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.