data, and to aid each other in inputting the data efficiently. We were welcomed into a team with the research leads; Dr Jonathan Branney and Dr Jacqueline Priego, both of whom provided amazing support for us both as we analysed and organised the research they had previously conducted. They both took time out of their schedules to teach us how to use the new research software we needed to use and made regular contact to assist us, which was greatly appreciated.
My involvement in the project
- Attend regular meeting with the team to discuss next steps
- Reading previous literature on TBL (relevant articles to our research)
- Developing spread sheets to organise relevant exam results data
- Using transcript software to analyse qualitative data
- Using SPSS to carry out statistical analysis on the quantitative data collected
- Communication Skills- Composing and delivering presentations
I also had the opportunity to be involved in SUREBU 2016, which is a showcase of research carried out by Bournemouth University students. We were both given the opportunity to present at national conferences, which we hope to attend, as it is an amazing opportunity and privilege. We have also been given the amazing opportunity to be involved in writing a professional research paper that our team hopes to get published, which is very exciting!
What I have gained
- Presentation skills- delivering a verbal presentation of our findings and how the research was conducted
- The importance of participant anonymity and the rules of handling important data
- The important of research in making future changes and trialling new ideas
- The development of a research project- from raw values to understandable statistics
- A keen interest and knowledge of Team-based Learning
- Knowledge in a new field which I would not have otherwise been exposed to
I would highly recommend applying for a URA job, it has been such a beneficial experience for me; acquiring new skills, developing existing ones and meeting and working along side motivated and friendly individuals. Immerse yourself in the research job and you will find it an invaluable experience alongside your studies.
Jade Offer, BA (Hons) Accounting and Business student, year one