Alex Patterson

Alex Patterson 500

Degree: MSc Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics

Now: PhD student at Sheffield Methods Institute, the University of Sheffield 

Alex chose to study with us for his MSc in order to gain a better understanding of statistics and scientific methodology. Alex is now pursuing a PhD focusing on applying data analytics to crime data here at the University of Sheffield and the statistical programming skills he developed during his masters are proving extremely beneficial for this next stage of his studies.

"As I was finishing my undergraduate degree, I felt unsure as to whether I should pursue a career within or outside of academia. I knew that whichever choice I made, I would benefit from gaining a better understanding of statistics and scientific methodology. The Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics MSc seemed to offer what I was looking for, while also providing a link to my undergraduate field, Psychology.

"Having now finished the MSc, I can say that I was very pleased with the content. The statistics modules, lead by Dr. Chris Stride, were both intellectually stimulating and challenging, and I now have a much better grasp of the topic. The Research Methods and Systematic Review modules helped me to understand how to think more critically about the research that I read, while the latter also provided useful experience on carrying out a large-scale academic project. Finally, the ethics module led by Dr. Mark Blades was surprisingly engaging, with the coursework allowing for me to think about how researcher ethics applied to topics I was personally interested in.

"My supervisor for the MSc was Dr. Claudia Von Bastian. Her support and guidance throughout the year was brilliant, as she led me through the complex topic of Working Memory and how it is measured. My research project focused on the statistical modelling of Working Memory, which allowed me to learn to use the statistical programming language R. With her help, I was able to produce Structural Equation Models using second hand data. As I am now pursuing a quantitative PhD at Sheffield, the statistical programming skills I developed have proven extremely beneficial, and I am thankful that Claudia allowed me the opportunity to learn them.

"Overall, I would recommend the MSc to anyone interested in pursuing a career in Psychology or the Social Sciences more generally. Statistical abilities and knowledge are vital for anyone who wishes to follow these paths, and the course offered by Sheffield is a great way to improve them."