Monday, 31 October 2016

A Nuffield Foundation placement student joined HBSC England

During summer 2016 the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire hosted two Nuffield Foundation research placements. Nuffield Foundation placements are awarded to gifted and talented students who have just finished their AS levels and are interested in pursuing careers in STEMM subjects. The placement allows the student to undertake an independent research project. La-Dantai joined the HBSC England team to conduct her research project on self-harm in adolescence, while Umme's research evaluated online dietary information available for people with type 2 diabetes.

We are pleased to report that both La-Dantai and Umme were awarded Gold Crest 1 awards for their independent research projects. Many congratulations to both of them! 

La-Dantai has written the following blog post reflecting on her time in the department...

I would first like to start by showing a great appreciation towards everybody in the CRIPACC department of the University of Hertfordshire. Not only were they really welcoming, but they also offered a hand whenever I required a little bit of help to make this project even better

My project included research into associated factors with self-harming in adolescence, this involved identifying both protective and risk factors, as well as using the HBSC survey that is produced nationally to gather data.

Immediately I was introduced to new concepts, such as a literature search - it may sound easy, but there are a few minute details that you must really remember to find the best sources of literature - and literature reviews. Thankfully my mentor was extremely helpful when she saw me struggling and, after helping, set up for me to have a meeting with someone who could show me in the in’s and out’s of literature reviews.

After that, reviewing and structuring my report was fairly easy. There was a hiccup when I was required to process the data, as the program that University of Hertfordshire uses in this department to analyse data, I hadn’t used before. Again, my mentor was very helpful and took me through step by step on how to get the most accurate and reliable results from the data.

The placement, which took place over 4 weeks in the summer, was a very informative and fun experience. Not only was there a picnic within the department - I was super happy about that - but it exposed me to what research is, how aims and hypothesises are produced, the work required to find literature to support or disprove a statement. It gave me a look into what being a researcher is and has contributed towards my decision on the degree I wish to do.

These skills I have gained - the ability to literature search, to analyse data with great accuracy, being able to produce a standardised method to carry out research to form reliable results and writing a report (the most important one!) - will be ever so important in University.

I am very grateful for the testing of my time management skills by having to be on time every morning and complete tasks by a specific time and date - for example, meetings with my mentor would be planned and a specific task such as my introduction would have to be completed by then.

Alongside this, my organisational skills and communication skills were tested, it was important to be clear when asking a question and important to write fluently, as well as have all my information designated to a specific folder in order to not get confused!

The placement has contributed to my development by testing my abilities and proving that I am capable of anything new if I put my mind to it. I am very grateful for that.


CRIPACC has hosted a number of Nuffield Foundation placements since 2013. Chelsea, Marium and Susanna have each written a blog post about their placements during summer 2015.

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