Duncan Hamilton, BSc (Hons) Psychology (Clinical)
How one LSBU undergraduate’s research work placement into dyslexia is getting him published, and well on the road to a doctorate of his own
One of the most important elements of many LSBU degrees is a work placement. As well as providing the chance for students to put what they have learned into practice, they are also an invaluable networking opportunity.
One student currently making the most of his work placement is BSc (Hons) Clinical Psychology student Duncan Hamilton. “I’m currently on a placement as a research assistant for two senior psychology lecturers (Dr Elizabeth Newton and Dr Jamie Smith-Spark), testing people for dyslexia and their reading comprehension,” he says. “I organised it following conversations with them, as part of my degree.”
The work focuses on using an intelligence test called the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale to see how people perform and identify those with dyslexia. Participants will then carry out a series of reading comprehension tests on a variety of media using different fonts to see how those different conditions affect the comprehensions of dyslexic and non-dyslexic people.
The research is important because it concerns a relatively under-researched area of cognitive psychology. “Despite large charitable organisations in both Europe and North America, there have not been many tests considering these facets of dyslexia,” says Duncan. “This research could greatly inform this, and we would be in a strong position to publish and disseminate the research for the benefit of those living with dyslexia."
This placement is a wonderful experience for me, and I’m really pleased that I have been able to undertake it as part of my degree.
One of the elements of his work placement that has pleased Duncan the most has been the amount of autonomy he has been given. “I expected to be following orders,” he says, “but instead I have been given a lot of responsibility and trusted to get on with things. I’m really enjoying it; it’s self-directed and I’m actually leading on elements of the research now.”
As a keen researcher who is keen to undertake a doctorate of his own in the near future, Duncan was delighted to discover that another benefit to his research placement would come in the form of publication. “After the data collection and analysis, I’ll be involved in writing up sections of the paper that will be submitted for publication,” he says. “That means I’ll be published along with the two senior lecturers, which is an incredibly exciting prospect for me.”
Energy, ambition and passion
Duncan hopes that his experience will stand him in good stead for the next stage of his education, which he hopes will incorporate either a Master’s degree or a PhD of his own. “I’ve been aiming to become a clinical psychologist for a long time now, and hope to achieve that within the next five years,” he says. “I think I am in the right place to achieve that at LSBU. One of the main reasons I wanted to come here was the reputation of my supervisor, Professor Paula Reavey, but all psychology staff show so much energy, ambition and passion. I’ve been well supported too, and hope to repay those who have helped me by pursuing my dream successfully.”
Find out more about studying Clinical Psychology at LSBU.