Monday, 14 September 2015

Getting to grips with visual data

Over the summer the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire hosted five Nuffield Foundation research placement students. Last week Chelsea reflected on her time in CRIPACC (click here to read), and this week Susanna has written a guest blog post about her research placement exploring visual data…

Over my summer holiday, I dedicated four weeks working under the supervision of the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC), undertaking a project called ‘Content analysis of user generated images relating to older people and food’. During this placement, I was given a range of data such as images and videos gathered by the participants aged 60 and above. The data were collected from 21 households. The images had to be categorised into main and sub-themes after I’d familiarised myself with the method of content analysis from the books provided for me. For example I decided that photos showing food should have descriptive sub-themes such as healthy, unhealthy, home cooked and takeaway meals. This strategy made the differences amongst the images more evident. One of the aims of this research was to highlight if there were common trends present amongst the data. For instance, themes relating to older people going to bingo and social club gatherings were dominant whilst the theme of ‘grow your own’ fruit and veg was not as popular.

Below is an example of how I categorised one image taken by a participant’s wife (his face is blurred so that he cannot be identified):

My placement begun at 10:00 am and ended officially by 3:00 pm every day. As it was the summer holidays some of my supervisors were away, therefore as well as face to face meetings I could also email or Skype with them to ensure I received good advice to help my understanding of the research.

As a result of this four week placement, I have had the opportunity to improve on my confidence, working with others and as part of a team in a professional setting (as I worked in an office). I also worked alongside experts in their field of work. I have gained valuable insight concerning the field of health research. I was challenged to meet set deadlines as well as working independently to ensure these demands were met to a good quality standard. Moreover, I had the opportunity to speak to both a nutritionist and a dietician who provided me with insightful advice concerning their occupations (as it is a field I am interested in).

Furthermore, I had the opportunity to make new friends, increase my network and gain overall experience working with CRIPACC and the Nuffield Foundation. This experience was such a privilege and a pleasure.


Monday, 7 September 2015

My Nuffield Foundation research placement

Over the summer the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire hosted five Nuffield Foundation research placement students. Below is a guest post from Chelsea reflecting on her time in the department and the independent research she conducted...

Throughout the summer, I have been taking part in a Nuffield research placement at the University of Hertfordshire.

My project focused on investigating the nutritional information dietitians across England are using with their patients who have type 2 diabetes. This involved reviewing and implementing a previously piloted electronic survey via Survey monkey. In order to achieve my aims, I carried out field work such as meeting with a community pharmacist, who shared her views on the lack of a platform between dietitians and pharmacists. I also liaised with dietitians and staff at the university who were very supportive in reviewing my modified survey and making helpful suggestions and improvements. After 21 days, the online survey was closed and the findings analysed. The key trends were spotted and comparisons made.

It was a great opportunity to be able to get a placement on the Nuffield research scheme, as it provided me with experience through a hands on approach. I got an opportunity to carry out an entire study from start to finish whilst contributing to national research on a topic that affects 1 in 17 adults in the UK (Diabetes UK). I worked alongside professionals who have been noticed internationally for their research. Not only did the placement provide me with an insight into the field of research (an aspect of healthcare which I had never previously considered), but it also provided me with experience in a working environment. The placement at the university also equipped me with skills that would be useful when going into university such as a literature searching session on external electronic devices.

During my time at the University of Hertfordshire, I worked in the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC).The centre was very welcoming of me in my first week and have continuously shown that support throughout my placement. I even had the opportunity of attending their annual picnic where I had a chance to find out more about the work carried out in CRIPACC, as well as to meet a lay person who has previously worked with CRIPACC. Overall my experience here was truly insightful.

This research placement has really encouraged me to continue to pursue a career in the field of science and has shown me the variety of avenues available for me if I continue to work hard.