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Education, Teaching and learning, Trainees and training

University pilots young researcher scheme for A-level students

Dr Liam Satchell, Dr Amy Warhurst, Dr Kirsty Ross and Charlotte Briton developed the Young Researcher Programme (YRP) as an outreach activity for A-level psychology students.

04 September 2023

The University of Winchester hopes to expand a project to help sixth-formers develop research skills, after the completion of a successful pilot project.

A group of A-level students from South Wilts Grammar School in Salisbury recently received their Young Researcher Certificates from Dr Liam Satchell, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University.

Liam, together with his department colleagues Dr Amy Warhurst and Dr Kirsty Ross, and Charlotte Briton from South Wilts Grammar, developed the Young Researcher Programme (YRP) as an outreach activity for students studying A-level psychology.

YRP members received training on how to do ethical and effective research and were then supervised to conduct high-quality psychological experiments. Satchell said: 'Training young people in thinking critically, ethically, and technically with data and scientific research is good for their wider personal development as well as their future careers. Not only have the students been really engaged, but they have also successfully collected data from more than 200 young people across two studies and yielded results that replicate and expand previous research. We're very excited about this, as is the partner school.'

Charlotte Briton, teacher of Psychology at South Wilts Grammar, added: 'As there is no coursework component in our Psychology A-level, taking part in this initiative gives students real experience in how science works and allows them insight into "behind the scenes" of the psychological research that we cover in class. I look forward to continuing work with the University on the YRP and am excited to see its evolution in future years.'

Helene Ansell, from the British Psychological Society's Education and Training Board, said: 'This is really interesting and exciting work. I have done something similar when teaching, linked with Keele University. This sort of outreach work is brilliant for pre-university students to truly begin to understand the process of research, data collection, analysis and ethics. I compliment them all on doing this work… I wish more universities and schools were able to broker similar liaisons through their various University outreach groups.'