Early Career Researcher News

EPS Poster Prize Interview – Clare Lally

Clare Lally won the EPS Student Poster Prize at the July 2019 EPS Meeting in Bournemouth. Clare is currently in her third year and will complete her PhD in December 2020. Alongside this, Clare is working on some analyses and manuscripts from previous projects that she worked on as a research assistant. She has also just accepted a three-month fellowship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, which will take place in 2020. Good luck Clare!

Why did you become an experimental psychologist?

I’ve always liked problem solving and trying to answer questions in the best way. I originally studied Linguistics & Phonetics at the University of Leeds, and found that my favourite modules were in Psycholinguistics and Language Processing. I had a brilliant lecturer (Dr Cat Davies) who gave me the opportunity to gain experience as a research assistant and encouraged me to apply for a psychology research assistant post with Professor Kathy Rastle. I learnt a lot from Kathy and the lab whilst working as an RA, which set me up well for my PhD. It is from these opportunities and having great people to learn from that I’ve realised that I can have a career in experimental psychology.

What advice would you give to people designing their first poster for an EPS meeting?

Keep it simple! I divided into sections (Background, Method, Results, Conclusions). After I had included all the information, I removed as much as I could so that only the necessary text was left. Try to replace text with figures wherever possible. I prioritise time on visualising the data in the best possible way, as I’ve found that people tend to look at the graphs first. Figures will also be helpful for other talks and manuscripts so it is time well spent.

How does your poster project fit into your current work or plans for the future?

The work featured in my poster was my first experience of pre-registration. I found that pre-registering the work clarified my objective and made presenting the work easy as I had thought carefully about the design and implications of multiple outcomes prior to collecting data. The results of these experiments prompted further questions, so we have opted to extend the series and pre-register follow up experiments. 

As an early career researcher, what did you get out of the EPS meeting you attended (apart from the prize!)?

My favourite thing about EPS meetings is how friendly the community is, and I gained a lot from discussing my work with other researchers in the field. It has been great to hear about the work that other labs are doing and makes me excited for opportunities after I have completed my PhD. The EPS Bournemouth meeting had a fantastic range of talks in my area of research (reading), and Professor Dorothy Bishop’s Bartlett lecture and accompanying symposium on improving research gave me lots to think about.

How do you think the EPS could support you with your career plans or plans for projects in the future?

I think that EPS is fantastic at supporting early career researchers. I have been lucky to attend many meetings, as registration is free. Applying for Grindley Grants has also made travelling much more affordable, which I am really grateful for. The findings that I presented at EPS have led to more interesting questions, so I would also consider applying for a small grant to do some follow-up work at the end of my PhD.

Early Career Researcher News

EPS Poster Prize Interview – Abbie Millett

Abbie Millett won the EPS Student Poster Prize at the April 2019 EPS Meeting in Manchester. Abbie sat her VIVA on in July and passed with minor corrections at the University of Essex. Not having quite finished her corrections yet, Abbie has until the 8th November to finish them and is currently on the last few / proof reading. We wish you luck Abbie! As well as this, Abbie is working as a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Suffolk.

Why did you become an experimental psychologist?

Throughout my time in higher education I was exposed to a number of inspirational experimental psychologists. These figures demonstrated to me what is it like to be a researcher, both in terms of the good aspects of the role, as well as the bad. I was also fortunate to be supervised by two of these figures within my BSc dissertation and my MSc dissertation. As a result, I decided that continuing my own research, especially as I still had, and still have, a number of unanswered questions, was the next step for me. Consequently, I went on to complete my PhD, and am now a lecturer and am very much looking forward to continuing to answer the questions that I have yet to experiment on.

What advice would you give to people presenting their first poster at an EPS meeting?

I would say to not be afraid to ask questions to anyone at the meeting, to mix as much as possible, and speak to others in your field as well as those that only loosely relate to your work. One of the greatest things about the EPS meetings is that there are a number of different experimental psychologists in one room. As a result, you are to able discuss your work with someone who is focused on something completely different to you, and will therefore have a completely different angle of interpretation. They may even offer a new idea or fresh concept for that interesting finding that you would not have been able to think of whilst embedded in the literature of your field.

How does your poster project fit into your current work or plans for the future?

The poster I presented at the Manchester meeting in April 2019 was the preliminary findings for my PhD thesis, which criticised the spontaneous perspective taking theory. I have since developed an alternative account of this theory, within the narrative of my PhD thesis. The next step in this line of research is for my alternative account to be assessed in terms of the different methodological paradigms and theoretical disputes of perspective taking.

As an early career researcher, what did you get out of the EPS meeting you attended (apart from the prize!)?

Attending the EPS meeting was invaluable in terms of developing my confidence as a researcher and giving me the chance to present my work. It was also a great opportunity to discuss my work with others in different research areas, as well as instigating new ideas whilst listening to others presenting at the meeting.

How do you think the EPS could support you with your career plans or plans for projects in the future?

The EPS could support me by allowing me to present my next set of experiments at a future meeting, once I have finished data collection. I will also be applying for an EPS Small Grant to continue the research project mentioned above. This grant will aid in the payment of participants as well as to obtain the necessary software to continue to run the experiments within my new post in my new institution.

Early Career Researcher News

EPS Poster Prize Interview – Kerri Bailey

Kerri Bailey won the EPS Student Poster Prize at the January 2019 EPS Meeting in London. Kerri is currently writing her thesis and plans to submit around Christmas 2019, with a view of a viva early in 2020. As of 1st October 2019, Kerri has taken up a temporary Research Associate position at the University of East Anglia until the end of December 2019. We wish you the best of luck for the both of these endeavours!

Why did you become an experimental psychologist?
When I completed my undergraduate degree, I realised that I wanted to continue in academia because I was very passionate about conducting research and I really enjoyed learning about the function of the human brain. I realised that this was not possible without continuing down the route of Masters and PhD, because nearly all other options for me involved going in to industry, which I did not want to do.

What did you enjoy about presenting your poster?
I enjoyed the interactions I had with the people who attended my poster for a number of reasons. First, I had read a very relevant paper surrounding my topic only about one week prior to attending this conference, and I was very pleased to find out that the first author of this paper came to my poster. We had a very interesting discussion about my work and the networking side of this poster session was particularly beneficial for me. Second, I included a part of my analysis that I was stuck with on my poster. I explained the problem to people who came up to my poster and I had one person offer some very useful ideas for how I could overcome this problem. Therefore, I enjoyed the session both for the contacts I gained and for the advice I was given regarding how to overcome an analysis problem which I had not previously thought of.

How does your poster project fit into your current work or plans for the future?
The work I was presenting on my poster was part of my PhD project. I am extremely passionate about the area I study and I wish to continue in a similar area in a post-doctoral position once I have submitted my PhD. Therefore, it is very relevant for my future plans.

As an early career researcher, what did you get out of the EPS meeting you attended (apart from the prize!)?
Networking was the main benefit for me at this meeting, which happened during the poster session. I met some extremely relevant people in my field of study and gained contacts through this. Also, by attending this meeting, I was happy to realise that EPS could offer me additional funding for an external conference. Therefore, I was able to attend another conference and present a follow up to the work I presented at EPS, which I would not have been able to do had EPS not had this grant scheme in place.

How do you think the EPS could support you with your career plans or plans for projects in the future?
I think any grants which the EPS can offer would help me profusely, as I am in the final stages of my PhD and am about to start applying for post-doctoral positions. Depending on where I end up next, the Small Grants offered by EPS may be beneficial for me if I have a research idea which needs funding. I also plan to attend more EPS conferences in the future, therefore receiving a Grindley Grant would help me with my attendance to this. I am also very interested in the Study Visit Grants that EPS offer, as this could be very helpful for me to develop my skill set at another research institution and gain contacts who I could potentially work with after the study visit.