Helen @ SMI

Helen talks about how her placement here at the Sheffield Methods Institute prepared her for her final university year and her future career.

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I was extremely lucky to be chosen to take part in a placement working in the SMI building. During this time I was working under Mark Taylor on a research project looking at inequalities that exist within the creative industries. I found this experience very helpful as it gave me a realistic idea of what it’s like to work on a research project, this was helpful as I had only conducted research during my modules which when compared to a realistic project is very different. This has been a good insight for me as I am currently considering applying for a year-long placement with YouGov doing research.

This placement has been amazing, I have conducted research during this placement that I have found really interesting and will prove to be useful to wider research projects. Although we were working on a research project that had already been conducted before our placement was started, we were still able to investigate areas of the research that would be interesting for us to conduct further research into. I am interested in the effects that school can have, so while conducting research I looked at the effect that a person’s early life can have on the way they are treated in the creative industries.

Learning how to use NVivo has given me a very useful skill that will help me a lot during my final year and in any future qualitative research that I conduct"


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During this research project, I was lucky to be shown a new qualitative research programme called NVivo. This programme enabled me to analyse large amounts of qualitative data and look for common patterns that existed within all or most of the interviews very quickly. The programme also enables me to be able to conduct analysis on the words that could have a link within the interviews. One way of doing this is to create a word cloud another way is to create a word tree.

These can be very helpful as it may be able to highlight patterns within the text that you did not notice or consider before. Learning how to use this programme has given me a very useful skill that will help me a lot during my final year and in any future qualitative research that I conduct.

Being able to participate in a research placement like this one is extremely helpful with regard to my future research, but I also think that you gain a lot of transferable skills for any workplace. It gives you a real-life insight into what it is like being in a workplace, from the placement interview to the level of responsibility you are given to do your own work and meet deadlines, and to the regular 9-5 working hours that you will do in most jobs. I would definitely recommend that other students apply for these types of placements as it's an invaluable experience that will give you skills that will help later on when looking for jobs and will also give you skills that will help prepare you for job hunting and workplace environments.

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Why Numbers Matter

SMI's series on why it's important to get numbers right.

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