Produced by Katy
from United Kingdom
Master by Research
As part of the first generation of cyberpsychology undergraduate students, I was already brainstorming ideas for my final-year project in my second year. I was so excited to apply something I really enjoyed in the world of technology (preferably involving social media) and turn it into my own piece of research.
So, what is the final year project?
In the final year, every psychology student has to do an original piece of research in a chosen area of psychology. This project runs throughout the entire year and gives you a chance to apply all the writing, critical thinking and research methods skills you’ve built on in your first two years. It involves doing background research, submitting a proposal, doing online training, getting ethics approval, designing materials or questionnaires, recruiting participants, running experiments, conducting analysis, designing a poster, and of course, the final write-up.
Plus, all of these things are what real psychology researchers and our own BU lecturers do, so the professional applications are worth the effort!
Do you have any help with your project?
Of course! Towards the end of your second year, you get to meet and discuss your project with potential project supervisors to figure out if you are compatible with each other. This could depend on your specialism (e.g., cyber) and the research methods you want to use (e.g., quantitative or qualitative).
From this, you choose the best supervisor to advise you on your project from their own experiences and research focus. We also had so many support workshops throughout the year for time management, types of data analysis, managing stress, writing and formatting, the list goes on!
I decided to focus my project on social media, specifically ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) content and students’ experiences with the content. I love to watch ASMR videos on TikTok all the time, and after doing some background research, I found it could be used to help people in different ways. Luckily my proposal was approved very early, so I was even more excited to recruit fellow students and prepare to conduct my interviews.
My project idea must have been an interesting one because I remember my interview slots filling up in less than a day, and it was such a fulfilling experience for me to learn about different students’ experiences with ASMR. This project was so memorable for me because it took something I already knew, and by researching it, I had a completely new perspective on it and how helpful it can be for young people’s mental health and well-being (especially students!).
At the moment, I’m working on my application for an MRes (Masters by Research) postgraduate degree here at BU to develop my research skills even further. I’m also attending the British Psychological Society Cyberpsychology Section Conference this summer so I can start networking and learn how to become a cyberpsychology researcher one day. Wish me luck!