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School of Social Sciences Studentships 


Introduction

The Department of Psychology is offering three MRes fees-only studentships in the following three areas for a February 2019 start. Interested applicants should choose one project outline and are advised to discuss their application with the named supervisor[s]… More details on the application process can be found here:

 

HEALTH & CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY



1. Sexual violence against women by unregulated sperm donors

Plus Icon Project Description

Increasing economic and health inequalities (e.g. reduced NHS funding, limited personal finances for private clinics) restrict women in accessing assisted conception via the medico-legal structures of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).  Consequently, increasing numbers of women are resorting to obtaining sperm donations from men on unregulated websites and social networking sites.  Initial data (McQuoid, 2015) suggests that one in two of these women are abused by unregulated sperm donors, who insist on “Artificial Insemination Plus” (AI+), i.e., the woman sexually stimulates the man to produce the sperm sample, “Partial Insemination” (PI), i.e. the man partially inserts his penis into the woman, or “Natural Insemination” (NI), i.e. the man has unprotected sex with the woman to impregnate her.  These men often sexually ‘groom’ women in a vulnerable position to convince them that “PI”/“NI” doesn’t constitute sex and that these will be more effective than artificial insemination, or otherwise mislead women, agreeing to artificial insemination but then demanding AI+/PI/NI.  Some online sperm donors also pressure women to send sexual photos/messages, demand high financial remuneration and/or sexually assault women pregnant with their sperm.  This abuse disproportionately affects marginalised women, e.g. limited economic means, intellectual/psychosocial disabilities, young/sexual minority women.  This is an important, but very new, area of research, and we are seeking an impassioned and high-achieving student who will work with us on this project.

This project is likely to involve exploring whether women are willing to share their experiences of sexual coercion/violence by unregulated sperm donors, and if so, to hold in-depth interviews with three to five women to better understand their experiences, the impacts of these experiences, and their support needs.  This is likely to involve narrative interviews/analysis, though interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is also a possibility.  Creative and visual ways of collecting data and disseminating the findings are also welcomed.  If it is not possible to locate enough women willing to share their experiences, the project could also include an analysis of experiences posted online/in the media.  If there is time, a few exploratory online interviews with men advertising themselves as sperm donors could also be considered.

Plus Icon Supervisory team
Dr Tamara Turner-Moore (Senior Lecturer in Psychology) and Professor Georgina Jones (Professor of Health Psychology), Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University.
Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to two A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place Monday 3rd December 2018

2. Employment experiences in university students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Plus Icon MRes Outline
Many young adults with ASD struggle with the transition from education to employment and may be particularly vulnerable in the unstructured time after university and before employment. Low levels of paid employment (Shattuck et al., 2012) and significantly lower wages (Roux et al., 2013) have been observed in graduates with ASD, despite many individuals on the autism spectrum being willing and able to work. This study aims to investigate employment experiences in university students with ASD.
Plus Icon Supervisory team

Dr Lisa Harkry: l.c.harkry@leedsbeckett.ac.uk  & Dr Eleanor Willard: e.willard@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Plus Icon Methodology

Data can be explored using a qualitative approach, through semi-structured interviews with university students with ASD. Recruitment can take place through regional university campuses or disability departments. The study can also be explored through a quantitative approach. The methodologies proposed are reasonably flexible (within student and researcher expertise) due to the target sample (university students with ASD). 

If you are interested in applying for this project and would like an informal chat to talk through your proposal, or further information, please contact the Director of Studies: Dr Lisa Harkry at 0113 812 6817 or l.c.harkry@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

Plus Icon References
  • Howlin, P., & Taylor, J. (2015). Addressing the need for high quality research on autism in adulthood. Autism, 19(7), 771-773.
  • Roux, A., Shattuck, P., Cooper, B., Anderson, K., Wagner, M., & Narendorf, S. (2013). Postsecondary employment experiences among young adults with an autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(9), 931-939.
  • Shattuck, P., Narendorf, S., Cooper, B., Sterzing, P., Wagner, M., & Taylor, J. (2012). Postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics, 129(6), 1042-1049.
Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to two A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place Monday 3rd December 2018

3. Investigating cancer and stroke (ICAS)

Plus Icon Methodology

This study is conducted through qualitative design. Drawing from the local stroke associations patients experiencing both stroke and cancer, survivors, carers and/or HPs will be interviewed/attend focus groups to discuss the unique care needs and challenges in daily living and in communication with HPs.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated student to work with us in this new and important area. 

If you are interested in applying for this project, and would like an informal chat or further information about it, or to talk through your proposal, please contact the supervisory team

Dr Trish Holch  0113 8124950  t.holch@leedsbeckett.ac.uk   
or
Dr Suzie Wang  011381255780 x.wang@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Plus Icon MRes outline

There are over 360,000 new cancer cases (Cancer research UK) and over 100,000 strokes in the UK each year (Stroke association UK). It is not surprising with this prevalence that some people will suffer cancer and comorbid cerebrovascular accident (CVA) such as stroke or transient ischaemic attach (TIA). A recently conducted scoping review revealed that the risk of stroke is high for people who have an existing cancer diagnosis (Arthurs et al 2016; Kuan et al 2014) and an increased risk of brain cancer incidence in stroke patients (Chen et al 2017). Worryingly, comorbid stroke and cancer patients are more likely to be hospitalised (Sanossian et al 2013).  Following hospitalisation, cancer patients with comorbid CVA were more likely to visit primary care and non-oncology specialists (Snyder et al., 2015). However, the unique challenges of managing these two conditions has not yet been adequately explored in patients or their carers, or from the perspectives of health professionals (HP).  

This project aims to explore the experience of having a diagnosis of both cancer and stroke for survivors, and the experience of providing care for cancer patients with comorbid CVA from the perspectives of carers or HPs. Particularly we would like to explore the unmet needs from their perspective.

Plus Icon References

Arthurs, E, Timothy P. Hanna, TP, Zaza, K, Peng, Y & Stephen F. Hall, SF. (2016) Stroke After Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer: What Is the Risk? International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics , 96(3), 589–596

Braun, Virginia, & Clarke, Victoria. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Chen, C.W., Chen,g T.J., Ho, C.H., Wang. J.J., et al (2017) Increased risk of brain cancer incidence in stroke patients: a clinical case series, population-based and longitudinal follow-up study Oncotarget. 8:10

Cancer Research UK (2014). UK Adult incidence http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/incidence#heading-Zero

Kuan, Ai-Seon, Teng, Chung-Jen, Wu, Hua-Hsi, Su, Vincent Yi-Fong, Chen, Yung-Tai, Chien, Sheng-Hsuan, . . . Liu, Chia-Jen. (2014). Risk of ischemic stroke in patients with ovarian cancer: a nationwide population-based study. BMC Medicine, 12, 53-53. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-12-53

McKevitt, C., Fudge, N., Redfern, J., Sheldenkar, A., Crichton, S., Rudd, A. R., . . . Wolfe, C. D. (2011). Self-reported long-term needs after stroke. Stroke (00392499), 42(5), 1398-1403 1396p. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.598839

Samosata, N, Djabiras, C, William J. Mack, WJ, MD, & Ovbiagele, B. (2013) Trends in Cancer Diagnoses among Inpatients Hospitalized with Stroke. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, 22 (7), 1146–1150.

Snyder, C.F., Frick, K.D., Herbert, R.J. et al. (2015). Comorbid Condition Care Quality in Cancer Survivors: Role of Primary Care and Speciality Providers and Care Coordination. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 9(4), 41-49. doi: 10.1007/s11764-015-0440-4

State of the nation: Stroke statistics (2017). https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/state_of_the_nation_2017_final_1.pdf

Plus Icon Supervisory team
Dr Trish Holch and Dr Suzie Wang 
Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to two A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place Monday 3rd December 2018

4. Exploring factors influencing cancer awareness and help seeking for cancer symptons in teengage and young adults (TYA)

Plus Icon Methodology

Using quantitative methods this MRes will explore TYA cancer awareness, help seeking behaviour and risk perception using the YPCAM and focus on identifying and determining the impact of variables influencing these factors (above) in a large sample of young people.  It is important to explore the impact of key demographic variables including age (explore variations in lower and younger TYA), along with the potential impact of gender and ethnic status.   

We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated student to work with us in this important area.

If you are interested in applying for this project, and would like an informal chat or further information about it, or to talk through your proposal, please contact the Director of Studies, Dr. Trish Holch at 0113 8124950  or   t.holch@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Plus Icon MRes Outline

Over 2,000 new diagnoses of TYA cancer are made each year (Cancer Research UK 2014) however many struggle to identify the most common cancers (Kyle et al., 2013) and have significant emotional barriers to help seeking (Hubbard et al 2014; Holch et al 2018 1; Morley et al 2018).  In an effort to improve awareness and understand these barriers the Young People’s Cancer Awareness Measure (YPCAM) was developed by the University of Manchester and the Teenage Cancer Trust (Smith et al., 2016).  This MRes will explore which factors may influence young peoples’ likelihood to engage in help seeking behaviour for cancer symptoms. Factors warranting further exploration are: 

  • Risk taking and risk assessment (De Haan et al 2011) previously we have determined a complex relationship between risk behaviour and risk assessment and cancer awareness (Holch 2018 2). 

  • Self-efficacy (SE) is the perceived ability to perform actions that will lead to desired health-outcomes (Schwarzer & Fuchs, 1995; Schwarzer & Jerusalem 1995). SE is a key component of most major health models (Conner & Norman 1995).

  • Behavioural intentions (Ajzen, 1991) and perceived behavioural control components of the Theory of Planned behavior (TPB) (Conner & Armitage 1998).

Plus Icon References

Key papers indicated*

*Ajzen, I. (1991). The Theory of Planned Behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179-211.

Cancer Research UK. (2014). Teenagers and young adult’s cancers incidence. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/teenagers-and-young-adults-cancers#heading-Zero

*Conner, M., & Norman, P. (1995). Predicting Health Behaviour: Research and Practice with Social Cognition Models. Buckingham: Open University Press

*Conner, M., & Armitage, C. R. (1998). Extending the theory of planned behavior: A review and avenues for further research. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 28, 1429–1464. 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1998.tb01685.x

*De Haan, L., Verster, J., Kuipers, E., Kuerten, Y., van Laar, M., & Olivier, B. (2011). The RT-18: a new screening tool to assess young adult risk-taking behavior. International Journal Of General Medicine, 575. http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/ijgm.s23603

Holch, P, Jones, G. Vaughan, K, McCabe, MG (2018 1). Cancer awareness, risk perception and barriers to help seeking in teenage and young adults (TYA). Presentation at the National Proms Conference Birmingham June 2018

Holch, P., Jones, G., Vaughan., K & McCabe, MG. (20182). Cancer awareness, risk perception, self-efficacy and barriers to help seeking in teenage and young adults (TYA). Presentation at the International Psychosocial Oncology Society congress Hong Kong   

*Hubbard, G, Macmillan, I, Canny, A, Forbat, L, Neal, R D, O’Carroll, R.E, Haw & Kyle, R G.  BMC Public Health 2014, 14:1117 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/1117

*Kyle, R, Nicoll, A., Forbat, L., & Hubbard, G. (2013). Adolescents’ awareness of cancer risk factors and associations with health-related behaviours. Heath Education Research, 28(5), 8160827

Kyle, R. G., Forbit, L., Rauchhaus, P., & Hubbard, G. (2013). Increased cancer awareness among British adolescents after a school-based educational intervention: a controlled before-and-after study with 6-month follow-up. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 1-10.

Morley, H, Holch, P, Vaughan, K, McCabe, MG (2018) Cancer awareness and the barriers to help seeking behaviour in young people: A cognitive interview study. Psycho-Oncology Volume 27, IssueS2

Roncancio, A. M., Ward, K. K., & Fernandez, M. E. (2013). Understanding Cervical Cancer Screening Intentions among Latinas Using An Expanded Theory of Planned Behavior Model. Behavioral Medicine, 39(3), 66-72

*Schwarzer, R., & Fuchs, R. (1995). Changing risk behaviors and adopting health behaviors: The role of self-efficacy beliefs. In A. Bandura (Eds.), Self-efficacy in changing societies (pp. 259-288). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized Self-Efficacy scale. In J. Weinman, S. Wright, & M. Johnston, Eds. Measures in health psychology: A user’s portfolio. Causal and control beliefs (pp. 35-37). Windsor, England: NFER-NELSON

Smith, S., Case, L., Fern, L., Waterhouse, K., Vaughn, K., & McCabe, M. (2016). Poor Cancer Awareness in Young People in Greater Manchester Advocates the Need for Age-Specific Interventions to Raise Awareness. In Cancer Conference. Liverpool, UK: NCRI Cancer Conference Abstracts.
Plus Icon Supervisory team
Dr Trish Holch and Professor Georgina Jones
Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to four A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place week commencing 3rd November 2018

PSYCHOLOGY APPLIED TO SAFETY & HEALTH



1. Safety proactivity in organizations: Exploring the relationships between safety climate, proactive motivation and employee's safety citizenship behaviour to improve workplace safety.

Plus Icon Supervisors & Advisor

Supervisors: Dr Matteo Curcuruto & Jim Morgan

Advisor: Prof Margherita Pasini (University of Verona)

Plus Icon Background

The concept of “safety proactivity” (Curcuruto & Griffin, 2016) refers to communication and initiative acts by individuals, teams and organizations to create safer work conditions.  In recent years, ‘safety proactivity has become an increasingly important foundation of safety at work, as technological and organizational environments become more unpredictable and change occurs more rapidly (Griffin et al., 2013).

Being proactive is about making things happen, anticipating and preventing problems, and seizing opportunities. It involves self-initiated efforts to bring about change in the work environment and/or oneself to achieve a different future (Parker et al., 2010). Therefore, there is an increasing attention by researchers and practitioners on how people and workgroups may be guided to manage safety more proactively (Curcuruto & Griffin, 2018). According to this, Parker et al. (2010) identify and define three distinct classes of “proactive motivation” which would sustain personal initiative by individuals: “can do”, “reason to”, and “energized to” work motivations.

Can do motivation arises from perceptions of self-efficacy, control, and (low) cost. Reason to motivation relates to why someone is proactive, including reasons flowing from intrinsic, integrated, and identified motivation. Energized to motivation refers to activated positive affective states that prompt proactive goal regulation.

Following research suggests that more distal antecedents, including managerial values and other organizational variables such as leadership and team-working, might influence employees’ motivation states to engage in proactive actions

The aim of the proposed MRes is to provide empirical evidence to conceptual research hypotheses described in a recent literature analysis on the topic (Curcuruto & Griffin, 2015), by investigating the role of the three distinct classes of work motivation described above in determining safety citizenship behavior (i.e. communication; initiative; helping) within a safety-critical work setting. In addition, the MRes work will contribute to examine the influence of managerial, leadership, team-working, and personality factors on this variety of proactive motivation and safety citizenship behaviour.

To enable data collection, the successful candidate will be required to coordinate herself/himself with the existing PASH research team at Leeds Beckett University, opting for one (or more) of the following research opportunities: a) by analyzing pre-existing available data, b) collecting new company data via PASH projects, c) collecting new data through the applicant’s work network. 

If you are interested in applying, and would like an informal chat or further information about the project, or to talk through your proposal, please contact the Director of Studies, Dr Matteo Curcuruto, at M.MA.Curcuruto@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to four A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place week commencing 3rd November 2018

2. Exploring relationships between personality, safety climate and safety/risk behaviour in a safety-critical work environment

Plus Icon Background

Determining the factors that influence accident risk (or safety) for those working in highly hazardous work environments is a complex task. This is because there are a plethora of influencing factors, operating at multiple levels (individual, group, and organisational).

Safety-related individual differences (e.g., personality) and contextual factors (e.g., safety climate) have both been shown to be related to safety outcomes (e.g. safety compliance and participation), however these findings are from parallel yet largely separate research streams. The aim of the proposed MRes is to respond to the recommendations of a recent meta-analysis of personality and workplace safety (Beus et al., 2015) by integrating these perspectives to gain a more complete understanding of the importance of personality relative to known contextual factors in explaining safety-related behaviour. In addition, the MRes work will be the first to examine the impact of individual differences and contextual factors on a variety of safety-related outcomes (e.g., behavioural risk tasks, self-reported, and objective safety behaviour) within a safety-critical work setting.

To enable data collection, the successful candidate will be required to coordinate with an existing PASH research team working on an existing project in collaboration with VolkerRail UK ltd, which is rail engineering company based in Doncaster.

If you are interested in applying, and would like an informal chat or further information about the project, or to talk through your proposal, please contact the Director of Studies, Dr Jim Morgan, at jim.morgan@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Plus Icon Supervisors & Advisor

Supervisors: Dr Jim Morgan & Dr Matteo Curcuruto

Advisor: Dr Michelle Newberry (University of Southampton)

Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to two A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place Monday 3rd December 2018

SPEECH LANGUAGE SCIENCE



1. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Aphasia

Plus Icon Project Outline

Therapy to support the language challenges of people with aphasia has been a core focus since the 1950s (Beukelman et al. 2015). Originally, the focus was very much on the restoration of skills but increasingly the focus of therapy has moved to consider restoration and compensatory therapy techniques. Clinicians often introduce compensatory techniques in the form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), e.g. objects, photographs, communication books and boards, gesture, drawing, and speech-generating devices and mobile technologies with specific aphasia focused Apps. Combining restoration and compensation therapy has become widely accepted but tensions are also acknowledged. Weissling and Prentice (2010) illustrate that restoration and compensation need not be mutually exclusive, adopting compensation does not mean that hope of continued recovery of skills has to be abandoned,  acceptance of compensation, a fear of AAC being a permanent solution, and understanding compensation may all be difficult.

Van de Sandt-Koenderman (2004) outlined how many people with aphasia were introduced to low-tech AAC (e.g. communication books etc.) but high-tech AAC in the form of computers was used more incidentenally. Despite much progress since that time being made in relation to AAC techniques, due to the tensions outlined above, it is recognised that the introduction of sophisticated forms of high tech AAC with adults with acquired aphasia is still potentially slow (Beukelman et al. 2015). The adoption of AAC is often stronger with clinical populations with developmental conditions (such as cerebral palsy) and traditionally those with acquired conditions have been underserved (Beukelman et al. 2007). Research is required to explore the progress that is potentially being made to introduce and implement increasingly sophisticated forms of AAC for people with aphasia.

This MRes project could advance our understanding of how AAC is perceived and introduced for people with aphasia within the UK using a qualitative, quantitative or a mixed method approach.

Plus Icon Methodology

This project could use quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods and would be suitable for a post graduate speech and language therapy student.

  1. Quantitative approaches could consider measuring through questionnaires or surveys clinician or service user experiences of using AAC within aphasia therapy.
  2. Qualitative methodologies could utilise interview-based data clinicians or service users to explore their experiences of using AAC within aphasia therapy.

Beukelman, D.R., Hux,K., Dietz, A., McKelvey, M. & Weissling, K. (2015) Using Visual Scene Displays as Communication Support Options for People with Chronic, Severe Aphasia: A Summary of AAC Research and Future Research Directions, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31:3, 234-245

Beukelman, D.R., Fager, S., Ball, l. & Dietz, A. (2007) AAC for adults with acquired neurological conditions: A review. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23:3, 230-242

van de Sandt‐Koenderman, M. (2004) High‐tech AAC and aphasia: Widening horizons?, Aphasiology, 18:3, 245-263

Weissling , K. , & Prentice , C . (2010). The timing of remediation and compensation rehabilitation programs for individuals with acquired brain injuries: Opening the conversation. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 19, 87 – 96.

Plus Icon Supervisor team
Amanda Hynan and Lindsey Thiel
Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to two A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place Monday 3rd December 2018

2. Speech sound disorder therapy and parental perceptions of involvement in the delivery of intervention 

Plus Icon Project outline

The fifth edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) states four criterion define a speech sound disorder (SSD): persistently unintelligible verbal speech due to sound errors, the impact is likely to be within social, educational and occupational contexts, the onset is during childhood; and no other medical or neurological conditions are accountable (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Supporting children with SSDs is a significant part of paediatric speech and language therapy; surveys have shown they can make up to 40% of clinicians’ caseloads (Broomfield & Dodd, 2004, Joffe & Pring, 2008).

The intensity of therapy required to address SSDs is significant and it is often impractical for clinicians with limited resources to deliver. Therefore, in order to maximise the efficacy of therapy, parents and significant others are often involved in therapy practice to maximise opportunities for generalisation of skills and carry out specific homework tasks (McLeod and Baker, 2014, Watts Pappas et al. 2008). Sugden et al. (2016) carried out a systematic review of the evidence base relating to parental involvement in carrying out homework tasks for phonology-based SSD therapy. The review found that most of the peer-reviewed published papers in this area provided very little information on parental involvement. This lack of evidence impacts on the ability of clinicians to underpin clinical decisions with robust evidence. 

This MRes project could advance our understanding of parental perceptions of their involvement in speech sound disorder therapy within the UK using a qualitative, quantitative or a mixed method approach.

Plus Icon Methodology

This project could use quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods and would be suitable for a post graduate speech and language therapy student.

  1. Quantitative approaches could consider measuring through questionnaires or surveys parental experiences of involvement in speech sound disorder therapy.
  2. Qualitative methodologies could utilise interview-based data with parents to explore their involvement with speech sound disorder therapy.

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Washington: American Psychiatric Publishing 

Broomfield, J. and Dodd, B. (2004). The nature of referred subtypes of primary speech disability. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 20, 135–151

Joffe, V. and Pring, T. (2008). Children with phonological problems: a survey of clinical practice. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 43, 154–164

McLeod and Baker McLeod, S. and Baker, E. (2014). Speech–language pathologists’ practices regarding assessment, analysis, target selection, intervention, and service delivery for children with speech sound disorders. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 28, 508–531

Sugden, E., Baker, E., Munro, N. & Williams, A.L. (2016). Involvement of parents in intervention for childhood speech sound disorders: a review of the evidence. International journal of language and communication disorders, 51 (6), 597-625

Watts Pappas, N., McLeod, S., McAllister, L. and McKinnon, D. H. (2008). Parental involvement in speech intervention: a national survey. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 22, 335–344

Plus Icon Supervisor team
Amanda Hynan and Ben Bolton
Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to two A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place week commencing 3rd December 2018

3. Social Media and Social inclusion opportunities for those who stutter: a UK perspective

Plus Icon Project Outline

Stuttering is a complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon of which disruptions to speech comprise one element (James et al, 2009).  For older children and adults, stuttering can lead to negative predictions and thoughts about speaking, feeling frustrated and embarrassed about stuttering and avoidance of words or speaking situations (e.g. Beilby, 2014). People who stammer (PWS) are at increased risk of low self-esteem and associated psychological problems and have high rates of social anxiety disorder (Iverach & Rapee, 2014). Literature suggests that this increases in adolescence; as children who stammer reach their teenage years their self-image becomes increasingly negative and fear of stammering and associated anxiety increases (Smith et al, 2014).  Therapeutic input frequently involves working with the PWS to explore the meaning of stuttering for the individual and to identify and reduce avoidances that may accompany it.

Online communities provide PWS with positive psychosocial support and a platform to connect with others (Raj & Daniels, 2017). Being online provides an opportunity for expression without the fear that often accompanies using verbal communication (Stoudt & Ouellette, 2004).  It may also provide an ‘escapist illusion’ (Rosenburg and Khon, 2016) and opportunities for avoidance of the stuttering self.  However, using social media may also present risks for those who stutter such as cyberbullying (Nicholai et al. 2018). The benefits of using social media to improve perceptions of social inclusion have been identified with other populations of young people with significant communication impairment who rely on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) (Grace et al. 2014; Hynan et al. 2015; Caron & Light, 2016).

This MRes project could advance our understanding, using a qualitative, quantitative or mixed method approach, of social inclusion opportunities through social media for people who stammer (within the UK) which is at present quite limited.

Plus Icon Supervisor team
Sarah James, Amanda Hynan and Ben Bolton
Plus Icon Methodology

This project could use quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods and would be suitable for a post graduate speech and language therapy or psychology student.

  1. Quantitative approaches could consider using social media generated data, questionnaires or Internet based surveys to explore perceptions of social inclusion by people who stutter
  2. Qualitative methodologies could utilise interview-based data with people who stutter, family members and others within support contexts (e.g. health, education and social care) to generate theory for broader understandings of social inclusion opportunities through social media.

Beilby, J. (2014). Psychosocial impact of living with a stuttering disorder: knowing is not enough. Seminars in Speech and Language, 37, 289-299.

Caron, J., & Light, J. (2015). “Social media has opened a world of ‘open communication:’” Experiences of Adults with Cerebral Palsy who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Social Media. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 32 (1), 25-40

Hynan, A., Goldbart, J. & Murray, J. (2015). A grounded theory of Internet and social media use by young people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Disability and Rehabilitation, 37 (17), 1559-1575

Iverach, L, & Rapee, R. (2014).  Social anxiety disorder and stuttering: Current status and future directions. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 40, 69-82.

James, S., Brumfitt, S., & Cowell, P. (2009). The influence of communication situation on self-report in people who stutter. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11, 34-44

Nicolai, S., Geffner, R., Stolberg, R. & Yaruss, J.S. (2018). Retrospective experiences of cyberbullying and emotional outcomes on young adults who stutter. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 11 (1), 27-37.

Grace, E. Raghavendra, P., & Newman, L. (2014). Learning to use the Internet and online social media: What is the effectiveness of home-based intervention for youth with complex communication needs? Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 30 (2), 141-157.

Raj, E.X. & Daniels, D.E. (2017) Psychosocial support for adults who stutter: Exploring the role of online communities, Speech, Language and Hearing Journal, 20 (3), 144-153

Rosenburg, H., & Kohn, A. (2016). Temptations of fluency and dilemmas of self-definition: Stutterers’ usage and avoidance of new media technologies. Computers in Human Behaviour, 62, 536-544.

Smith, K., Iverach, L., O’Brian, S., Kefalianos, S., & Reilly, S. (2014). Anxiety of children and adolescents who stutter: A review. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 40, 22-34.

Stoudt, B.G., & Ouellette, S.C. (2004) Making room for words: people who stutter on the Internet, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 1(3), 175-194
Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to two A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place Monday 3rd December 2018

4. Police Officers working with young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs 

Plus Icon Methodology

This project could use quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods and would be suitable for a post graduate speech and language therapy or criminology student.

  1. Quantitative approaches could consider using questionnaires or internet based surveys to explore practices of Police Officers working with young people.
  2. Qualitative methodologies could utilise interview-based data with Police Officers to explore personal views and experiences of SLCN.
Plus Icon Project outline

10% of children and young people in the general population have Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) (Beard, 2018). However, research has found the incidence of SLCN is significantly higher for children and young people known to the Youth Justice Service with 60-90% presenting with SLCN, and 46-67% falling into the ‘severe’ category (Bercow, 2008; Bryan, Freer, & Furlong, 2007; Games, Curran, & Porter, 2012; Gregory & Bryan, 2010). This suggests that children with SLCN are more likely to engage in offending behavior, but also highlights the need for professionals working with this population to be skilled in supporting people with communication difficulties.

This need has been recognized by the introduction of specific SLCN training for of some Youth Offending Teams in the UK (Gregory & Bryan, 2010) and the AssetPlus assessment tool (Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, 2014) which is used by Youth Offending Teams across the UK. However, this only identifies SLCN in young people once they have been convicted of an offence. This leaves a significant gap in identification and provision leading up to this point (e.g. arrest, interview and trial). Young people with SLCN are at significant disadvantage during arrest, interview and trial, which can lead to disengagement and subsequently harsher sentencing (e.g. Hopkins, Clegg, & Stackhouse, 2016; Snow & Powell, 2005). It is recommended that young people with SLCN be offered appropriate support throughout all stages of the justice process (LaVigne & Van Rybroek, 2013; Talbot, 2008). However, currently identifying young people with SLCN relies on the individual Police Officer during arrest or interview. There is currently little research exploring how able Police Officers are at identifying young people with SLCN, which may mean that some young people are unfairly disadvantaged if there communication difficulties are not identified and supported in the early stages of the justice system.

 

This MRes project could explore how knowledgeable and/or confident Police Officers are when working with young people with SLCN by using qualitative, quantitative or mixed method approach.  This project could enhance our understanding of how people with SLCN are supported in the early stages of the justice system, and make recommendations for future developments in research and/or practice.
Plus Icon References

Beard, A. (2018). Speech, language and communication: a public health issue across the lifecourse. Paediatrics and Child Health, 28(3), 126-131. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paed.2017.12.004

Bercow, J. (2008). The Bercow Report: A review of services for children and young people (0-19) with speech, language and communication needs.

Bryan, K., Freer, J., & Furlong, C. (2007). Language and communication difficulties in juvenile offenders. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 42(5), 505-520. doi:10.1080/13682820601053977

Games, F., Curran, A., & Porter, S. (2012). A small-scale pilot study into language difficulties in children who offend. Educational Psychology in Practice, 28(2), 127-140. doi:10.1080/02667363.2012.665355

Gregory, J., & Bryan, K. (2010). Speech and language therapy intervention with a group of persistent and prolific young offenders in a non-custodial setting with previously undiagnosed speech, language and communication difficulties. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 1-14. doi:10.3109/13682822.2010.490573

Hopkins, T., Clegg, J., & Stackhouse, J. (2016). Young offenders’ perspectives on their literacy and communication skills. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 51(1), 95-109.

LaVigne, M., & Van Rybroek, G. (2013). He Got in My Face So I Shot Him: How Defendants' Language Impairments Impair Attorney-Client Relationships. CUNY L. Rev., 17, 69.

Snow, P. C., & Powell, M. B. (2005). What's the story? An exploration of narrative language abilities in male juvenile offenders. Psychology, Crime and Law, 11(3), 239-253. doi:10.1080/1068316042000209323

Talbot, J. (2008). Prisoners' voices: Experiences of the criminal justice system by prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties: Prison Reform Trust London.

Wales, Y. J. B. f. E. a. (2014). AssetPlus: Speech, Language, Communication and Neuro-disability Screening Tool.


Plus Icon Supervisor team

Ben Bolton, Speech and Language Sciences

Dr Sarah James, Speech and Language Sciences

Dr Tom Cockcroft, Criminology

Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to two A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place Monday 3rd December 2018

5. Measuring the effects and predicting outcomes of the use of writing apps to communicate in people with aphasia

Plus Icon Methodology

A within-participants case series study will measure the effects of training people with aphasia to use an assistive writing app to complete functional writing tasks.

Outcomes will include changes to app use, spelling accuracy, speed, information conveyed, and quality and content of written texts. Correlational analyses will be conducted to investigate whether there is a relationship between cognitive, linguistic, reading and spelling skills and outcomes of app training.

Plus Icon Project outline

People with aphasia are restricted from writing messages via the internet due to their language impairment (Menger, Morris & Salis, 2014). Considering that the internet has become important for participating in social, professional and academic life, research is needed to guide speech and language therapists in improving writing skills for using the internet in people with aphasia. Several case series studies have measured the effects of using technologies to compensate for writing impairments and have found gains to spelling accuracy, text length and content (Armstrong & MacDonald, 2000; Behrns et al., 2009; Thiel, Sage & Conroy, 2016). However, there has been a lack of research into the candidacy issues of using different types of assistive writing technologies. A larger study is needed to investigate the factors that predict success in using technologies for writing messages. The study will answer the following questions:

Are writing apps effective in facilitating writing in people with aphasia?

Which factors predict success in using writing apps?

Armstrong, L., & MacDonald, A. (2000). Aiding chronic written language expression difficulties: A case study. Aphasiology, 14(1), 93-108.

Behrns, I., Hartelius, L., & Wengelin, A. (2009). Aphasia and computerised writing aid supported treatment. Aphasiology, 23(10), 1276-1294.

Menger, F., Morris, J. & Salis, C. (2014). From Facebook to finances: How do people with aphasia use the internet? Paper presented at the 16th International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference 2014, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Thiel, L., Sage, K. & Conroy, P. (2016). Promoting linguistic complexity, greater message length and ease of engagement in writing emails in people with aphasia:  Initial evidence from a study utilising assistive writing software. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 52(1):106-124.

Plus Icon Supervisor team

Dr Lindsey Thiel: l.thiel@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Dr Sarah James

Plus Icon How to apply

Applicants should send the following to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

  1. A full academic CV.
  2. A completed application form (which can be accessed here). The application form includes a research proposal of up to four A4 pages using Arial 12 point (with references as an addition to the proposal). The research proposal should: (a) expand on the project description to provide a focused literature review, the research aims, and a detailed description of the fieldwork, including (where applicable) participants, methods, analysis, and timeline; and (b) indicate where you already have experience and skills relevant to the eligibility criteria and research proposal. The proposal should clearly meet the requirements outlined in the Project Description.
  3. Scanned copies of your degree certificates (e.g. undergraduate or masters degree certificates) and transcripts.
  4. If relevant, scanned copies of your English language requirements.
  5. If relevant, scanned copies of your passport and previous UK visas.

 The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 2nd November 2018. Shortlisting is due to take place week commencing  12th November with  Interviews taking place week commencing 3rd November 2018

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