Reflections on research placements: enhancing student learning through engagement with staff's research projects

Catherine Aicken, Trish Fordham, Jing Zhou Minney, Eleanor Cain, Django Lagnado, Nathan Southern,

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


In the School of Sport and Health Sciences, students are required to undertake placements in order achieve competencies necessary to complete their studies and obtain professional registration. Conventionally, placements are clinical, involving attachments to (e.g.) wards, clinics, or community-based services. Professional and regulatory bodies recommend research and leadership placements to develop skills necessary for advanced practice.
We facilitated the School’s first hybrid clinical/research placements with Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy students. Placements focused on motor
neurone disease (MND), a progressive life-limiting condition, with students splitting their time between clinical practice and learning to analyse qualitative data: transcripts of interviews with people living with MND, exploring their lived experience and the meaning of well-being to them. Research supervision comprised twice-weekly hour-long meetings and ad hoc contact. It was
flexible, including some pre-prepared teaching and providing tailored advice and support to address the students’ questions, areas of interest and progress.
Students produced a piece of writing summarising their analysis.
Students reflected that the placement helped them to develop their understanding of (qualitative) research.
Engaging with the data gave them greater insight into what it is like to live with MND, enabling them to better provide person-centred care. Research supervisors noted that students demonstrated a rapid pace of learning and, by the end of the placement, considerable ability to engage deeply and reflexively with the data. Students found the mixed clinical/research placements demanding, which will be discussed in the presentation.
Recommendations for future placements will be made.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2022
EventEducation and Student Experience Conference 2022 - University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jul 20228 Jul 2022


ConferenceEducation and Student Experience Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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